• Submarine games often focus on realism and tactical gameplay, but these examples offer varied submarine-themed experiences.
  • From espionage in Cold Waters to underwater survival in Subnautica, these games showcase the versatility of submarines in gaming.
  • Whether it’s managing a crew in UBOAT or exploring with friends in We Need To Go Deeper, these submarine games offer unique and intense experiences.

There are plenty of games set at sea, or based around naval combat, but there are fewer games out there either set on a submarine or involving one as their main source of gameplay. However, some games manage to use submarines to great effect.


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Submarine games often come in the form of simulators that focus on realism and tactical gameplay. However, these examples provide a varied selection of games themed around and involving submarines, or simply games set predominantly underwater, rather than exclusively complex simulations.

Updated January 20, 2024 by Harry Ted Sprinks: Although submarine games are relatively uncommon, perhaps due to their most popular format being complex simulation games, the continuing popularity of titles such as David Szymanski’s Iron Lung has shown that submarines can be a thematic and atmospheric setting for all kinds of video game. However, it’s hard to ignore the elegant designs and impressive, strategic experiences that these submarine games offer.

1 Cold Waters – A Spiritual Successor To Red Storm Rising

Steam User Rating: 87%

Cold Waters - Gameplay

  • Platform(s): PC
  • Released: 2017
  • Developer(s): Killerfish Games
  • Genre: Simulation

Taking heavy inspiration from the 1988 MicroProse game, Red Storm Rising, and wearing this influence on its sleeve, Cold Waters puts players in command of a nuclear submarine. Cold Waters tasks players with classic submarine espionage and interception, ranging from intercepting convoys to battling it out with enemy battleships.

Among its many simulation elements, Cold Waters includes naval combat that takes place in real-time, a wide array of ship and submarine classes, and even realistic sonar. For fans of historical simulation games with an old-school feel, Cold Waters is unlikely to disappoint.

2 Subnautica – An Underwater Survival Game

Steam User Rating: 96%

A Cyclops In Subnautica

January 23, 2018

Survival Horror

While Subnautica doesn’t entirely revolve around a submarine, the game’s underwater exploration and progression involves finding fragments and blueprints to construct various submarine vehicles.

These vehicles are integral to the game’s progression, as they allow the player to explore further from their base and deeper into the ocean. Collecting the required fragments and blueprints for these vehicles is also part of the game’s core loop, especially early on, and finally crafting and getting to pilot these vehicles is a handsome reward.

3 UBOAT – A WW2 Simulation Game With A Focus On Crew Management

Steam User Rating: 81%

UBOAT inside the submarine

  • Platform(s): PC
  • Released: 2019
  • Developer(s): Deep Water Studio
  • Genre: Simulation

This WW2 simulation game tasks players with managing the crew of a German UBOAT in a survival sandbox. Unlike many submarine simulators, UBOAT focuses heavily on the crew; players must take good care of them, for when the crew is in poor physical and/or mental condition, the chances of winning decrease severely.

UBOAT features a detailed damage system that forces players to stay calm under pressure and make sacrifices to keep the ship intact, and players will have to manage their resources carefully to get across the open sea.

4 We Need To Go Deeper – A Frantic Rogue-Lite With Online Co-Op

Steam User Rating: 87%

We Need To Go Deeper submarine

We Need to Go Deeper
February 8, 2017

Deli Interactive

Although there is an option to play with bots, We Need To Go Deeper is a submarine game designed to be played with friends. The game features 2-4 player online co-op and tasks players with piloting and maintaining one of the game’s unlockable submarines to explore the randomized depths.

We Need To Go Deeper even allows players to leave the submarine to explore on foot with their customizable adventurer, and features a variety of tools and weaponry to help players along their journey. The game’s rogue-like structure and cooperative nature make it a fun, frantic, and often intense experience as players attempt to keep their submarine intact.

5 Song Of The Deep – An Atmospheric Submarine Metroidvania

Steam User Rating: 84%

Song Of The Deep submarine

  • Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Released: 2016
  • Developer(s): Insomniac Games
  • Genre: Metroidvania, Action-Adventure

This atmospheric deep-sea adventure is a Metroidvania game developed by Insomniac Games (creators of Ratchet & Clank) that follows the story of a young girl in search of her missing father. Song Of The Deep puts players in the pilot seat of a small submarine, exploring the game’s various beautiful underwater environments to find both necessary and optional upgrades for the submarine, of which the game features thirty.

The game features plenty of puzzles that vary in difficulty and enemies and bosses to defeat along the way. While players don’t spend all of their time in the submarine, a good portion of the game is spent using the sub to explore the ocean, and Song Of The Deep is a beautiful, highly polished narrative experience with a surprisingly low price.

6 Barotrauma – Submarine Survival-Horror With Online Co-Op

Steam User Rating: 93%

Barotrauma submarine

March 13, 2023

Undertow Games, FakeFish Games

Survival Horror

This 2D survival horror game uses submarine simulations and RPG elements to create an intense experience. Throughout the game, players attempt to complete the game’s various missions by piloting their submarine, protecting it from monsters, maintaining it, and crafting items.


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What makes Barotrauma even more special is the fact that it features online co-op that supports up to 16 players, as well as an in-game editor that lets players build their submarines and monsters. Barotrauma can often be difficult, and its systems are complex, so it’s not for everyone, but it’s a deep and replayable experience for those who enjoy this style of game.

7 Silent Hunter 3 – A WW2 U-Boat Simulation Game

Steam User Rating: 87%

Silent Hunter 3

Silent Hunter 3
March 15, 2005


The third entry in Ubisoft’s Silent Hunter series, released back in 2005, is arguably one of the best in the franchise and remains one of the best submarine simulation games to this day. Silent Hunter 3 focuses heavily on realistic WW2 naval combat in a 3D environment, featuring a day/night cycle and historically accurate vehicles.

The U-boats that players can control also have detailed interiors, and there are several U-boat types to choose from. The game markets itself to both veterans and newcomers to simulation games, with a more forgiving learning curve than many simulation games and customizable “realism settings.” Furthermore, Silent Hunter 3 features an unscripted, non-linear campaign for players to beat.

8 Iron Lung – A Short Sci-Fi Horror Experience

Steam User Rating: 93%

titanic submarine iron lung indie horror game

Iron Lung
PC , Nintendo Switch

March 10, 2022

David Szymanski, Dread XP

This game from indie darling, David Szymanski (Chop Goblins, Dusk), is a short sci-fi horror experience about piloting a very small submarine through an ocean of blood on an alien moon. The game’s setting helps to create an intense, creepy atmosphere and immediate sense of dread, while the gameplay is fairly minimal.


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Iron Lung is an extremely short but cinematic experience intended to be played in under an hour, but for fans of horror, it’s worth the low price. Players will spend most of their time looking through a grainy camera and using an unfinished satellite map, along with the submarine’s proximity sensors, to get an idea of their surroundings. Furthermore, Iron Lung features an original soundtrack, and a trailer for the film adaptation of the game was released in April 2023.


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