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Subnautica Steam Deck (Best Settings, Performance)

Subnautica Steam Deck (Best Settings, Performance)

Subnautica burst onto the scene and garnered critical and commercial success. Naturally, a game like this would come to the Steam Deck. But what are the Best Settings to play Subnautica on the Steam Deck and how does the game perform?

Subnautica can be played primarily on high settings on the Steam Deck. Graphic Settings such as Water Quality and Light Quality can be set to high. The game runs at a steady refresh rate of 40 and performs well with a TDP of 8.

Subnautica might be among one the best games you can play on the Steam Deck right now. There are certain tweaks you can make to optimize the performance. To learn more about these changes, keep reading!

Related: Ultimate Guide to Subnautica: Below Zero

Subnautica Steam Deck Graphic Settings

Screenshot from Youtube video by
Screenshot from a Youtube video by

Unlike many other games that you might be playing on the Steam Deck, Subnautica is not very graphically demanding. This means that several settings for Subnautica can be left on high in the graphics department. Additionally, only a few smaller changes are recommended to fine-tune the experience.

These changes largely relate to Motion Blur and Ambient Occlusion. Each of these settings has a heavy impact on the overall clarity of the image you are experiencing. You spend most of your time in the game submerged in water, the reflections and motion blur can make the entire experience nauseating.

This is why we’ve set several settings the way we have. Because it can largely improve the overall gaming experience for you. After all, it’s much better to have a more clear picture of what you’re doing than a realistic one. Regardless, of how immersive you like your games to be.

Color GradingFilmic
Water QualityHigh
Anti-Aliasing QualityOff
Lens DirtOff
Motion Blur QualityLow
Ambient OcclusionMedium
Screen Space ReflectionsOff
Subnautica Best Steam Deck Graphics Settings

Subnautica Best Steam Deck Display Settings

Promotional Picture for Subnautica
Promotional Picture for Subnautica

There are a few display settings we have tweaked when it comes to Subnatuica. This has been done to provide the most ease of view for you. If you have a hard time recognizing what’s happening on your screen, then you will not be able to enjoy the full majesty of this game.

The VSync setting and the Full-Screen Setting being turned Off have been done also to preserve the resources of the system. As the game requires more computing power for accurately generating characters and models. Which we paid a larger preference to than simply screening real estate.

Full ScreenOff
Subnautica Best Steam Deck Display Settings

The Filmic style chosen in the graphic settings fits perfectly with the display settings we’ve chosen above. This is because without that setting the game overall feels far too bright, and is not able to accentuate the shadows of darker regions.

This feels monotonous and boring. This is easily dealt with in our settings above, because if you’re someone that enjoys playing Docked on your Steam Deck then you will appreciate the choices of Color Grading, Display options, and colors. Especially, when they enrich your gaming experience.

Related: Subnautica: Below Zero – Everything You Need to Know

Subnautica Performance on the Steam Deck

Subnatuica Performance Steam Deck
Subnatuica Performance Steam Deck

Since we started testing Subnautica on our Steam Deck systems, we noticed that there were some glaring issues we could not ignore. The framerate though consistent at 40 FPS did not touch the higher cap of 60 at all. This was a cause for concern regarding the fluidity of the game.

We choose to not cap the FPS at 30 because the additional frames did improve the gaming experience when engaging in later sections. We also noticed if further tweaking of the settings is done then some stability issues are cleared. But more effort still needs to be done in this regard.

The game also had some issues when it came to exploration. New areas especially were difficult to explore because of the various motions and camera movements that had to be committed. This made some of the graphical bugs both apparent and jarring on a system like the Steam Deck.

The ProtonDB has given the game its Platinum rating. This means it can play on the Steam Deck’s system without issue. The proper settings for which are not known, but I’d like to believe ours come very close to mastering the settings you need for a fulfilling gaming experience.


Cannot discuss a Steam Deck game without discussing what TDP limit you can expect. I enjoyed playing Subnautica a lot on the Steam Deck. However, even with a mixture of settings that we’ve mentioned above the TDP Limit had to be that of 8.


Even after running for a while, the game runs fairly well. With maximum temperatures being below 70 degrees. This means that although the system feels loaded, it is not so overbearing that it might be a problem with prolonged gameplay. Although any system would want some rest after a while.

Related: Is Subnautica: Below Zero Worth Playing?


Finally, the battery life. It’s fairly standard now for Steam Deck to run a certain amount of time, especially for well-demanding games. Subnautica does not overburden the system, and thus clocks in much better than other latest releases.

You have at least 2.5 to 3 hours of uninterrupted game time whilst relying on the Steam Deck battery. This will fluctuate a little depending on how intensive your gaming session will be. However, you can generally expect the time frame to fall within this range.

Subnautica is a fantastic game that runs very well on the Steam Deck. Certain key settings need to be adjusted. Otherwise, you will not have to do much to get the most out of this gem. We hope you find what you seek in those depths… before it finds you! Best of luck, gamers.