In Subnautica: Below Zero, the sequel to Unknown World’s superlative Subnautica, you’re once again back on planet 4546B, crash-landing rather spectacularly on the frozen far side of the alien world this time around where you’re immediately thrown into a mystery surrounding the fate of your missing sister, Sam. It may have a slightly smaller map (this was originally planned as a generous dollop of DLC after all) and a little less variety in terms of its biomes, but this follow-up still feels like an essential experience, one that delivers more of the series’ signature survival excellence whilst also smoothing over some of the rough edges of its predecessor’s core gameplay loops.
Everything feels that little bit easier to manage in Below Zero. You’ll get off the starting blocks more quickly here, breezing through the early game’s lack of oxygen and mobility options and pretty much straight into spinning around on your Seaglide in a much more straightforward and smooth manner, before getting your hands on a bunch of brand new vehicles that, by and large, improve upon those found in the original Subnautica.
The story this time around is also a much more fleshed out affair with cutscenes, a fully-voiced protagonist and other characters with whom to converse, and although we definitely preferred the total isolation of the original’s narrative, what’s here still manages to remain engaging for its duration, throwing up some cool surprises along the way without making the critical mistake of impeding upon your time spent crafting, exploring and building.
In fact, if Below Zero does make one major error for us, it’s in its decision to expand upon the very brief on-foot sections found in its predecessor. There’s far more marching around here, wandering the hostile arctic tundra, and although it’s never particularly bad – there’s always plenty to find (and flee from) in these portions of the game – it’s just not where Subnautica really excels, we always wanted to be back in the water as soon as we were dragged out of it. There’s also not quite the same scale and scope in the tech tree here, which is understandable given this sequel’s DLC origins.
However, slight niggles aside, Below Zero absolutely delivers in providing more of the excellent deep sea survival antics that we know and love from the original Subnautica. This is a super solid port too, a joy to sink time into in both docked and portable modes, with only a little stuttering here and there as you enter new biomes – and the series’ ever-present scenery pop-in – to mention in terms of technical shortcomings. Unknown Worlds has served up another superb slice of survival shenanigans here, one that we highly recommend diving right into.
Welcome to “Would You Rather”, where we ask you to choose from two (or more) equally awesome/horrible things, and find out if you’re in the majority or the minority. Of course, you can always argue your case in the comments.
Bienvenue, hungry diners, and welcome to the Nintendo Life restaurantChez Ninté, where we’ll be serving up a 14-course meal made of the rarest meats you’ll ever find on a menu.
Today, we’re asking the age-old question: which Pokémon would you eat?
Fun fact: the Starter Pokémon are actually called “Appetiser Pokémon” in the US. Since we’re setting out a full meal for you, we might as well start at the start: which one of the three iconic starter Pokémon do you think would be the most delicious?
Charmander is probably a little spicy, and would be quite nice as a curry. Squirtle can be a lovely turtle soup. Bulbasaur is a handy all-in-one caesar salad, as long as you add your own croutons.
Not all Pokérestaurants are fancy. Some are just diners in the middle of nowhere, serving up battered Magikarp and chips to the masses. If there were two common, classic Pokémon to have for lunch, it would probably be the series mascots: Pikachu, and Eevee.
Now, we think Pikachu could make for an interesting dish: being a rodent, Ash’s longtime companion would probably taste a bit gamey, like rabbit. Eevee, on the other hand, is a creature of indeterminate species, somewhere in-between dog, cat, and fox. We can’t say that we know what any of those taste like to eat as a meat dish, but we did accidentally lick a dog once and it tasted like fur.
Which one would you rather Pika-chow down on?
The Steak And Eggs
There are quite a few Pokémon that are already basically analogous to foods we regularly eat here in the real world, and we can’t spend all day listing them or we’d never be able to take the weekend off.
However, everyone loves a classic steak-and-egg breakfast, right? Unfortunately, this is “would you rather”, so you’ll have to pick just one: a juicy Miltank mignon, or scrambled Exeggcute? Bear in mind that both are sentient, but Exeggcute is multiple sentient beings as one – although whether that’s a bonus or a horrifying thought is up to you.
The Queen’s Forbidden Pantry
Culinary delights across the world have often involved some ethically dicey dishes, like the Ortolan Bunting, which is drowned in Armagnac, roasted, and then eaten whole, as the diner covers their head with a cloth in order to not be seen by God. We don’t doubt that there are some corners of Kanto with similarly illegal traditions, but since the Pokémon games have never really covered food crimes, we have to imagine our own.
And what could be more illegal than eating animals protected by the Queen herself? The swan is an obvious one, but we can’t imagine the Queen would be too happy about some random Pokémon trainer chopping up a corgi, either. Which one of the Queen’s pets do you think would taste the best?
Sometimes you don’t want to fuss around with chopping vegetables and deboning fish – you just want to pop into Tesco and grab something tasty that someone else made. Good news: the Pokédex has you covered.
Tangela is basically a pre-sauced spaghetti dish, and all you need to do with Unown is grab a bunch of them and boom, you’ve basically got a bowl of alphabet pasta. Sure, you might have to deal with the fact that both have eyeballs, but doesn’t that just add to the flavour?
What is this category? Round animals. What does that have to do with food? Well, in the real world, we don’t really have round, edible animals. They’re mostly sort of horse-shaped. There’s something vaguely exciting about the prospect of eating a big round steak cut from a spherical creature – or perhaps having one roasted whole, like a pig.
Never mind that both Jigglypuff and Rowlet are very cute. You’ve come this far, and eaten five other cute animals. They could have been someone’s pet.
You’ve crossed the line now, and you’re definitely going to Hell, so here’s a question: if you had to eat a baby, which baby would you eat?
Not a real baby, mind you. That’s very murdery and a bad crime. A Pokémon baby, though, that’s fair game, because they are just pixels on a screen, and this is all a thought exercise, and please don’t send the police after us. So, we ask you: Happiny, or Togepi? Please bear in mind that their parents may or may not come after you, if that’s a factor.
Is It Vegan?
We’re not really sure how veganism works in a world where the plants have faces, but if you can stomach it, there are some quite nice veggies in the Pokémon world.
Oddish is basically a radish. A radish you can be friends with, yes, but a radish nonetheless. And Bellsprout? Beansprout. You might prefer a stuffed Weepinbell pepper, but this is the salad section, so you’ll have to deal with eating the boring Pokémon, sorry.
We could have had any of the legendaries face off in this section – Regice has always looked a lot like a tasty ice lolly to us, and we reckon Type:Null would taste a bit like everything at once – but considering how infuriating it was to try to catch the Legendary Dogs in Pokémon Gold and Silver, we want to eat them mostly as revenge.
But which one of the trio is the most delicious? We bet Entei tastes like spaghetti and meatballs, Raikou tastes like a katsu curry, and Suicune tastes like jelly.
You bet that the Pokémon world has those “can you eat this” challenges, just like the real world – except, instead of a really big pizza or a very spicy burger, it’s “a Pokémon bigger than your house”.
Wailord is a whole lotta fish to eat, but we’d also love to know what Alolan Exeggcutor neck tastes like. Plus, you’d get to brag that you ate a tree.
We’ve already spoken a bit about crimes against humanity (eating babies, scoffing the Queen’s pets) but how about the biggest crime of all: eating humanity itself? Sure, technically these two aren’t actually human, but they’re human enough to make it a bit weird.
There’s also the extra angle that both these Pokémon are a little too uncomfortably, er, sexy. We’re not saying we think that, but we are saying the designers definitely did.
There isn’t really a religion in Pokémon, but both of these Pokémon – one natural, one man-made – are basically gods. And wouldn’t you love to eat God?
We swear, this article began as “which Pokémon would be tastiest” and now it’s just descending into “WOULDST THOU LIKE TO EAT GOD”, but if a god-animal existed in the real world, we’d ask if it went well with gravy.
You’ve just killed and eaten a bunch of pets, but your hunger is not satisfied. Luckily for you, you monster, there are several Pokémon that are basically already made of pudding, which means that you can’t really be blamed for finding them delicious. If a real-world animal evolved to look like a lemon meringue pie, then it’s not doing a very good job of surviving, is it?
If you can manage to fit just a little more Pokéfood down your gullet, perhaps you’d enjoy a whipped cream Alcremie (which comes in multiple flavours) or an ice cream Vanillite (upgrade to a Vanillish for just £2)?
Coffee Before You Go?
This is one of those fancy restaurants where they offer you a little espresso or a mint tea with dessert, even though it’s 11pm and you need to go to sleep as soon as you get home.
Although a lovely Ditto milkshake would probably taste quite nice (just tell Ditto to turn into a strawberry before you pop it in the blender) we’re going with two obvious liquids right here to round off a lovely meal: a nice glass of Milcery, or a cuppa Polteageist?
Thanks for joining us for this morality-testing meal. Please explain yourselves in the comments below.
The pound to euro exchange increased yesterday for the fifth day in the row, rising to 1.1678 against the euro yesterday morning. However, there has been little change since.
Yesterday, Mr Brown said that sterling could be likely to climb further in the coming days.
He said: “The pound continues to benefit from the UK’s impressive covid vaccination programme and hopes that it will lead to a faster economic reopening.
“Today’s calendar is rather quiet for the cross, meaning that near-term momentum will likely be continued towards a test of the 1.17/1705 region that marked the cycle high a fortnight ago.”
George Vessey, UK Currency Strategist at Western Union Business Solutions, also gave his analysis yesterday.
He said: “Central banks like the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England have downplayed the rise in bond yields thus far, whilst the European Central Bank (ECB) is likely to at least verbally intervene, or possibly increase asset purchases this Thursday to cool the bond market rout.
“Investors are becoming more optimistic about the global economic rebound,” Mr Vessey added.
“The vaccine rollouts allowing for economies to reopen, leading to an expected consumer-led recovery in growth and inflation are all contributing to the sell-off in safe-haven government bonds.
“But when yields rise too quickly, financial conditions can be negatively impacted and central banks may be forced to act. If the ECB does interject with more stimulus to limit the rise in European yields, then the Euro could come under further selling pressure.”
What does this mean for your travel money?
The Post Office is currently giving a rate of €1.1252 over £400, €1.1415 over £500, and €1.1473 over £1000.
Although they are favourable, these rates are slightly lower than yesterday’s offerings.
It can be tempting to buy travel money at this time, but James Lynn, co-CEO and co-founder of travel card Currensea, warned against this while foreign travel currently remains off the cards for Britons.
He said: “Market movements are often more marginal in reality than they appear.