What are the best submarine games on PC? Submarine simulator games were reasonably popular back in the ‘90s, but if you’re looking for new submarine games, your options are much more limited. If you’re willing to go through all the hassle of making some of those ‘90s classics like Silent Hunter, Silent Service, and Aces of the Deep run on a modern PC, then power to you.
Submarine games come in a few different shapes and forms, with some aiming to replicate the minutiae of everyday operations on a military vessel, while others focus on stalking battleships and landing the perfect torpedo strike. Submarine games are about much more than sinking other ships, though, incorporating crew management, strategic use of resources, navigation skills, and good positioning if you and your crew want to return safely home. Join us as we list some of the best submarine games to play on PC right now, from free PC games, to early access FTL-likes.
Here are the best submarine games:
World of Warships
They said it would never happen, but submarines are now available in the free-to-play multiplayer naval battler World of Warships. After being tested with the player base in Operation ‘Terror of the Deep’ Wargaming committed to bringing submarines into the main game with their own combat mechanics, upgrades, and combat roles.
There are currently five submarines available in World of Warships which has been going from strength to strength since its release in 2015, making this one of the best WW2 games for fans of naval combat.
This spiritual successor to Red Storm Rising is a relatively new submarine game that really comes into its own when combat is initiated. You’re the commander of a nuclear sub tasked with preventing mutually assured destruction as the Cold War escalates. Patrolling between the Labrador and Barents seas, your job is to battle Soviet warships, intercept convoys, and deliver special forces troops deep behind enemy lines. To do this, you have a lineup of roughly 40 vessels equipped with everything from wire-guided torpedoes and cruise missiles to modern sonar tech.
Cold Waters does a fantastic job of reminding you that you’re as much the prey as you are a predator, and you’ll often get the drop on a ship only to discover that two other vessels have been tracking you from long-range, and you now have two torpedoes to dodge. Thankfully, you get great control over the sub, making such precise movements and feints easy to envision and execute in the heat of battle.
Blending third-person crew management with first-person action, Uboat strikes an intoxicating balance of strategy and action that will appeal to casual and hardcore fans of submarine and war games. Your job as commander of a WW2 U-boat is twofold: carry out any orders given to you from Kriegsmarine HQ, and keep your crew and ship healthy and operational.
What makes this submarine game special is that you can go into first-person as the commander and walk through the U-boat to check on the crew and dish out any punishments – if you’re feeling strict, you can even execute the cook for burning breakfast.
Silent Hunter 3
When it comes to all-encompassing submarine games that immerse you fully in the role of a sub commander, it’s tough to beat Silent Hunter 3. You can choose several different campaigns or even dynamic patrol missions, and all of them promise to put you through your paces as the war drags on. Commanding a U-boat at the start of the war makes you feel like an apex predator, as few enemies are equipped to deal with the new technology; however, by 1944, your task is almost impossible as enemy vessels start bringing escorts and aircraft support.
There are plenty of different submarines you can command, and every single one feels distinct and representative of the time period you’re fighting in, from the rickety U-boats of the late ‘30s to more sturdy vessels capable of dealing damage over a long range and carrying heavier payloads.
Whichever you choose, expect to be greeted by realistic details wherever you look. You can move between all the different stations in the sub in first-person to see the crew in action, but there are also external, strategic, and cinematic camera settings that help a great deal with accessibility. Speaking of which, Silent Hunter 3 boasts a slew of realism settings that you can adjust as you get more accustomed to the controls, allowing you to fully customize the experience. This may be one of the only old games on this list, so if you’re after a slightly more modern version, Silent Hunter 4 is also worth playing.
This first-person submarine warfare simulator is ideal for meticulously detailed U-boat interiors. Wolfpack is in Steam Early Access but is being developed with the dedicated submarine games community, Subsim, to make it the best submarine game ever. Better still, Wolfpack is one of the only co-op games with submarines you can play right now, allowing you and some friends to assume different roles aboard a U-boat and patrol the seas together.
Everything takes place in first-person, so there’s no external view or set of crew management mechanics to distract you from fully immersing yourself in the task at hand. The downside is that you have to know what you’re doing to succeed in Wolfpack, so if you don’t know your way around the inside of a U-boat and how to operate one, then this may not be for you.
Not all the best submarine games are simulation games, and Barotrauma’s 2D blend of multiplayer chaos, alien monsters, and FTL-style ship management is the proof. In Barotrauma, you design your submarine and set off to hunt down all manner of horrific alien sea monsters. While Barotrauma is entirely playable alone, it’s at its best in co-op, where your mistakes will snowball into rolling, comical disasters.
Plenty of complexity is involved in keeping your sub running without it erupting in flames, so it’s not hard to imagine how quickly and dramatically things go awry when sea monsters get involved. One instance of poor coordination and you might accidentally flood part of the submarine, flushing your comrade out into the jaws of a massive anglerfish, which can lead to some very lively discussions over voice chat.
While ostensibly a seafaring survival game, you spend much time bumbling around the seafloor in a teeny submersible. Your goals are much more humble than stopping Soviet aggressors in Cold Waters or crippling allied shipping lanes in U-boats. Instead, you need to survive after crash-landing on an oceanic alien planet. That challenge takes you from humble beginnings, where you’re living off raw kelp in your floating escape pod, all the way to crafting your own mini submarine and underwater research base. If you’re just starting out, check out our Subnautica guide for help with the map, resources, and much more.
And there you have it, our roundup of the finest submarines games you can play right now. If you’re new to the submarine scene, these games can be pretty intimidating at first, but stick with them and seek out the enthusiastic community, and you’ll soon get to grips with the steep learning curve. If you want to enjoy a military sim but hate getting wet, why not try our best tank games on for size?