Subterrain can be played with either a controller or keyboard and mouse. The controller must be enabled before it can be used, which can be found in the Pause Menu -> Options -> Input & Play (the right-most button at the top) -> Enable Controller. Enabling the controller will disable mouse and keyboard controls while a controller is detected.

Keyboard and MouseEdit

Keyboard Controls

The in-game Keyboard Help screen.

Keyboard Remap

The Keyboard Remapping screen.

Keyboard controls can be fully customized by clicking on the "Remap Keyboard Input" (in the Pause Menu -> Options -> Input & Play (the right-most button at the top) -> Remap Keyboard Input). Very few keys cannot be used for any actions, such as Esc, Scroll Lock, and PrtScr. The same key can be mapped to different actions, which may or may not be helpful. For example, you can map the same exact key to all four movement actions (up, down, left, and right), but using that key will not move you at all, since all of the movements cancel each other out.


  • The cursor can be hovered over various game elements, resulting in a small infobox following it. For example, hovering over the lower-left body condition sphere gives numerical values for West's current body condition, HP, and stamina. There is no known way to do this while using a controller.
  • The Mini Map key will open the actual map of your current location, not toggle the small map that can be in the upper-right corner of the screen. The corner map can be changed in Options -> Graphics Settings (third button) -> Minimap Opacity; this will not affect the actual map.
  • Pressing the normal Sprint key will not toggle Sprint, so pressing Sprint while it's already toggled on will keep Sprint toggled on.
  • The Shield function is attached to Drag.
  • "Interact" is used to actually interact with the world, open the inventory of relevant world objects, and open your own inventory (if the other options are not present). These functions cannot be separated.
  • Left Mouse Button can be used to click-and-drag items, which serves as a method of item management. It is also used to navigate menus, such as the Pause Menu. These functions cannot be remapped at all.
  • Using a right-mouse click on an item in an object's inventory (or the ground inventory) will immediately move that item to your inventory. Similarly, right-clicking an item in your inventory will immediately drop or store it, depending on what inventory is open. Right-clicking equipped items will immediately unequip them (although it cannot be used to equip items), unless there is not enough space in your inventory. These functions cannot be remapped at all.
  • If you are in the Help menu, then changing windows, such as by using Alt-Tab, will cause the game's time to unpause, which causes time to pass and affords the player full control while the Pause Menu is still open. This is more likely to be detrimental, especially if the player is unaware of it. A similar thing can occur with other menus, like the 3D Printing System, but these are less impact full since they don't pause time while open.


Gamepad Controls

The in-game Gamepad Controls screen.

Unlike keyboard controls, controller inputs cannot be remapped, nor are alternative control schemes available.

A degree of auto-aim is available (Options -> Input & Play (right-most button) -> Aim Assist Angle); this can be anything from 0 to 90 degrees of assist, but does not function for keyboard players. This causes West to look directly at enemies if they are close enough to the actual direction that he is facing. For example, with aim assist at 20º, if West is looking straight up/north, then if there are enemies that are up to 20º away from his facing direction, West will automatically face them. This also works with interactable objects, although it will only occur when West is close enough to actually interact with it.

It can be difficult to convey exactly how this option works, so it is encouraged to simply test different aim assist angles while moving and looking around various interactable objects, especially containers. The smallest angle that is still helpful is highly encouraged, because the auto-looking that this function provides effectively forces West to look at the locked-on enemy or object, which stops the player from turning slightly away from it; West will only look away if his actual direction is changed so that the enemy/object is no longer within the aim assist angle. This is especially problematic in combat situations against both melee and ranged enemies, because the aim assist can cause West to constantly aim at the ranged enemies even when the melee enemies are just to his side, for example.

Note that there may be a glitch with controllers. While moving items using the A button, an item may be used if the button is pressed too quickly, resulting in lost food or unknowingly equipping different items. This may occur whether moving from your inventory or from a storage container.


The rest of this page is dedicated to certain controls that may deserve a little more explanation but not an entire page's worth of explanation, such as scanning and dragging.


Scanning an area simply highlights nearby objects that can be interacted with, whether it's a switch, a machine, an item on the floor, or just a container. There is a very brief cooldown of about one second, but otherwise there is no cost or risk to scanning. Although the visual scanning effect moves with West, it is instantaneous and will only highlight objects during the instant that an area is scanned.

A few areas can randomly spawn with food or side bags on the ground, so scanning frequently can be useful to find these items.


Shielding allows West to mitigate damage at the cost of some power, but prevents West from attacking while the shield is up. Notably, an attack that hits the shield instead of directly hitting West cannot inflict any status effects and will not slow down West. The shield can be activated and deactivated almost instantly, so maintaining it while not attacking can help minimize the threat of surprise attacks or an enemy counterattacking while a gun cools down or waits to fire again.


Sprinting allows West to move significantly faster, but also alerts nearby enemies to his location and presence. Prolonged sprinting will also accelerate how quickly West becomes fatigued, thirsty, and hungry. In heavily infected areas, sprinting in unknown territory can become dangerous, since it can alert jellyfish, which will open doors on their own and let loose all of the enemies in its room.

Quick Item SlotsEdit

West always has at least one quick slot, which can hold a variety of items. The number of slots available is based the equipped suit. Pressing the associated slot's key (on keyboard) or pressing the Quick Slot button while a slot is selected (on controller) will use that item without the need to go through your inventory, if applicable. While a number of obviously helpful items can be put on quick slots (such as food, medical supplies, spare suits, and grenades), there are also a variety of other items that can be quick slotted with little purpose, such as (broken) oxygen filters (does not allow you to quickly insert or replace a filter in an oxygen generator) and keycards (cannot use the quick slot key to use the card, but normal interaction still works). Neither guns nor melee weapons can be placed in a quick item slot, likely because three weapon slots are already available.

A quick slot is similar to an actual inventory slot, which means that slotted items are still subject to their stack limits. So if you want to quick slot a large number of a particular item, it will likely take more than one quick slot to carry it all.

It is worth noting that, like equipped items, items in the Quick Item Slots are not technically in the inventory, so they do not contribute to your inventory's item or weight limit. They can contribute to giving West an "overencumbered" status, which slows his movement to a crawl, but this has not been observed through regular gameplay and the requirements for being overencumbered are unclear.


Dragging Icon

The icon on the right indicates that the object can be dragged.

Some environmental objects can be dragged around by West by holding the Shield button/key and moving around at the same time. This can be useful for rearranging furniture into barricades, or to relocate useful storage items to more accessible positions. However, barricading can be costly in terms of time, since only one object can be dragged at a time, and dragging objects costs stamina while it is being done (more so if West is sprinting while dragging the object).
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