[Top 5] Subnautica Best Cyclops Upgrades (And Why They're Good)

Get the most out Subnautica's star submarine.

Once you’ve unlocked and built your first Cyclops in Subnautica, you might feel like the ocean is your oyster. As if all her secrets are within reach and her dangers are at bay.

That may be true until you run out of power in Leviathan waters, and a Reaper shreds your submarine to pieces.

The truth is, your Cyclops is powerful and incredible but hardly invincible. It has room for some improvements, and the world is laden with beneficial upgrades that can make you the true king of the sea. If you want to range across Subnautica’s beautiful and dangerous map without fear, consider looking into the various upgrades on this list, as they will clue you in on several ways to make the mighty Cyclops even mightier.

NOTE: We will not discuss Hull Depth Upgrades, even though they are essential while playing Subnautica. Hull Depth Upgrades are vital to progress into the game's end locations but don't give any additional tactical value, so discussing them is moot. Just trust me, you need them, so go find them.

If you need help hunting them down, the Cyclops Depth MK1 upgrade is located in the Blood Kelp Zone, the Dunes, and close to the border between the Grand Reef and Kelp Forests. Once you find the MK1, you automatically unlock blueprints to craft the others.


5. Thermal Reactor Module

It's enviorment friendly power... for unfriendly enviorments.

You won’t have this module until very late in the game, but once you grab it, your Cyclops gets quite a meaningful upgrade.

The Thermal Reactor Module allows players to recharge their submarine by simply parking above intense heat sources like thermal vents or magma lakes. This upgrade works with any area above 30* celsius and has a version that applies to your smaller vehicles as well (although each is a separate blueprint you need to discover in the world.)

While this module might be limited in usefulness by its dependence on very late-game materials, it is unmistakably helpful in the game’s closing hours. After returning from the depths, getting the stuff to craft one will greatly improve your quality of life.


Because the late-game areas are so magma-heavy, this upgrade is a handy one to invest in, as it gives your Cyclops a way to recharge itself back to max capacity after a long journey to the bottom of 4546B. But even after leaving this deep recess, you’ll be able to venture across the map with the reassurance that every highly dangerous volcanic crater in the game is now essentially a gas station for your beautiful jewel of the sea.

The Thermal Reactor Module isn’t craftable for a long time, but it is very easy to find the blueprint for, so setting yourself up for success in the future is recommended here. A quick visit to one of the Mushroom Forests will help you get this blueprint squared away, making it an easier recipe to collect for the Cyclops.

As well as being convenient on its own, this module can be paired with the top pic on this list to make a Cyclops that’s highly self-sufficient and able to stay at sea for long and arduous journeys. This feature is a godsend when you’re in the story's last act since that usually involves traveling across the map to gather essential resources from all over 4546B.

HOW TO GET IT: Wrecks in the Mountains, Grand Reef, and Northwestern Mushroom Forest contain data boxes. The Northern Mushroom Forest is the more dangerous of the two, but it's decently close to the surface, and the wreck itself isn’t guarded, so getting to this one is the easiest.

Don’t celebrate too early after getting it, as the only way to craft this module is with four Kyanite Crystals, which aren’t findable until you’re near the bottom of the sea. The crystals are in spades down there, but also keep an eye out for silver to make a wiring kit and deep shrooms to craft some Polyaniline. 


4. Docking Repair

Take care of the PRAWN, and the PRAWN will take care of you.

Once equipped, the Docking Repair module will do you a massive favor by automatically applying repair jobs to any smaller vehicle you dock with the Cyclops. Whether you're limping home from a tango with a Leviathan or just trying to get the scuff marks off your Exosuit, this module removes the legwork of having to repair it all by hand.

While not essential, this small change makes for an incredible quality of life improvement if you plan to use the Cyclops as a mothership for your smaller vehicles, a highly valuable strategy when navigating biomes that are too challenging for just one of your three vehicles to handle.


Anything that helps automate individual steps to survival in Subnautica has value since it saves you significant time when trying to explore. By the late game, your ability to rest, recover and stay healthy must be so streamlined that you can focus all your effort on getting off this planet. So little things like having your rides repaired for you frees up your mind to worry about where you're going next and why.

Vehicles are prone to damage, as anything from a minor collision to a predator attack can whittle away your health. You will need to pull over for repairs somewhat frequently, and failing to do so could make the difference when being attacked by predators. Nothing is worse than a leviathan attack leaving you miles below the surface with no quick way to escape.

You will especially love this setup when working with the PRAWN suit in the late game. Said vessel is sluggish and immobile, so it relies heavily on the Cyclops to navigate tricky terrain. On top of that, it's a vehicle prone to getting into fights due to its slowness and strength, so knowing that a quick and effortless repair job is in your future will help encourage you to test the suit's limits and put it to work.

HOW TO GET:  A databox that contains the recipe is in the Grand Reef wreck, the Sea Treader Path wreck, and one of the Mountain wrecks. Your most straightforward choice is likely the Grand Reef since this wreck is closer to the surface, but bring a Repulsion Cannon for the resident warpers guarding the place. 

Crafting is relatively simple from an ingredient perspective. You’ll need a Repair Tool (yes, a whole repair tool) and some copper wire to craft this recipe.


3. Sonar System

Quite illuminating, despite the total lack of lights.

Subnautica is one part exploration game, one part horror game. What do both of those things have in common? The answer: Trying desperately to see things in the dark.

Thus, it's advisable to grab the Sonar System for the Cyclops. With this equipped, your days of squinting in the deep dark are over. Turning on your sonar makes a continuous passive scan of the nearby terrain that outlines everything in red, making it much easier to spot dips in terrain, cave entrances, or predators.

When so much tension in Subnautica depends on whether or not you find what you're looking for or see what’s swimming your way teeth-first, having a sonar helps ease your burden and grants you the confidence of a deep sea ocean explorer.


Sonar gives you significantly better visual clarity on what the environment around you looks like by outlining terrain close by and at a great distance while also helping you detect the terrible things lurking in the shadows.

This module works great for finding caves and secret areas since it cuts through the fog and visual noise to show you exactly what the sea floor around you looks like. You can also use this to gauge how the terrain looks further ahead in foggy or dark environments.

This also works excellent on spotting Leviathans since Leviathans often lurk in foggy waters that make them hard to see coming until they are almost at spitting distance. Light-sensitive creatures like Crabsquids will also be easier to deal with since you can now see them without shining your headlights in their face. 

HOW TO GET IT:  Wrecks in the Blood Kelp Trench, Bulb Zone, and Grand Reef have databoxes containing this recipe. The one closest to the surface is the Bulb Zone Wreck, guarded heavily by Bonesharks and the occasional Ampeel. If you want something less predator-infested, the Blood Kelp Trench wreck is deeper in the water but far less guarded. The Grand Reef is the best of both worlds, though you should stay low while approaching as a Ghost Leviathan patrols the waters surrounding here. Pick your poison.


2. Shield Generator


While piloting your Cyclops, you’ll notice that most things in Subnautica quickly lose interest in you since you’ve become too big a fish for them to handle. However, there are a few examples of fauna that can take you on, and the ones that do can hit pretty hard. Never fear. There’s a surefire way to reassert yourself as the biggest fish in this pond—the Shield Generator.

While keeping this thing equipped, you’ll have a button on the Cyclops’ HUD that lets you activate an energy shield around the vehicle anytime. This shield costs fifty points of energy to activate and drains an additional fifty points on a five-second interval, but once activated, your ship is now impervious to further damage, be it from alien attack, crush depths, or running aground on the Safe Shallows.


Cyclops is a big and sluggish target, able to charge away from danger at full speed only if there’s a straight line for it to run in unobstructed. For this reason, you must have the means to defend yourself during attacks since you won’t be able to evade predators as you do in your Seamoth. Shields offer you a perfect defense in the face of danger, which buys you precious time to turn and run for it. While it isn’t an excellent method to deal with the crushing depths, a Cyclops can even buy itself time to escape dangerously deep waters by turning this on, and the shield can even be an excellent way to evade taking damage if you are going too fast to avoid a collision with the ground.

The Cyclops Shields are highly effective at encouraging hostile fauna to buzz off. When any living thing hits a shield in Subnautica, that animal flees as if the player just attacked it. This effectively wards off pretty dangerous fauna and even does a decent job of discouraging hostile leviathans. You’ll usually have options to stealth past Leviathans through your submarine’s native “silent running” mode, but if the sneaky method fails, this is a great way to prevent disaster.

Because the Shield wards off attackers so well, it has a bonus effect worth mentioning. If your ship is attacked by Lava Larvae -the parasitic sea slugs from lava zones that leach power out of the cyclops- activating your shields will instantly zap them off all at once, which saves you the dangerous and tedious work of exiting the cyclops to go slash each one off with your knife. Considering how much of the Inactive Lava zone is plagued by these things and how imperative it is that you stay powered up and avoid becoming stranded at this leg of your journey, a power-hungry solution like this is very tempting.

HOW TO GET IT:  A databox containing the recipe is in the Mountains Wreck, one is in the Sea Treader’s Wreck, and the other is in the Degasi Third Base Location. Try the Sea Treader’s Wreck if you want the most predator-free version since it only has a warper guarding it, which can be dealt with using a repulsion cannon.

Crafting this one is going to be expensive. You need an advanced wiring kit, some Polyaniline, and a Power Cell. I promise it’s worth it.

STRATEGY TIP: Because this feature is so power-hungry, it is highly encouraged that players should use this mode less like a passive form of defense and more like a “counter move.” When a leviathan is engaging you, wait until they’re coming in for a charge attack and then activate the shield, leaving it on until your aggressor shows signs of backing off. Treating this module like a parry mechanic allows you to benefit from temporary imperviousness while minimizing how much energy you burn.


1. Cyclops Engine Efficiency

Keep them charged, and they'll keep you swimming.

It may not be the most exciting upgrade available for the Cyclops. Still, Power Efficiency is such a widely recommended and enjoyed upgrade that it takes the cake as the overall best.


The Cyclops draws a lot of power, and power cells are quite the process to craft from scratch. When managing the six power cells that give life to your engine, anything that helps them drain slower is a godsend.

Remember, when your Cyclops docks a vehicle to its bay, it isn't magically granting it power out of thin air but transferring some of its engine power to the vehicle. Increasing power efficiency does not improve your vehicle's draw rate, but it does help conserve power while piloting, which gives you more spare energy to burn on recharging. Thus, the engine module allows you to cushion the blow of restoring your vehicles and gear considerably, which dramatically helps the flow of driving from place to place in your submarine.

Combining this with Thermal Power is a delicious combo, making your batteries drain slower AND giving you many chances to stop for a recharge while cruising along. Once you have both, it's possible to avoid switching out your power cells ever again.

HOW TO GET IT: Your crashed capital ship, the Aurora, has a functional module hidden in its Drive Room. Search through the locked rooms by looking for PDAs with key codes to help you find access.

You unlock the blueprint to craft more by picking the intact one up. If you need to make more later, they're crafted with Benzene, Polyaniline, and a Computer Chip.

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A lifelong lover of stories, Alex loves the escape of plugging into games that let you fully immerse yourself in them. His Skyrim mod collection has been sending him crashing to desktop for years.
Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Total War: Warhammer 3
Top 3 Favorite Games:BioShock, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, XCOM 2

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