The Let's Play Archive

The Submachine Series

by Carbon dioxide

Part 1: Submachine 1: The Basement

Part 1
Submachine 1: The Basement

Note: These first two updates have a smaller screenshot size. I was still finding my way around the SSLP format at that time. This is remedied from Part 3 onwards.

(Click here to play the game yourself.)

The first Submachine game is a bit unusual compared to the later ones. It feels a lot like a small standalone 'Escape the Room' game. This game has been updated several times over the years, and I'm playing the 2014 version.

We start out in this room. All Submachine games have quite nice sound effects and also rather atmospheric music. This is the only game for which the music wasn't made by ThumpMonks, which means that it isn't in the OST. Luckily, there is a redux of this music made for a later game. It is similar enough.

ThumpMonks - Submachine 1 Redux 1

Urgggh... where am I? How did I get here? Last thing I remember is some kind of tower in the distance with a bright light... a lighthouse?

Meet our unnamed protagonist. We'll never get to see their face, but I can tell you one thing: they're not the kind of person to give up easily.

I need to find an exit. What's to the right?

The second picture shows what room transitions look like in this game. In the right room we can pull the lever but it doesn't seem to do anything and just springs back. I guess we'll have to come back later.

Let's try going left from the start.

If there's any complaint I have about this game compared to the later ones, it's that the rooms look similar and are quite bland.

There's no windows in any of these rooms. Am I in some kind of prison? Or underground? Hey, maybe I can use that thing to get out.

We got a Valve, and this lever is nice enough to stay pulled down. Time to backtrack again. By the way, the first version of the Basement had the exact same puzzles but only about half the rooms. And even this version is short for a Submachine game, I'll finish it in a single post.

You know what the worst thing is? I can't even remember my name. To think of it, I can't remember anything from before my vision of the lighthouse. I really need to get out. Perhaps if I fuck with this machinery someone will come looking.

Down from the starting room, we find this room with exits on all sides. The drawing was added in a later version of the game and is a rather obvious reference to Submachine 2: The Lighthouse.

What the hell? That's the lighthouse I saw before! Is this some kind of joke?

To the left we find a room with three pistons. By clicking the screws we can move them, but I don't know what position they need to be in.

This dead end has an electrical box we can't do anything with and an Ancient Coin to pick up.

What's this? There's some really strange symbols on this coin. 2..627? Wait, I understand these symbols?

The number appears when you hover the cursor over the symbols, and is different for each playthrough. Fun fact: in the first version this was a 50-eurocent coin, but Mateusz decided that that didn't fit in the game's lore that well.

Next destination: to the right from the picture room.

A radio? Perhaps that can tell me where I am.

When you click the radio, some music plays, the drawer opens, and you get a Spoon.

Well, that's helpful. Now I have a way to eat pudding if I find any.

The room below has nothing but a leaky pipe, while the room above has some device. Right now one of the lights is green. Reader, can you figure out yet why that's the case?

Anyway, this is a dead end for now, so let's go down from the lighthouse picture room this time.

We found another switch to pull, and more importantly, our first Note. This will be our primary way to learn about the story throughout the LP.

Single page from a diary posted:

last summer I went camping under the big waterfall of Kent. I guess this was a great trip for me, however some people do not understand why. Well, I did lose my left arm, but what the hell, I found out that I had a third arm. The invisible one. Since then I started to learn how to use my karma arm, and soon my skills were those of a master. It wasn't a surprise to me when people started turning their backs on me, since I was considered to be a freak and mentally ill. Funny thing, I can't tell them the truth, it would be like explaining the possibility of space travel to a goldfish. So I'm just trying to
What's this? Fuck, did I get kidnapped by some crazy person? Karma arm... whoever wrote this has quite the imagination.

This is actually the only note in Submachine 1, it's been there since the very first version, and I think it was the first thing to hint that Mateusz had a story in mind that surpasses a single game.

Further down we find yet another 'hub' room. Going left, there's a wired panel. Pressing the buttons increases the numbers on the panel. If we punch in 2627 there's a click and...

We get the Electrical Fuse.

On the other side of the lower hub, there's this room. Each bell switches the position of some of those metal blocks. With a bit of trial and error you can get them all to float, a panel opens up, and you get a Tile. My gif tool caused some weird artifacts in the center of that pic, sorry for that.

Nothing else to do here, so we have to backtrack. But we did find some things that allow us to solve some earlier puzzles.

The hint for this one is in the lower hub room. It's also randomized for every run, it just happened to have all three up for this one. However, solving this puzzle doesn't seem to do anything yet. We need to go further up.

Hey! I can hear water running.

You need to first solve the piston puzzle and then turn the valve to solve this one. There's one place we haven't been to yet: right and up from the starting room. There's a third switch there.

If I can find a way to reach that hatch, maybe I can get out of here...

We go back down and place the fuse in the fuse box. Solving the valve puzzle breaks the pipe completely and nets us the Old Pearl.

Pulling the three switches and replacing the fuse turned on the strange device which somehow made another Tile appear, and you can use the Old Pearl on the clock to get a third Tile.

We can now also pull the lever in this room to turn on power and cause those lines to spark. We use the spoon to short circuit the machine, making a panel fall off that hides the fourth Tile.

No pudding for me, I suppose.

We now have everything we need to finish the game... but there's one more thing we can do.

The short circuit caused this switch in the room where we found the coin to be exposed. If we pull it, the hatch in the top right room opens and a ladder drops down.

In the new room, we can grab the floating 'Ancient Crystal of Wisdom'. This is another thing that was added to The Basement in a later version. We will find out what it does later.

I don't know what this is... but somehow it feels important. I guess I'll hold on to this.

Back in the starting room, we just have to put the tiles in place to make a door appear, which leads to an elevator.

The elevator takes us up, we walk out, and...

Finally some progress?

We step outside, hearing birds tweeting and crickets chirping.

Congratulations, we escaped from the Submachine. Thank you for reading this LP, I'll close the thread now.

... Just kidding, of course. Next time, we find ourselves in The Lighthouse.