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Submachine Universe


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Rating: 4.8/5 (49 votes)
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Submachine UniverseSuspended from time and space as we know it, will you be able to make sense of it all? Welcome to Submachine Universe, an innovative Mateusz Skutnik endeavor joining a new gaming experience with the well-known, well-loved series. Set in iconic Submachine style, players are led on a scavenger hunt-esque adventure spanning various dimensions - some old, some new, and some with a twist.

At the time of its initial launch in 2010, Submachine Universe's distinction was being one of the only massively singleplayer online (MSO) games available. And despite its conversion in late 2017 to "free HD downloadable," Skutnik successfully maintained the aura of vastness and exploration that comes with MSOs.

Submachine UniverseLike any good escape game, the key is in the details. Players keep a sharp lookout for clues amongst minimalistic scenes embellished with shading and texturing in just the right places. Sound, color palette, and great use of lighting create ambiences that direct players, serving to keep them on edge; turn curiosity into urgency; or evoke uneasiness and chaos. There were plenty of times when I felt a sense of relief wash over me upon returning to "Home Base," only to be hit with another wave of dread as I launched myself into a new dimension.

Despite sparse instruction and few moving parts, a seamless user experience keeps players intrigued and engaged. There can be lots to remember once clues start building upon one another, but thankfully, an in-game note taking system is available to keep track of all your leads.

Perhaps the most captivating aspect of Submachine Universe is a plethora of backstory and intricate lore presented in the form of detailed academic articles, through which the game really earns its name. These articles offer additional context to inferences that can be made from other Submachine games, particularly Submachine Network Exploration Experience, which keeps the game nebulous yet cohesive. As such, Submachine Universe is good for everyone - the die-hard fan, the newcomer, and the player who hasn't encountered Submachine in quite a long while.


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4 Comments

This game is ENORMOUS, may revisit when I retire. The walkthrough is 43 pages of small type. WOW!

Reply
kktkkr February 14, 2018 11:34 AM replied to jaybo33

I was halfway through writing a full walkthrough when I realized it would be about 100 kilobytes long.

(probably return to it after this Weekday Escape, with much less formatting)

Reply

There’s actually a walkthrough on the Submachine Wiki already.

Reply

Well I tried anyway, hopefully this is at least a bit helpful and more error-free than I expect.

Submachine Universe v4.5.4 (final Flash build): A Concise Guide

This guide is meant to be as short/small as possible while maintaining a reasonable flow of exploration, with fewer spoiler tags, descriptions and location names than usual.

While it covers every known location in the game, it ignores some minor details, references and hints. As such, it's still recommended that you take your own notes when exploring.

Items which are marked as optional do not factor in the main logical path of the game.

Even though it's not assumed that you've played the entire Submachine series, you really should do so because this game contains some spoilers for it.

Before/Shortly After You Start

At any time, you can press Escape to leave full screen. After you start the game, you can enter the menu with the M button, and adjust your settings from there.

The starting area

In this guide, navigation directions will be indicated by the letters UDLRFB. If corners/diagonals are involved, the second initial will be lowercased e.g. Dr = lower-right.

You start off on a screen with three sliders, where there's an optional notebook on the floor.

[LFR] Pick up the soap.
[...LD] Flip all the switches up.
[...UBD] Turn on the computer and read its screen to find 7 coordinates.
[...R] There's a portal!

Discovered coords: 000, 051, 076, 541, 551, 628, 642

About gameplay

The (lab) portal is the main mode of travel in this game. Portal coordinates are three-digit numbers. You may return to 000 from any portal by just pushing its button.

Karma portals instantly connect two locations. The other end of each karma portal has its own three-character coordinates, used internally by the game and listed on the Submachine wiki.

Initial Exploration: no item use

No items will be used here, but puzzles that don't require them will be solved. Thus, for this section you need only concern yourself with the parts in bold.

The following special symbols will be used:
[[000]]: Travel to this portal location.
>: Karma portal
+: Unactivated device here
-: Dead end (usually fan-designed or tribute locations)
=: Coordinate found by calculation
P: Backtrack to drop zone (portal)
!: Revisiting an explored location
(314): Dead end coordinates
"Loop": This location has unconventional navigation.
"Dupe clue": the clue described is not the most reasonable one, or points to somewhere already traveled.

Round 0: Easter Eggs

There are exactly two locations whose coords cannot be deduced from in-game clues. One of them is referred to by name in a theory.

Both locations are dead ends: they provide no clues for the rest of the game.
[[314]] (from digits of pi)
[[815]] (flight number of the Lost plane)

Round 1

[[051]]: 523 and 917 (roman, left and right sides of hexagram), +
[[076]]: 304 (metal plate at [DL]), 875 (bottom of all three theories).
[[541]]: 218 (chair), 757 (lower-left screen).
[[551]]: =462 (metal plate), 747 (bottom of theory)
[[628]]: [L] =399 (metal plate), [...L] _7_ in oval and valve (table), [P R] > button
>[[gzb]]: 245 (right side of wheel), +
[[642]]: [RR] 100 (roman, on wall)

Final list of coordinates: 100 218 (245) 304 399 462 523 747 757 875 917

Round 2

[[100]]: This+FI (plate), +
[[218]]: 006 (plate), 666 and 616 (theory). (Ignore dupe clue on wall.)
[[304]]: FI=342 (plate)
[[399]]: [L] word clue _3_, [P RD] =712 (theory), [...R] >
>[[spn]]: +
[[462]]: 104 (floating block), >
>[[fma]]: -
[[523]]: 277 (tally/unary next to ladder), weight stone (floor), +
[[747]]: 728 and 452 (alphabetic cipher, hover over arrows), optional crimson key, +
[[757]]: 185 (above doorway)
[[875]]: [R] 232 (upper right on wall) [...R] 580 (lower left on wall), soap

[[917]]: (Loop) You can't steal the wisdom gem from here, but you can move it to the other holder to activate the theory which points to =011. Replace the gem to leave.

Round 2 Checkpoint

The list of places with additional devices so far is
051 100 spn 523 gzb 747

You should now have Soap x2, a valve, a weight stone and a crimson key.

You should also have two digit clues: word _3_ and oval _7_.

You should now have the two halves of the FI equation which points you to =442.

With that included, your list of unexplored coordinates is:
006 011 104 185 232 277 442 452 580 (616 666) 712 728.

Round 3

[[006]]: (Loop) 404 (plate), +
[[011]]: [LUr] 317 (rendering) and =128 (light grid)
[[104]]: 800 (plate), 002 (roman, beside bell), two >s. Push down sliders 1, 2, 4 to get a karma vial from the top-right screen.
>[[chm]]: - (but the theory names "Lost" and "Hell" locations)
>[[ott]]: -
[[185]]: 2 wisdom gems, TI=322 (plate hidden behind cans)
[[232]]: [LL] 550 (left theory), [...U] 731, [P R] >
>[[zwo]]: -
[[277]]: [LD] laboratory key (shelf)
[[442]]: 103 (roman, engraving), >
>[[wrt]]: -
[[452]]: 770 (roman, statue base), >
>[[swt]]: >
>>[[fsr]]: [RDL] golden lever. Push it down!
[[580]]: This+TI (arch at [L]), 411 (video)
[[712]]: 258 (lower-left corners of periscope images)
[[728]]: 552 (alphabetic cipher, beside typewriter), +

Round 3 Checkpoint

The list of unactivated devices expands to include 006 and 728.

Your inventory is filling up! In addition to last time's items, you should also have a karma vial, 2 wisdom gems and a lab key.

You should have pushed the golden lever at fsr.

In addition to the clues from last time, you should also have the two halves of the TI formula, which points you to =902.

Your list of unexplored coordinates reads:
002 103 128 258 317 404 411 550 552 731 770 800 902

Round 4

[[002]]: This+WY (plate)
[[103]]: DI=34 (roman, plate), >, +
>[[kol]]: 614 (plate)
[[128]]: 987 (directions on light displays), propeller blade (under >)
>[[sbl]]: -
[[258]]: [L] word clue __8, [...LD] 947 (markings on glowing sigil), [...URU] >
>[[v12]]: -
[[317]]: [D] 806 and 461 (photos). (Ignore dupe clue on note.)
[[404]]: bell cube, 010 (on its pedestal), >
>[[rcr]]: -
[[411]]: [RUUL] 553 (roman, wall plate), >
>[[btn]]:[DDR] 888 (sideways on wall)
[[550]]: =672 (half-buried plate)
[[552]]: [R] This-WX (plate), [...RRRRRRD] >, +
>[[kar]]: -
[[731]]: +
[[770]]: 043 (shapes on wall)
[[800]]: WX=23, WY=688 (plate on pipe)
[[902]]: 241 (video)

Round 4 Checkpoint

List of places to revisit:
006 051 100 103 spn 523 552 gzb 728 731 747

If you've picked up everything so far, your inventory shoul be full with 10 (kinds of) items, including the newly found propeller blade and bell cube.

You should have a new digit clue from 258, but no complete sets.

You have an unused DI clue from 103, but the WX and WY clues you found combine to point you to =529 (WX) and =690 (WY).

WIth those included, your list of unexplored coordinates is now
010 043 241 461 529 553 614 672 690 806 (888) 947 987

Inventory Cleanup: Red key and Blue vial

We need just a bit more space for the next round of exploration, so use up the crimson key from 747 on the door there.
(The loop that opens up is special. It's infinite, featureless, and reloading your game from inside will place you at the entrance. But it's still a dead end.)

Also use the karma vial from 104 at the device at 552 (click behind the portal on the screen you arrive and go down), opening up a karma portal to pbu.

[[552>pbu]]: +

More exploration!

Round 5

You'll start to see different kinds of digit clues. In addition to the oval panels which are colored white, there are rectangular panels in different colors: green tint, blue tint, brown, which I'll call top, left and bottom lights.

[[010]]: optional 3 wisdom gems, top lights _6_ (behind barrels), weight cube (behind barrels)
[[043]]: left lights 5__, >
>[[ixt]]: -
[[241]]: [L] NI-This (plate on lamp). You can't take the gems here.
[[461]]: [LUURRRRRDRU] oval __8, [...DLUUULLLLD] top lights 9__, [...ULLL] >
>[[brk]]: -
[[529]]: [RUR] left lights _9_, [...LDDL] =840 on plate
[[553]]: [L] =992 (plate), [P UL] bottom lights 8__
[[614]]: dragon tongue (bottom drawer), > above portal
>[[glx]]: -
[[672]]: bottom lights __7, =555 ([LLL] plate)
[[690]]: [RDL] left lights __6
[[806]]: [RRRRU] top lights __6, [P] click above/left of portal to move forward, [...LLL] >
>[[cat]]: [DLFD] lever handle, +
[[947]]: [UL] wisdom gem, 777 (plate), [...RR] 923 (note)
[[987]]: This-QI (beneath window)

Round 5 Checkpoint

The only unfinished location from this group is at 806>cat.

Your inventory should be full with 10 items. They are the notebook, soap x2, valve, weight stone x2, lab key, propeller blade, bell cube, dragon tongue, lever handle.

The following digit clues have been expanded:
top 966 (from 461 010 806)
left 596 (from 043 529 690)
bottom 8_7.
In addition to the unpaired DI clue from last time, there's also unpaired NI and QI clues.

The list of unvisited locations is
555 596 777 840 923 966 992.

Aeolic Corridor / Edge Filtration Corridor:

![[806>cat]]: [DRRR] Place the lever handle, which lets you access the karma portal.
>>[ael]: Repair the fan at the end with the propeller blade.

![[552>pbu]]: You should now have access to another portal prototype.
>>[[thb]]: [RR] 950 (on plate)

Round 6

[[555]]: (Loop) -
[[596]]: 001 (wall)
[[777]]: [R] RI=352 (roman, hidden plate)
[[840]]: Puzzle here is complicated, so just go [LL] and push the barrel to find 513 (plate). +
[[923]]: (Loop) [URR] Oval 3__
[[950]]: +
[[966]]: A1=8 A2=4 NI=842 (plates near top), >
>[[wiq]]: (ignore dupe clue in roman), [RUUF LLF] piece of chalk, +
[[992]]: KI=DI-GI (plate). You can place and remove a dragon tongue here to no effect.

Round 6 Checkpoint

The list of places to revisit expands:
006 051 100 103 spn 523 pbu gzb 728 731 840 950 wiq

The only new item should be the chalk.

The oval clue is now complete: 378 (from 923 628 461).

The NI clue (241 / 966) is matched, and points to =601. On the other hand, GI KI QI RI are still unmatched, and you now have A1 and A2 clues to deal with.

There are only four unvisited locations left for the next round: 001 378 513 601.

The fun part

From here on, we'll use items as we pick them up.

Round 7

Research Base / Lab Key

[[001]]: [L] Ring the bell, then [RRRRRR] open the hatch and pass through to
>[[chr]]: 316 (plate), optional valve (beside tree)

You will need the lab key from 277, and a wisdom gem (from 947/185/010).

<[[001]]: [P L] Use the lab key to unlock the door.
[...LLL] Use a wisdom gem here to show 613. Reclaim the gem.
[...R] Push the table and climb up to find a karma portal.
>[[jul]]: 192 (plate)

Ziggurat / Photographer's Quarters / Small Island

[[378]]: [DD Fl]: B1=5 B2=7, [...LR] pyramid key, [...LL] >
>[[hpl]]: >, +
>>[[oxt]]: -

Valve / Pyramid Key / Shutter Switch

You will need a valve from 628 or 001>chr, and the pyramid key fom 378.

![[731]]: [RR] Use a valve on the wall to open up a karma portal.
>[[lcr]]: Use the pyramid key to unlock the box. Take the shutter switch.

<[[731]]: [...R] Use the shutter switch at the top left and push it to open up another karma portal.
>[[awy]]: lever handle (on floor beside table, brown in color)

Halloween Room / Stone Plate / (spn) Sigil

[[513]]: [RUR] stone plate (floor)

![[399>spn]]: Place the stone plate in the [R] screen, and pick up the triangular sigil from the other side.

![[378>hpl]]: Place the sigil in the [R] screen, and the karma bridge extends to a karma portal.
>>[[lav]]: [LDDRU] tile B

Zero Depths

[[601]]: bottom lights _3_, words 4__

R7 Checkpoint

The list of places to revisit shrinks:
006 051 100 103 523 gzb 728 840 950 wiq

You have two new items: the lever handle from awy and tile B from lav.

You've completed the last two sets of digit clues:
bottom lights 837 (553 601 672)
words 438 (601 399 258)

The only other clue this round is B1 and B2, from 378.

In all, you've found five new coordinates: 192 (316) 438 613 837.

Round 8

Stone Loop / Valve

[[192]] has a shutter marked "Triumph".

You need the other valve from 628 or chr.

![[006]]: use the other valve on the wall above the knife runes, and turn it.

![[192]]: the shutter opens into a karma portal.
>[[ptl]]: [RR] optional weight companion stone

Brainwave Basement (Jatsko Cluster), Left Chasm, UVB-76 Room

(The clues in the Jatsko cluster indicate theories in video form on YouTube, which contain no further clues for this game.)
[[438]]: >
>[[jat]]: >
>>[[jko]]: >
>>>[[jsk]]: >, +

[[613]]: 157 (on note)

[[837]]: [R] C1=9 C2=2 (behind barrel)

Binary Chambers / Bell Cube / Semotus Basement

You need the bell cube from 404.

[[950]]: [RUR] Place the bell cube on the pedestal, and ring the bell so the cube floats.

The portal in this location only uses the digits 0 (unlit) and 1 (lit). You can just press the button to return to 000.

![[840]]: Flip four levers, at [RDDL], [...RRDR], [P LUU], [P RUURRR]. Return to [P RUL] to pick up an oval sigil.

R8 Checkpoint

Only one new location to revisit: jsk, at the end of the Jatsko portal loop.

Only one new item: the "companion cube" from ptl, for a total of 8 occupied inventory slots.

The ABC codes (from 966 378 837) are now complete, and they point you to 859 and 472.

Only one other explicit coord from this round: 157.

Round 9

[[157]]: QI=This+475 (plate on [L] screen)
[[472]]: RI+KI (plate on [L] screen)
[[859]]: [RR] GI=95 (roman, plate), (dupe clues in the book/other games at p10, 14, 22, 23, 33?, 35)

Round 9 Mathpoint

The variables you have to look out for are DI, GI, KI, QI, RI.

157: QI=This+475
987: This-QI

So QI=632 and 987 points to =355.

103: DI=34
859: GI=95
777: RI=352
992: KI=DI-GI
472: RI+KI

So KI=-61 and 472 points to =291.

One more space

If your inventory is full at this moment, go to 992 and stash your dragon tongue there, or go back to 010 and 185 to stash your wisdom gems there.

Round 10

Weight stones / Plasma Vial / Soap / (840) Sigil

You need two weight stones, from 523 and 010.

![[523]]: Place a weight stone on the [L] screen, and pass the spikes on the right to find a plasma vial. +

![[728]]: Use the plasma vial in the rightmost room.
>[[sza]]: Place the other weight stone to lower the ladder.

![[523]]: You can now climb up to two new portals. The right one:
>[[npg]]: [L] > (top-left)
>>[[glo]]:

You need a bar of soap from 000 or 875.

Place a soap bar in the sparking device to disable it.

The left one:
>[[aqa]]: [DLU] Place a wisdom gem here. [...DD] >
>>[[jts]]:

You need the oval sigil from 840.

Use the sigil on the right transmitter.

![[438>>>jsk]]: Take tile C.

Sanctuary / Infusion Parlor / Mountain

[[291]]: Two karma portals here. Go through the left one.
>[[kim]]:

You need the chalk from 966>wiq.

Place the chalk in the infusion machine and push the button to make it karma infused chalk. You can refill the machine by clicking the valve on the cylinder attached to it.

The right portal leads to
>[[mnt]]: [L] slider clue (randomized, on wall)
[...L] Use a wisdom gem here to establish a connection. The receiver is now active.

Hmm... where have we seen those sliders?

![[000]]: The slider panel is lit up, so set the sliders according to the slider clue. The panel opens, so turn the handle.

![[291>mnt]]: The hatch is now open. Go through and take the dragon tongue from the chair.

Dragon Tongues

You need the dragon tongues from 614 and mnt, one of which you may have left at 992.

![[103]]: Use the tongues on either side of the ruins door, and click the doorknob to open it up and find a karma portal.
>[[def]]: +

Sub-bot Research Room

![[100]]: Place a wisdom gem in the device, and turn the valve to lower a ladder.
>[[fur]]: [R] karmic vessel, [...U] Push a wooden lever.

Karma Chalk / Karmic Water

Bring the karma chalk from kim back to
![[966>wiq]]: [RUUF RRF RR] Use the chalk where the text on the wall says to "just draw it".
[...UFL] >
>>[[obs]]: Place the lever handle in the [LDLL] room. +
>>>[[tbk]]: [U] Note the clue on pipe. [...DLL] Set valves accordingly. [...R] Take tile A.

You need the karmic vessel from 100>fur.

Collect the spill with the karmic vessel to get karmic water.

<[[obs]] Place your tiles in to clear up your inventory.

![[628>gzb]]: Pour the karmic water from tbk in the golden bowl.
>>[[far]]: Push the golden lever on the [LL] screen.

Murtaugh's Communication Room / Soap

[[355]]: (dupe clue in note), optional copper plate (floor), light grid

The light grid is controlled by the levers in fur, far, fsr. Since you've pushed each lever, the grid should be entirely green.

Pull the lever next to the grid to shift it away.
>[[jvp]]:

You need another bar of soap, from 000 or 875.

Follow the red wire down to a room where you can use your other bar of soap.

Copper Plate

![[051]]: [L] Use the copper plate from 355 on the wall socket, allowing you to access a karma portal at [...LU].
>[[mlp]]: -

False Loop

You need to have used both soap bars, at glo and jvp.

![[103>def]]: [DRRFRR] >
>>[[brg]]: [RRRRRRRRRR] tile D

Round 10 Checkpoint

You should have absolutely nothing left but tile D and any of the following items that can be left over:

(000) notebook
(185/947) wisdom gems x3
(006>ptl) companion stone / (001>chr/628) valve x1
(355) copper plate
(747) crimson key
(277) lab key
(128) propeller blade
(806>cat) silver lever handle

There should be only one location left to revisit.

Ending sequence

If you have your game in windowed mode, now's a good time to put it back in full-screen.

You need to have obtained all four tiles from tbk, lav, jsk, brg.

![[966>wiq>obs]]: [LDL] Place all your tiles in the wall slots.
[...UUUU] Push the button on the left side.

>>>Leave through the green karma portal to win! If you took the companion stone, it will show up in the ending.

Speedrun format

Since the design of the game makes it largely skippable (like Submachine 4), here's a list of necessary steps, in not necessarily the best order.

000: hit middle switch, get soap1
010: get 3 wisdom gems, weight cube1

523: get and use weight cube2, get plasma vial
728: use plasma vial
>sza: use weight cube1 to lower ladder

513: get stone plate
399>spn: use stone plate, get sigil
378: get pyramid key
>hpl: use triangle sigil
>> lav: get tile B

404: get bell cube
966>wiq: get chalk
291>kim: infuse chalk
291>mnt: use wisdom gem, read slider code
950: use and raise bell cube
000: set sliders
291>mnt: get dragon tongue1

875: get soap2
840: push levers, get oval sigil
523>aqa: use wisdom gem2
>jts: use oval sigil
523>npg>glo: use soap1
438>>>jsk: get tile C

100: use wisdom gem1
>fur: get karmic vessel, push lever1

628: get valve
731: use valve
>lcr: use pyramid key, get shutter switch
>awy: use shutter switch, get lever handle

966>wiq: use karma chalk
>obs: use lever handle
>>tbk: set valves, get tile A, fill karmic vessel

452>swt>fsr: push lever2

628>gzb: use karmic water
>>far: push lever3

355: push lever to open portal
>jvp: use soap2

614: get dragon tongue2
103: use both dragon tongues
>def>brg: get tile D

966>wiq>obs: place 4 tiles, WIN!

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