Icarus is a classic survival game set in the distant future. In this game, you and up to 7 other players must do your best to survive the unpredictable dangers of an unknown planet, from quenching your hunger and thirst to avoiding being killed by local wildlife, not to mention inclement weather and extreme temperatures. It's all about making it to the next day, but you can't forget your mission objectives.
This is obviously a game catered to people with enough patience and skill to avoid being killed every few minutes, where creativity could be the key to problem-solving. If you like socializing and cooperating with others, even better!
What to Expect
What you can expect from Icarus is basically the same you can find in most co-op survival games: RPG mechanics to make your character stronger and more resourceful, deadly enemies and environments, and different missions (aka prospects) to keep you busy. It also comes with a sandbox mode, in case you like building and don't want to be bothered with quests. Oh, but the premise of Icarus is quite different from that of games like ARK: Survival Evolved or even Rust. More on that in our Gameplay section!
Visually, Icarus is an ambitious beast. It will conquer your eyes with its beautiful landscapes, especially the initial forest...but sadly, that only applies to some people with the best GPU in the market. The truth is, Icarus is a poorly optimized game, and even people with a 3000 series graphics card can't run it properly—forget about RTX in Ultra!
We only experienced one or two glitches, like being shot to the sky after killing a bear and surviving its assault with 1HP. Nothing game-breaking, honestly, and we find it more infuriating to not be able to enjoy the game at its best even with one of the best GPUs and processors on the market. To be fair, RocketWerkz has been releasing some updates to try and fix these problems, but it's up to you to decide if a game is worth buying in such a state.
The soundtrack is really good, and Icarus does a magnificent job when it comes to sound effects and immersion. The music fulfills its purpose, be it when you're about to die and you feel the adrenaline rush, or when you're gathering, exploring, or minding your own business while listening to some relaxing tunes. Since your character is not that talkative, the voice acting is reserved for your assistant, Sol—it means "sun" in Spanish...get it?
Sol could be annoying at times, with unsolicited tutorials and some not-so-funny jokes, but it may be the difference between life and death if you're not paying attention to your hunger, thirst, and oxygen flow. If you're playing with others, turning off Sol and the ambient music could be a richer experience, even more so if you communicate a lot.
The first thing you need to know about Icarus is that it's better enjoyed with friends, as playing solo could be too difficult for some inexperienced survivalists. Unlike other games, there's no PvP in this game, and the landscape resets every time you finish a mission and go back to your spaceship. This means there are no guilds/tribes, and Icarus is a 100% collaborative game. It also means that there are no real reasons to continue building once you meet your goals; yes, you can level up and unlock more traits and crafting options, but you may not find harder enemies and you certainly can't explore outside of that specific mission's bounds.
All that being said, starting over on every mission is not as boring or frustrating as it sounds. It also allows you to avoid past mistakes or try different approaches, knowing that next time you'll have access to more advanced technology or different areas of the same planet. It's a different kind of freedom...
Missions range from exploring a new location to defeating a boss, for example, but none of that can be achieved without first establishing a base and gathering resources to craft yourself enough tools and weapons. In fact, dying is expected, so your most typical objective will be to retrieve your lost objects before resuming your dangerous adventure. Honestly, Icarus is an "easy" game if you know what you're doing, and most of your deaths will come because of a stupid idea you just had—like going for that unnecessary kill, thinking your oxygen levels are enough to make it back home safely, etc.
If you die, you're punished, and that's where the fun begins. In other games, your body and items disappear if you die again before reaching your bag, or at least they despawn after a few minutes. In Icarus, retrieving your stuff is easier, and the punishment comes in the form of experience points loss. Whenever you get killed, your exp count resets to the base number of your current level (e.g. you're level 14 and you only need 100XP to reach level 15; if you die, you're still level 14 and that won't change even if you die a million times, but every death forces you to fill the whole bar again before finally reaching level 15). In our own experience, logging off for a few hours counteracts this penalty, but they never really explain this, so it may as well be a bug...
Unlike other survival games, Icarus allows you to replay old stages to farm rewards. That's fantastic because money (earned after completing a mission) and exotics are the only things you can save from one mission to the other. Exotic tools and weapons, as well as the exotic materials you need to craft them, are your ultimate goal in terms of character progression, so it's nice to at least be able to bring them back after a hard prospect. Time to grind whatever you need to craft the best weapons, tools, and suits in the game!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
We found ourselves hooked on Icarus even after 100+ hours of starting our base over and over. Hunting is fun, the biomes are challenging yet inviting, crafting and character builds are robust enough, and co-op play is the cherry on top. We just wish there weren't that many performance issues and random disconnections from the server!
A fantastic multiplayer experience with both friends and randoms alike.
Starting over is not as bad as it sounds; it's a refreshing survival experience.
Playing solo is harder than it should. We loved it, but you may suffer it...
Honey's Final Verdict:
Aside from the performance issues we mentioned, Icarus is a fresh take on the Survival genre, and we totally recommend it to those who enjoy it. It looks like a matter of time to see the game running as intended, and we're sure all these things will get fixed soon considering this is only the first chapter in a scheduled trilogy.
Icarus is challenging and unforgiving at times, but it also offers gorgeous landscapes for you to relax. We're already looking forward to future content releases!
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...