Is Guns of Icarus any good? We review.

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Guns of Icarus Online is a rare breed of game.

This week we’ll be looking at this rather unique indie title for the PC developed by Muse games. It explores multiplayer team-based combat in a way very few other titles have attempted to do.

Muse are a young developer. They ditched their publisher to avoid the constraints and restrictions placed on them with regards to developing Guns of Icarus Online, and although occasionally their lack of higher guidance does show through, the game they’ve poured their love and devotion into really is one of a kind.

Guns of Icarus is a game where you crew a steampunk sky-ship and do battle with other steampunk sky-ships. That description alone should convert you.

A ship meeting its demise during a battle. Image captured in-game using spectate mode.
A ship meeting its demise during a battle.
Image captured in-game using spectate mode.

General Overview of Guns of Icarus

As it stands, when you enter a match you are placed on a ship with 3 other people. There are 3 classes you can play as; Pilot (also usually the captain), Gunner and Engineer. Playing matches as each class levels you up, which doesn’t give you any additional bonuses and doesn’t allow you to have an edge on other players through having higher stats. You simply have a higher level next to your name, which personally I quite like. It makes the playing field considerably more even for less experienced players or players who don’t jump into the game that regularly. On the whole it leads to a much better and friendlier playing experience, as the only way you can one up someone is being better then them based on your skill alone.

Their are several different types of ship to pilot or crew, and all have slightly different abilities and uses. A Galleon is huge and slow, but can have a lot of heavy weapons on it, making it formidable when used (and positioned) correctly. Meanwhile, a Squid is a small and fairly weak ship, but it’s very fast and is often very effective when kitted out with flamethrowers, as it can swoop past ships setting them on fire before they can do anything.

The captain can choose the weapons they want on their ship, although each ship only has a certain number of weapon slots and will have some slots for heavy weapons and some for light weapons. For example, the first ship you’re likely to command as a level 1 captain is a Goldfish, which has space for one heavy weapon on the front and 2 light weapons on the sides, whereas the Galleon has space for 4 heavy weapons and 2 light.

One of the darker, more foreboding maps. Image captured in-game in spectate mode.
One of the darker, more foreboding maps.
Image captured in-game using spectate mode.

Gameplay for Guns of Icarus

The classes are fairly self-explanatory. The Pilot is responsible for manoeuvring the ship, the Gunner mostly fires the guns and the Engineer mostly fixes the stuff that’s broken. Each class has 3 inventory slots for equipment specific to their class and 2 other slots for one piece of equipment from each of the other 2 classes. This means that a Gunner can carry 3 types of ammo and an engineering tool so that they’re in a position to fix their own guns when they break. An Engineer will usually carry a tool for rebuilding, a tool for repairing, a tool for extinguishing fires and one type of ammo. Both these classes usually carry a spyglass as their piece of Pilots equipment. The Pilot usually carries different types of fuel.

There are currently 3 different game modes. These are Deathmatch, King of the Hill and Capture the point (all the typical modes in essence). Matches can have 2-4 ships on each team and the combination of different match sizes and game modes can lead to most matches being different to each other, meaning you can often go through several matches in one sitting without feeling bored. The map variety is also wonderful, with matches taking place amongst mountains, sandstorms, canyons and eerie industrial ruins

A long range ship taking pot shots at its enemies from afar. Image captured in-game.
A long range ship taking pot shots at its enemies from afar.
Image captured in-game.

Other Important Bits

On the whole the Guns of Icarus community is lovely. Most players are supportive towards newer, more inexperienced players although the playerbase is fairly small (possibly because it’s quite a niche game). It runs fairly well on lower end laptops with the odd frame rate drops and a reduction in the quality of the graphics. Speaking of which, the visuals are a treat, with all the battles taking place in front of stunning back drops.

The game has recently seen a permanent reduction in it’s usual price due to the fact that Muse will be adding a DLC, called Alliance. This will add basically an entire other game, featuring more open world elements with missions and factions amongst other things. Because of the size of this injection of new content the DLC will be around £10 and the full price of the base game will be brought down to £6.99. Guns of Icarus does go on sale quite often though, and even at full price I would say you’ll get at least 20 hours out of it. It’s also easy to get back into if you don’t play it for a while as the controls are all quite intuitive. Definitely worth a pick-up!

A ship under fire, quite literally. Image captured in-game.
A ship under fire, quite literally.
Image captured in-game.

I will be covering the release of Alliance in detail when it arrives, so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested. Until then have fun blowing ships out of the sky!

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