Icarus boldly stakes its claim amongst giants in the field and swiftly proves to be a worthy contender. Everything I saw in the lead up to the release of Icarus made it seem too good to be true, but my faith and patience was rewarded many times over when I finally got to drop planetside for the first time, and the time after that, and the time after that. Icarus is going up on my list of favourite things to come out of New Zealand, alongside pavlova and Lord of the Rings.
Icarus is an absolutely gorgeous, engaging, and challenging survival crafting game. When it’s working correctly, it is a fantastic entry into the genre. When it’s not, the problems are deep and varied. Disconnects, corrupt characters, bugs, and balance problems abound. I look forward to seeing it reach its potential, but it’s hard to see it as anything other than a game that exited Early Access too soon.
After The Forest, I was looking for another survival game and stumbled upon Icarus. I wasn't expecting much, but WOW: What a great game this is. The concept? Great. Innovative. Phew, I'm really flashed by this game. Really ingenious. And the graphics on UQWHD with ray tracing GI and maxed out is awesome. Mega immservice. Mission enough. Content enough. AWESOME. I don't know why this game hovers so under the radar.
Despite its flaws, the superior picture quality and solid basic experience still give ICARUS a lot of potential. The level-based mission design makes ICARUS significantly different from traditional survival games, but it also makes most of the player's efforts in vain. If its mission rewards are more generous, the items unlocked in the space station have a wider range of uses, and the settings of character growth system are more reasonable, then I believe that players will also have a better gaming experience than they do now.
A refreshing take on the survival sandbox with a robust approach to progression and countless ways to tackle each mission. Sadly, harsh penalties, bugs, and crashes combine to make this a frustrating off-world expedition.
Icarus is a hardcore survival game with an innovative concept. Despite its great potential, the story is non-existent. The game punishes playing alone and is in dire need of some polishing when it comes to enemy AI and bugs.
I’m honestly confused by how much I enjoyed my time with Icarus. It relies on repetitive loops and often uneventful hiking, on tedious punishments and uninspired objectives. I am not a patient person, and yet, it does enough. The storms are terrifically atmospheric, basic crafting still feels compelling when you’re doing it for the umpteenth time, and oh, I haven’t even mentioned the way it models individual planks tumbling and getting stuck on each other when you chop down a wall. Despite the jank, Icarus’s (eseses) systems feel meticulous, on scales both big and small.
Review after 6 months / 1000+ hours of gameplay.
Icarus avoided falling into the No Mans Sky trap. They hinted at a lot, space travel and interstellar travel are there in the trailer, but started small. We are the first cohort and we will earn our living by the sweat on our brow. This game will grow at the speed a small developer can grow it. Soon(TM) there will be a 'second cohort' that will go off planet, a 'third cohort' that will go interstellar and an 'Icarus the Final Frontier' that can go beyond what we can imagine now.
How can they do this while remaining small? Simple. They started with a small team (call them A-team) who created a small 8x8 map aka the base game. Once this was good enough (not perfect) they released to get some money. This money hired the B-team from 'hire-a-developer'. These are the guys that crank out more of the same with a weekly new mission and an extra free DLC thrown in once in a while. All to keep the patient player base busy while the A-team works on the next DLC which will have the alien fauna and flora we are all waiting for. And the C-team is already working on the next game, which will take us off planet.
If Rocketwerkz plays it's cards well they can grow this game beyond our wildest imagination with a small well controlled team. They will do so by taking their time, start with a small area, get the bugs out, check with the player base if it matches with expectations and adjust where needed. Then they hand down to the B-team for filler while the next new thing gets created. No bloated teams, no need to sell out to a big publisher for a big budget, no need to do desperate things to stuff a huge empty box with crap content.
Could they have done different? No! Not without the right balance between enough money and enough freedom.
Prepare the ground, plant the seed, water and manure till the roots catch and now your tree grows all by itself.
But that's just my opinion and prediction, only the future can tell.
Icarus is not a successful game in terms of performance. But basically, I'd say the Prospect idea was a success. There are mechanics that we usually don't have a chance to see this kind of thing in some other survival games, but that we are already accustomed to in some survival games, which are almost a minority. On the whole, I don't think Icarus was successful. The reason is that there are some completely unsuccessful mechanics, the fact that the performance issues are annoying, some mechanics are very unnecessary (like you lose all your experience points when you die), and wild animals attack you even if you dodge.
You get in-game currency as you complete Prospects. You can purchase unlocked items from the Workshop before entering a Prospect with currencies. Frankly, on a Prospect these work pretty well. However, what I don't like is that Prospects don't give much currency, so you have to carefully choose the items you activate in the Workshop. Because you need to craft these items before you go to Prospect, just as you spend currency while unlocking these items, and you spend currency while crafting. Maybe it would make more sense if the currency rewards from the Prospects were higher. However, I do not think that this is sufficient at this stage.
There is no mode in the game where you can play the whole map freely like in Conan Exiles, Valheim or similar games. Instead, there is a mode where there are no predators, no dangers, and even mild weather conditions on a very small map surrounded by 4x4 tile and mountains. I think it's of no use. I think it is a wrong choice to limit players in "Open World Survival Craft" games like this.
I believe Icarus will be successful when it comes out of early access (I think the game is still in early access). The potential in the game is very high, but they destroyed it due to performance issues, some unsuccessful mechanics, and the reasons I mentioned.
I don't understand the bad scores or the great ones. This game is average at best. It has optimization problems, but I'm running it just fine on a 1060 card (I saw someone with a 3080 saying they couldn't run it?!?).
It has an interesting death mechanic which is nothing short of either irritating or hilarious depending on how capable you are of planning. If you die, you lose everything - but more importantly, you get an EXP debt to however much exp you gained up until that point. If you're high level and you were 1% away from leveling up, it will make you want to throw your keyboard at a wall. if you're ANY level but had 0% towards the next level, the death penalty... isn't a penalty at all. I'm sure you can see how easily such a thing could be abused.
I'm still playing it, but so far the progression system seems rather pointless. I'm maybe 3-4 missions away from unlocking the last one, but I've found zero reason to make any building past tier 2 wood or craft any tools past iron. The only threatening animals are bears, which can usually be run past.
There are also more than a few bugs that still need to be fixed.
The most glaring of which shows up in most missions that require you to 'survey' an area. What can make these missions difficult is that when your survey machine starts up, it summons waves of animals. However, if you build ANYTHING around the survey machine... nothing spawns. Nothing at all. Which means any mission can easily be cheesed by placing down a few floors and walls.
I'm enjoying it so far, but I give it an average score because it just doesn't come together as well as it should.
The devs should take notes from ARK's progression system if they want to see how meaningful progression works. A lot of the unlocks you simply don't NEED.
What a horrible release.... Performance is a mess. Graphics don't look good at all. Game is buggy.... I could go on but i keep it short. ATM Icarus is not even in Beta state... it's at least Alpha. The game itself may have potential but in it's current form, not playable. I will wait some months and update my review if the game becomes better.
SummaryICARUS is a session-based PvE survival game for up to eight co-op players.
Endure a savage alien wilderness on Icarus, humanity's greatest mistake. Survive its brutal environment as you explore, harvest, craft and hunt while seeking your fortune.
From their orbital station, prospectors drop to the planet surface for limited time sessio...