I’ve seen my preview about Icarus, the upcoming title from the RocketWerkz studio by DayZ creator Dean Hall, doesn’t know much about it. As it turns out, this is probably the best way to dive into the game. My preview, guided by the game’s community manager Lorien Gugich and RocketWerkz CEO Stephen Knightly, reveals that nothing in Icarus is permanent, and everything is always at risk.
Survival crafting games always put players in risky situations – that’s their nature. Whether it is Minecraft or Rust, the player creates his own story by ending up in dangerous situations. Those stories have a good or bad ending, and it all depends on the player. This is also true for Icarus, although it never allows the player to put a bit on the table; it is all in.
That comes down to the game’s most distinct feature: It’s session-based. While other survival games put you in a world where you can slowly build a home, Icarus doesn’t exactly give you time to get that comfortable. Instead, you participate in Prospects, various quests that take you into the vast world of Icarus and give you a target. That goal could be something as trivial as surviving for an hour or something a little more demanding, like getting a certain material.
Either way, you don’t have much time to do it. Prospects in Icarus lasts a little over an hour, and when that clock drops to zero, you better go hide from the planet. Otherwise, you are left behind. That’s no big deal, since you can keep playing as that character. The punishment for missing the last shuttle to leave the planet is that you can’t keep whatever you have.
Almost everything in Icarus is specific to that session. The buildings you create, the items you construct, and the materials you collect, may all be lost. You keep only your character, the character’s progress, and whatever else they’re wearing. Everything else will disappear when the Outlook ends.
It’s one of those Icarus‘strongest point. Wipe in games like Rust and Escape from Tarkov, both charting player progress according to what’s in their inventory, is a no-brainer for me. Icarus make it easier to play a little fast and loose because nothing lasts forever. You can join the Leads program knowing you could lose everything and that threat is unleashing.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Icarus not challenging – in fact, it’s quite difficult. From the very beginning, you are forced to start worrying about your character’s health. They have many meters in mind, including hunger, thirst and oxygen. In the midst of taking care of your character, you will have to build a small shelter to store items and, unless you like wandering in the pitch-black darkness, take a break.
Your character is weak, but your starting buildings are even more so. In Icarus, players aren’t meant to fight each other (although the spear I accidentally threw at my tour guide’s foot said it could happen). Instead, the “E” in the game’s PvE stands for environment. Sure, there will be aggressive wildlife to deal with, but before that, the forces of nature will be your biggest threat.
In Icarus: First cohort thuần, that threat will mainly come in the form of storms that can knock down your hastily built tents as if they were playing cards. So if we are keeping numbers, players must be mindful of hunger, thirst, oxygen, character health and structural integrity of their home. During the hour you have to spend on one Prospect, every minute will be used to monitor one of these.
Icarus‘the powerful tech tree makes it much easier to control everything. By accumulating enough points, players can craft the weapons and tools they need to survive, along with sturdier structures or additional consumables. Trait trees provide more basic upgrades to the character, like adding health or carrying capacity.
All of this makes Icarus a race against time and in the end lose everything you have. If you miss an alien transport, you lose everything. If you die, you will probably lose everything. The only constant between a Lead is your personality and their abilities. Also, you can’t take anything for granted.
My time with Icarus Overall quite challenging. The game, which still needs some optimization, doesn’t run very well, topping out at around 40 fps, but averaging around mid-20s. I’m dead too. So many, so much. While I was hunting for food, I fell prey to a bear. Another bear attack prevented me from getting off the planet, which seemed to just love having me around so much that it didn’t want to let go.
Icarus has a lot of potential to be one of the next big survival titles, despite its performance issues. The game’s world is great and exploring it, even in the hour-long segments, is a refreshing way to go about an open world. Instead of settling in one area and slowly exploring the outside, Icarus constantly forcing players to stay outside of their comfort zone, a trait that can make a huge difference.