[gameinfo title="Game Info" game_name="Guns of Icarus Online" developers="Muse Games" publishers="Muse Games" platforms="PC (Reviewed)" genres=" Action, Adventure, Indie, Simulation" release_date="October 29th 2012"]
The ominous approach of Hurricane Sandy was not enough to delay the release of New York based Muse Game’s latest release, Guns of Icarus Online.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world and timeline in which an era of steam and diesel gave rise to technologically impressive gunships, Guns of Icarus Online is a team-based airship combat game that is an absolute hoot to play.
Players assume one of three roles, Gunner, Engineer or Captain, and participate in massive dogfights across sprawling landscapes. Each class has their own set of skills tailored to different playstyles. If you see yourself more as a leader, then the Captain may be the class for you. Sporting a spyglass for spotting far off ships, the Captain excels at piloting and manoeuvring their ship and is only truly at home when positioned behind behind the wheel.
If you want to be the one who has the skills to tear a hole through your opponent’s ship then the Gunner may be for you. The ammunition boxes they carry allow them to modify the guns on your ship to deal more damage, have better accuracy and even have the potential to cause fires on enemy ships.
Maybe these two classes don’t appeal to you and you may prefer playing the challenging role of keeping the ship in top condition and buffing it, which is exactly what the Engineer can do. Each class gets 5 perks, three for their role and one for the two other roles. The ability to customise your perk loadout leads to some interesting meta-game tactics, and it’s perhaps one of the game’s strongest features.
Specific costumes are available to each of the three classes and this helps to set them apart from one another as well as giving players extra freedom in creating and customising their own unique character in this Steampunk world. Whilst I’m personally not too fond of ingame cash shops, I feel that the way Muse Games has featured it in Guns of Icarus Online to be far less intrusive than other games – the only available items are cosmetic, there is no “pay-to-win” here.
Practice Mode is the first port of call for new players; the mode helps to bring people up to speed with the basics of the game and allows you to practice your piloting skills for future dogfights.
There are five main damage types in the game: Explosive, Fire, Shatter, Piercing and Flechette. Each of these damage types are effective at specific regions of an enemy ship and by knowing which damage type a weapon inflicts allows your team to damage the enemy as efficiently as possible. Explosive damage deals heavy damage to the Hull, Fire damage deals heavy damage to the Balloon and Hull, Shatter damage deals heavy damage to Guns and Engines, Piercing damage deals heavy damage to Armour and Fletchette damage deals heavy damage to the Balloon. An extra damage type in the game is Impact damage, which occurs when colliding with a Ship or terrain and takes into account the velocity of the impact. Impact damage deals devastating damage to all areas of the ship.
At its heart Guns of Icarus Online features two game modes: Skirmish mode and Adventure mode.
Skirmish mode includes popular multiplayer games modes that you find in the majority of other multiplayer games – VIP, deathmatch and control point. Ships can be customised before matches by Captains, and Gunners and Engineers occupy the remaining three slots on the ship. By completing achievements players are able to access new skill unlocks for that particular class.
Whilst Adventure mode hasn’t been released yet, the mode is set to add a persistent role-playing world to the game featuring towns, trading, crafting, and factions. We’ll be sure to take a look at it as soon as more information becomes available about its ongoing development.
Running on the Unity engine, I have to say that Guns of Icarus Online looks damn impressive, the artstyle is definitely great to look at it and the way ships explode in a massive shower of shrapnel, fire and smoke never gets old. The look and feel of everything, even down to manoeuvring the ship feels just right and the way that larger ships fly more sluggish (but pack a greater punch) than their smaller counterparts is greatly balanced and tuned appropriately.
It’s even more rewarding when you’re playing with your mates and manage to pull off some great manoeuvres such as juking an enemy ship by flying into clouds, quickly circling round and launching 50 shades of hell at them.
Some of the more hilarious bugs from the beta build (falling through the ship’s deck being my most favourite) have now been stomped out and it’s safe to say that the game runs more fluidly since the early days. As well as the upcoming addition of Adventure Mode, the dev team are looking to add new game modes, maps, clan integration and more which adds more hours of fun to the game. They’ve been consistent with updates and as well as adding Halloween and Christmas themed items they also recently added a new 2v2 deathmatch map: Canyon Ambush. All in all, a solid multiplayer experience that is a blast with a bunch of mates and succeeded in expanding upon the gameplay from its predecessor Guns of Icarus. After an incredibly successful Kickstarter Project, Muse Games certainly delivered.