Guns of Icarus Online is a team-based airship combat game made by Muse Games. This game is expanding upon their idea from Guns of Icarus, another game made by Muse Games, and making it a multiplayer experience. Guns of Icarus online is another Kickstarter baby. It got $25,000 more than it asked for, which is fantastic. The only two questions are: does it soar off successfully into the distance or crash and burn before it even lifts off? Lets find out.
I’m going to start with graphics. The graphics in this game are actually really good for an indie game. I was really happy with how the game looked. When a ship blows up in the sky, it looks really amazing. It adds to the satisfaction of blowing up an enemy ship. The other animations aren’t really that great. I would say mediocre at best. Swinging your wrench as an engineering seems a bit awkward. That doesn’t take too much away from the great looking texture quality though. I really like the style of the graphics too. It is a steam-punk world again, which seems to be really popular these days. I like it though. I don’t think it has over stayed its welcome yet. I am not sure why, but the graphics style reminds me a bit of the movie Hugo. Maybe it is just because all of the turning gears.
Lets talk about character creation. There are three classes that the player can play in Guns of Icarus Online Gunner, Engineer, and Captain. The player can customize the look of each of the three classes. There is one catch though. The player has to pay real life money to buy different clothing for each class. If the player chooses not to pay for clothes in a first person game like most of us with brains will, then their character will be forced to wear the same clothes all the time. By the way, you can’t change the face of your character at all, so the only way your characters will look different is if you change their gender. All the males in the game look exactly the same as other males, and all the females look exactly the same as other females. The only things you can “customize” are hair color, eye color, skin color, and facial details. Now, I know what you are thinking, “Zach won’t changing the facial details change the look of your character?” Well, reader you would think that would be the case, but all changing the facial details of your character does is add scars. So, all players in the game look like their related, but some of them just look like they stayed in a tanning bed a bit too long. The whole character creation and store in this game just seems like a waste of time. Their aren’t even that many items in the store. Most of the items are hats, and I don’t see why I can’t unlock these things by ranking up or by crafting like in Team Fortress 2 since I already put $20 towards the game. It just has greed written all over it because they put this out on launch day. If the game had been out for awhile then they put the store in, I would of been more acceptance towards it. Putting a in-game store in a non-free to play game on launch day is just greedy. There is no way I am paying $6 for clothes on my character when most of the time people aren’t even looking at my character. People are usually too busy spotting enemy ships or looking at the thing they have to repair, and you can’t even see how cool your character looks. It is a first person game. If they wouldn’t of wasted their time on the store and character creation, maybe the game-play would of been better.
The game-play in this game is quite interesting. You join a team of 4, and try to survive the onslaught from other ships while also trying to blow the other team’s ships out of the sky. There can be as many as 8 ships in the sky of one battle. There are only two game modes right now team death match and conquest. Team Death match is self explanatory. In Conquest, the objective is to capture and hold places on the map to gain points towards winning. As I said before, you can play as three different classes in this game a Gunner, Engineering, and Captain. You can mix and match as many of these classes as you want in your team of 4. Hell, you could have 4 captains on one team if you wanted too. I would not recommend that though. Anyways, back to the classes. The Gunner mans the turret just like you would expect him or her too. The Engineer repair things that get damaged on the ship, and the Captain pilots the big airship. To be honest, I was a little worried that the game-play was going to suck after I saw the quality of the character creation and store. I was pleasantly surprised though. This game is truly a cooperative game, which is one thing that I really like about it. This game accepts that in a truly team-based experience not everyone’s role can be equal. Just like in football the Quarterback’s role is more import than the kicker’s most of the time until it comes down to the winning field goal. Well, in Guns of Icarus Online the Captain’s role is more important most of the time until your hull gets damaged and catches on fire. At that moment, the Engineer’s role would be more important. Since each class is so different, lets talk about the game-play of each separately. Lets talk about the captain first. The Captain is the most important role on the ship. He or she pilots the ship, which is extremely hard to pilot. You are looking in a first person view when you pilot the big airship, which was really hard for me to get use to at first. I played the beta of this game, and one of the things I didn’t like about it was that their was no practice mode to improve your piloting skills. Well, Muse Games added a practice mode to the game, which is good because the only way you could practice your piloting skills in the beta was to hop in the captain’s role and piss off your team mates by trial and error. Now that there is a practice mode, you don’t have to grief people to get better at piloting the airships. Over all piloting the airship is pretty fun. Next, lets talk about the gunner. The Gunner was my least favorite role of all. The gunner is really boring to play in my opinion. You just sit there on your gun and shoot at the other ship. You have to lead your shots, which makes it a little bit more fun I guess, but it isn’t even satisfying until to see the ship blow up. I don’t feel like I am doing damage to the ship until I see it actually fall out of the sky. Probably because I can put a whole round into the balloon of the air ships, and it never gets damage. I also wish that you could pin point out things on the ship to aim at. The guns feel awkward to turn too. Some of them only turn a little bit, which leaves you looking straight ahead almost all of the time. So, the only thing you can do is wait for the captain to line up the ship and click. I just didn’t like to play the gunner it wasn’t for me. I think I enjoyed my experience as the Engineer the most. The Engineers job, as I said earlier, is to repair everything that gets damaged during battle. As an Engineer, you don’t just sit around and wait for the ship to get damaged. The Engineering has a hammer that he can hit the guns with to give them a buff. Don’t ask me how that logic works. That is just what you do. It gives a buff to damage, reload time, and health, which is pretty good. You can change your load out in this game to anything you want, but the most sensible items to pick for the engineering is a wrench for repairs, buff hammer for buffs, and a fire extinguisher to put out those nasty fires. Believe me. When you are under attack, there are a lot of fires to put out. I don’t know what it was, but I found a lot of enjoyment being the only reason my ship was still flying around in the air. See, the combination of classes that my team liked to run was two gunners, one pilot, and one engineer. So, I had to put out all the fires, and repair everything that got damaged, which was a lot of fun to me. I really really like the feeling of team work that you get from the game. There is nothing like the struggle of losing with a group of people, but then at the end you pull together and with a combined effort you destroy the other ships for a win. Unfortunately that is the only enjoyment I get out of the game-play. If you aren’t playing with friends or people that have good team skills, then the game just isn’t fun. Another complaint that I have about the game is that the roles of each class are really plain and repetitive. After you have won a couple of games as each role, it just seems like every game is the same thing for each class. You shoot stuff as the gunner, you repair stuff as an engineer, and you fly the ship as a captain every single game. It gets really old after a couple of games, and the games aren’t even that long. So, I cannot play this game for more than an hour at a time if that. I just get bored of it if I do. I like the feeling of team work this game gives you, but when that wears off it gets really old really fast. The game-play is good for a little while, but it isn’t deep enough to keep me playing.
In conclusion, Gun of Icarus Online is a really good looking game game that can be fun for about an hour. After the feeling of team work wears, the game tends to lose its charm. I definitely cannot recommend if you are a lone wolf. If you don’t play with friends or cooperate well as a team, you aren’t going to have fun. All of the satisfaction that comes out of this game, comes from the truly cooperative experience. I don’t know if that is a good enough selling point though. This game was a really good idea. I just wish they would of pulled it off better. I would love to see a game like this pulled off really well as a team-based space combat game. I think that would be awesome. It could of been a great game, but it just didn’t get executed well enough.