Revisiting Guns of Icarus Online

With an Adventure Mode on the horizon, Guns of Icarus Online is an immersive co-operative multiplayer game with a lot to offer.

Sailing through the clouds, peering through your spyglass only to spot an enemy airship off the starboard bow. You shout to your crew to ready themselves for a fight. They all man their posts, bracing for the storm about to hit, and once it does they perform their duties like a well-oiled machine. Guns of Icarus Online, a co-operative, steam punk multiplayer game, invokes these images and delivers epic battles– fought in the sky like few other games out today. While not new to the market, the game has undergone significant updates and is in the process of raising funds for an Adventure Mode which has pulled it back into the spotlight.

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Life on Deck

Living on an airship is a tough life. You are constantly getting into dogfights, avoiding sand storms, and there is always the risk of falling out of the sky. To help you survive all these hazards, you need a well-balanced crew. In Guns of Icarus there are three main classes to choose from: Pilot, Gunner, and Engineer, each with their own sets of tools and abilities.

The Pilot’s main task is to, well, pilot the ship. As such, you will find yourself at the wheel, navigating the map– avoiding obstacles and bearing down on enemy vessels. Different ships will have different maneuverability and speed, drastically changing the way they handle. This is important when lining up your gunners’ shots, while also avoiding the line of sight of you enemies. To help you accomplish all of this, you have several helm tools to help you perform aeronautical feats, such as Kerosene to give your engines that little extra boost. Most of these tools have specific drawbacks however, such as dealing damage to the engines, making it important to use them sparingly.

The Gunner is your man at arms, equipped with a wide array of ammunition types to get the job done. Different munitions will provide certain bonuses, while also incurring certain penalties. For instance, the “Lesmok Rounds” are able to shoot further, but cut down on the amount of rounds per magazine. Like the pilot, you are going to need to pay attention to what is going on around you and adjust accordingly. To fire, you mount the various gun turrets across the ship. Different guns will have different firing arcs and ranges, so you find yourself running from gun to gun in an effort to maximize your damage output.

Finally, there is the trusty Engineer— responsible for keeping that bucket of scrap up in the air. Equipped with various tools to help get the job done, the engineer’s main tasks are repairing ship components, putting out fires, and buffing the ship up a little when they get a chance. Different tools will repair different amounts of damage, and create different cool downs. This turns the engineering role into a kind of quick time event, which has you constantly running around the ship. It is extremely rewarding, and you develop a sense of pride in your work.

While you are capable of performing any role regardless of class, focusing on your specific functions gives you an advantage over less organized teams. All class load-outs have equipment slots for all three roles, but depending on which you choose, you will gain extra equipment accordingly.

A Well Oiled Machine or a Wrench in the Gears

When you are manning the guns, dropping hot lead hundreds of feet up, you feel like a one man army. When your pilot calls out crazy maneuvers, and the engineers jump on because they know the engines are about to be pushed to the limits– you feel like Scotty aboard the Enterprise. Each class will face its own unique challenges, but the overlying theme in every encounter is teamwork.

Guns of Icarus does a great job balancing the importance of the various roles and making everyone feel significant, but it is a double edged sword. Anyone aboard your crew who begins to neglect their duties will drag the team down, leading to some extremely frustrating encounters. Communication should always be encouraged, not only because is produces results, but also adds to the atmosphere. Calling out the location of enemy ships while looking through your spyglass, or coordinating the next barrage of cannon, fire creates a sense of immersion which is hard to come by. Even the lulls between skirmishes add to the tension, knowing that all hell could break loose again at any moment.

The Nuts and Bolts

Developers Muse Games have done a great job supporting this title since its initial release, resolving many issues and balancing game features. There are several maps and gameplay modes available, and they seem to be rolling out more all the time.
Aside from the core game, there is also an in game store for purchasing new apparel and accessories, none of which impact game play. Certain customization options are available through in game achievements, of which there are plenty.

The Sum is Greater Than Its Parts

Guns of Icarus Online is a unique multiplayer experience that creates a wonderful atmosphere to play in. When you find yourself in a good match, it will create memories you will talk about for days. When you lose, you will start strategizing obsessively. The game promotes team work, and rewards you for doing so. So if you have ever fantasized of being a sky buccaneer, navigating the clouds raining hell down on your enemies, jump aboard and set sail.

Guns of Icarus Online is available on Steam (PC, MAC, LINUX) for $9.99 until May 21st, or support their Kickstarter for the new Adventure Mode.

 

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Revisiting Guns of Icarus Online
With an Adventure Mode on the horizon, Guns of Icarus Online is an immersive co-operative multiplayer game with a lot to offer.

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Author
Max Graham
Born in Canada, currently living in the US, I am part of a startup that designs games for physical therapy. In my spare time I like to keep up on games and share some of my thoughts with the community.