A few months ago I found myself trawling the internet and Steam for a Pirate Ship game. Just one of those random impulses of “I really want to play this.” I tried out a few free games and demos, but nothing really felt like what I was looking for. Then last week I came across Guns of Icarus Online. Without realising it, this is EXACTLY what I was looking for. Ok, so it’s airships and not seaships, but it’s Steampunk and who doesn’t like Steampunk?!?
The game, based off Muse Games original “Guns of Icarus,” is a purely online multiplayer squad shooter of types. Matches vary from 2 v 2 ships to 4 v 4, and with upto 4 crew members for each ship, that’s 32 player matches. And the usual game types are there, with basic deathmatch and objective capturing matches too.
What the game really excels at is its thorough customisation options. There are 3 classes of character that you can chose from before battle, and not only can you customise the look of each with a variety of clothing items, but you have a choice of items for your class specific loadout. For example, with the Gunner you can pick from a variety of ammunition types, with the Engineer you have a large selection of repair and buff tools, and with the Captain you have various flight assisting options. You have to set yourself to one class before battle, and it is best for a ship to have a balanced selection, but just because you are an Engineer doesn’t mean you can’t shoot the cannons or steer the ship.
But that isn’t where the customisation ends. If you are the Captain of a ship in the pre-game lobby, you can select what type of ship your crew will be using. There are currently 6 different ship types, with the weapons on each one customisable to suit your taste, and finally you can give your ship a name, just to add that extra bit of personalisation to it.
As far as gameplay goes, there is nothing revolutionary about it. You can switch between first and third person, and with the standard FPS controls run around the ship to either sit yourself at a gunning station, hit some parts with your spanner or take up the helm. Piloting the ships themselves is quite challenging, especially with the different configurations that you need to learn so that you may best position your vessel to allow your crew to unleash fury on your enemies. Colliding with other ships or the environment not only embarrasses you, but causes you to lose control for a short period of time.
The game still isn’t complete, and there are obvious improvements still to be made, such as the game sometimes hanging after a match, but the developers are regularly online themselves asking for feedback and input from the users. In terms of the core gameplay and design it is all there however, and it is a good looking game. I mean it’s Steampunk! Steampunk always looks good.
There are several ways in which you can purchase the game, and continue to spend money in it. The best deal is to buy the friends pack, which grants you 4 copies of the game for you and your friends to crew out your own ship. As I mentioned above, the selling point in Guns of Icarus online is its customisation, and they have taken this to heart. Once in the game, if you wish to customise the look of your character then you can purchase additional clothing for them, each item costing just a few dollars and automatically billed to your steam account. It does seem, however, that the developers will be giving away special promotion items from time to time, and as you don’t NEED any of the items, it in no way affects the gameplay other than most people will look the same.
Guns of Icarus is an online game in its infancy, and like all such games does have its problems. But it will only get better. There are new patches regularly. In fact I’ve had to edit this review in the making due to a patch, so I can only see improvements for the game. They are constantly tweaking the cannons for example. The game is constantly tweaked for a better match balancing, and there is scope for expansion with new maps and possibly extra vessels to be added. This is definitely a one to watch and a recommended play.
And did I mention it’s Steampunk?
7 Steampunk airships out of 10.