TheIndieJar: Guns of Icarus Online Preview
I was lucky enough to be invited to try out the Guns of Icarus beta, and to help me along was Joseph Lieberman from Muse Games. This meant I could explode and ask questions at the same time! Guns of Icarus Online is an steam punk themed airship combat game. Through a variety of different game modes you and some other people on the internet get to pilot, repair and shoot from an airship.
The game mode Joseph and I played was a simple vs. match where the first team to get 5 kills won. Before we could start we had to choose our class; I went for Gunner and he went for Captain. In the lobby it was decided that we would play 2v2; he was on the other team to me, and had customised his fast ship with big slow guns. I wandered aimlessly around the deck trying to get my bearing and just as I managed to man a cannon my screen went white and the ship I was standing on fell out of the sky, much to Joseph’s delight. He pointed out that any person on the ship could do any job like repairing or driving, but the specialised classes had more slots for items that would give bonuses. That round didn’t go well and my team didn’t score a single point.
The Engineer class I switched to next had a fire extinguisher and more tools to repair with. I ran about the ship prioritising the next system that need a bash with my rubber mallet. Once the captain managed to move us out of the flak into an advantageous position where the enemy couldn’t return fire I ran to a gun and helped the Gunners unleash a deadly broadside that deflated their balloon. As they sank to the ground we made sure they wouldn’t come up again with another volley – debris flew everywhere. Score one for us! Our own balloon deflated soon after and we hit the ground and died. Fixing the balloon was more important than flying, according to Joseph, and this proved that teamwork was a core concept of the game. What we should have done is pull everyone, even the captain, to make sure we didn’t crash.
I had a go at flying a ship called a Junker next – I named it the “Slice of Pie”. It was my job to use my spyglass to spot enemies, and to manoeuvre the ship about. The controls are pretty simple, you just stand at the helm and use w/s to go up/down a/d for left right and r/f for fast/slow/reverse. Knowing the weak points of each ship type was something that would come with time; Joseph gave me a hint that the heavily armoured, multi-decked Galleon had lots of blind spots.
I was advised that a good tactic would be to equip it’s hard points with long range Howitzers (that work like snipers) and to try and not get hit because the rickety looking sky-boat wasn’t very strong. This tactic worked for a while until some faster ships ambushed us by hiding in a sand cloud. The AI crew in place of two of my engineers were pretty on the ball, keeping my ship from breaking.
Joseph says that they were trying to create the most co-operative game ever. “The team with the most teamwork will end up victorious, mixed with a little bit of skill, but not so much teamwork that you have to plan everything down to the second.” I asked about boarding other ships and he said that it was never going to be an addition – “It takes away from the Idea of co-operating. The idea of the game is that you are never on your own, and that you rely on your team mates to help you with what you aren’t able to do. If we had boarding combat you’d be playing a different game.”
Muse Games are aiming for a September release and are spending these beta tests bug-squashing and balancing all the equipment. In the future more guns, ships and maps will be added; more game modes such as a co-op hoard mode, fighting off lots of bi-planes and an adventure mode where you move from place to place fighting and trading. Anyone who pre-orders from their site will get a 25% discount and be able to join the last beta test on the 20th of July. I think it’s well worth taking a look at to see if it’s your kind of thing.
Follow on Twitter: @MuseGames
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