Have you ever seen Treasure Planet? Did you ever wish you could fly one of those sweet ships? Well, you’re in luck. Muse Games gives you that opportunity and more. Guns of Icarus Alliance was originally developed in 2012 for PC then later ported to the PS4 in May of 2018. That does beg the question, “Did Sony release this game to coincide with Microsoft’s exclusive Sea of Thieves?” I’ll let you come to that conclusion on your own.
Around a hundred years have passed since the Great War that all but destroyed our planet. Humanity has abused nearly every last resource planet Earth has left. Engineers have invented a new technology that allows ships to float, giving us access to new trade routes and to keep humanity afloat. Guns of Icarus Alliance is a first-person Steampunk-style game in which you can man high flying ships using three classes, with the ability to customize your ship with different guns and layouts. The goal is to defeat different armadas, take over territories, and ultimately control the world.
The three classes are pilot, gunner, and engineer. Each class has a variety of items and loadouts you can use to achieve you goal. The pilot’s job is to try and position the ship to gain an advantage over your opponent and blast them out of the sky. The gunner’s job is to man the different guns around the ship and shoot the opponent before they shoot you. Lastly, the engineer’s job is to repair each part of the ship and keep it afloat.
The engineer and gunner can be interchangeable at times, especially when only running a four-man crew. I really enjoyed being the pilot the most, mainly because if the ship wasn’t in the right position, it didn’t really matter what the gunner was doing. Secondly, it was pretty fun to run around as the gunner and shoot things, but aside from the occasional repair, that was about it for the engineer, and I found that class to be boring and tedious. All I did was go to the different stations and keep things repaired. Then, I would just stand and wait for the enemy to attack. If the ship had a good pilot, we didn’t get attacked that often, so I sometimes found myself hoping to have a bad pilot so I would finally have something to do.
The ship itself is comprised of different parts that can be repaired and effect how the ship operates. There are the two engines, which affect speed and acceleration, the blimp portion, which helps with altitude. Then there’s the ships armor and shields, and if those get destroyed, then the whole ship goes down. Lastly, the guns themselves have to be repaired. If the gunners are any good, they can usually do that themselves. As you progress, you can attain different ships and different guns, and you will be able to equip anything from a machinegun to slower shooting bombs.
Teamwork is key, but it can be difficult at times. It’s best to try and play with people you know, but when that doesn’t happen, challenges arise. The game allows for different emotes and directions, text, and even voice chat. Most of the games I was in, those features weren’t utilized. If you have ever tried to use a controller to enter text, then you are aware at how awful that experience can be. Proximity voice chat would be the best option, but instead Muse decided to force the user to press the square button each time you want to say something. It doesn’t sound that bad in theory, but in the heat of battle, having to remember to hit a button before shouting out commands just kind of sucks. I caught myself having to repeat requests because I forgot to hit the button. It doesn’t take long for that to become frustrating, and I just gave up on it. Once again, why bother if other people are using it anyway? Any form of communication was usually ignored, and people would just do their own thing. I would just hope that resulted in a win. Sometimes a crew member would get frustrated, type out a sentence or two, and leave the game. The communication aspect of this game leaves much to be desired.
Guns of Icarus Alliance has a fun meta game which I found to be quite enjoyable. You are able to join a faction, take over the world map, and eventually win the war. After each game, depending on if you won or lost, you are awarded XP and an allotment of gold. On the map, there are indicators if your faction is attacking or defending certain areas. These areas offer various resources that are up for grabs, such as water, lumber, oil, medicine, etc. Spending coins will give you certain advantages during the match to help swing the tide in your favor. The bigger picture war idea comes in to play by the factions, which there are six to choose from. You can work your way up the leaderboards and have more influence on which direction your faction goes.
It was obvious from the onset that Guns of Icarus Alliance was primarily developed with the PC platform in mind. Navigating through the game is not very intuitive and is much better suited for a mouse. There a lot of menu items that are buried, and I’d be surprised if most people even found them without spending time digging through the different screens. It took me about five matches to feel comfortable with how the game flows and know what I’m supposed to be doing when.
If you enjoy a Steampunk-style game that includes strategically controlling high flying ships during intense gun battles, all while choosing your faction to control the world map, then this is your game. I didn’t initially enjoy this game, but I gave it time. With there always being another game out there vying for my attention, this game was worth spending some extra time getting to know how good it really is. I’m glad Guns of Icarus Alliance made its way to the PS4, and you should be too.
Developer: Muse Games
Publisher: Muse Games
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release Date: 31st March 2017 (PC), 1st May 2018 (PS4)
Check out more about Guns of Icarus Alliance HERE