Because I enjoy Sons of the Forest, I’m keen on a 15-month-old survival game that nobody talks about
MeinMMO author Dariusz Müller likes to play shooters and survival games. He has over 1,500 hours of play in ARK: Survival Evolved and also enjoys other survival games such as No Man’s Sky, Valheim and Sons of the Forest. A survival game that he is particularly fond of is Icarus.
Sons of the Forest did a lot of things right and met some of the criteria I want in a survival game.
There are dangers to fight, the ability to build a base, various weapons – most notably a bow, I love bows – and beautiful nature. I don’t really need much more to be happy in a survival game. If the game world and its atmosphere grabs me and I can immerse myself in building work and farming resources for hours, then I play a survival game for days and have fun.
Sons of the Forest does all of that. But as I walked through the forest and made my way to the next cave, I kept thinking about another survival game and really wanted to play it again: Icarus.
Icarus isn’t the most well-known game of the genre. I haven’t heard anyone talk about the game in months, and even on Steam it only averaged 2,172 players in February (via SteamCharts). In case you don’t know Icarus or have forgotten what it was, I’ll introduce the title again.
Survival game from DayZ makers with a special twist
Icarus is a survival game from DayZ maker Dean Hall and his new developer studio RocketWerkz. The game sends you to the eponymous planet Icarus and was released on Steam in December 2021. It has since received a free DLC that added the new map “Styx”.
The planet Icarus was chosen by humans as the “new earth”. We humans successfully destroyed the “old” earth in the background story of the game and now want to make the unknown planet habitable with terraforming. However, the project fails due to an unknown, exotic matter. However, this matter now offers the possibility of creating new, advanced technology, which is why people see it as a source of wealth.
So your task is to land a space capsule on Icarus and find and harvest the matter there. Your license, which allows you to stay on the planet, is limited in time. If it ends, your capsule takes off again and you are stranded on Icarus.
The special trick of the game is to give you a certain amount of time pressure. You must complete your current quests and then return to your pod before the timer ends. You can then use the collected resources to improve your equipment in the space station and shortly thereafter begin your next visit to Icarus. The game principle is reminiscent of extraction shooters and EFT likes like The Cycle: Frontier or Marauders.
We include the trailer for the new DLC map Styx here:
Icarus will cough and snort and blow up your house
I’m a big fan of the fact that the enemies in Icarus aren’t zombies, cannibals or mutants, but simple animals like bears and wolves. This harmonises with the game’s realistic graphic style and atmosphere and is the main reason why playing Sons of the Forest made me want to play Icarus.
I’m comfortable in my grove on Icarus surrounded by normal animals, building my log cabin, hunting my food and just having fun colonizing the “new earth”. Then it occurs to me that I have a goal on Icarus, and that this “new earth” is not made for peaceful simmers.
On Icarus there are regular strong storms and thunderstorms, from which you have to take cover in your house. But your creation must not only look pretty, it must also endure a lot. The storms tug at the durability of walls and roofs, and the planet yells at you, “I’m going to cough and snort and blow your house out.”
During a storm, your main focus is repairing the damage done. With a bit of bad luck, a tree may have fallen on your house or lightning struck. When you’ve finally finished the repairs, you’ll need to replenish your supplies. That means you’ll hunt the different animals again, harvest a variety of crops like watermelons or pumpkins, and make oxygen, which isn’t natural on Icarus.
Only then do you have some time to fulfill your goals before the next, possibly even more violent storm comes up. As a result, it doesn’t get boring in Icarus, especially in the early hours. You really have a lot to do on the hostile planet.
Regular updates but performance issues
Icarus occasionally gets new content from RocketWerkz. For example, there were no buffaloes at release, and there were no watermelons or pumpkins in the beta. The new map “Styx” was even added with the first free DLC. These are all additions that contribute positively to the gaming experience and atmosphere – but they are also content that I feel really tug on the performance.
I didn’t experience any performance issues in the Icarus beta – no lags, stutters or FPS drops. When the survival game was officially released in December 2021, I hardly played it. I was too engrossed in other games and Icarus went down on my list. When I looked back at Icarus for the release of Sons of the Forest and saw the many changes and new content, I was happy. But I suddenly also felt stutters and FPS drops.
I’ve been spending a few hours in Icarus over the past few days and would actually be completely thrilled with what has become of the game if it weren’t for the performance issues that some player reviews on Steam are also reporting.
Icarus is usually made for me. It has beautiful nature, immersive atmosphere with devastating storms, normal animals instead of mutants and zombies, satisfying and varied building system, various resources to farm and items to craft and tasks that together with survival gameplay promise me several hours of fun.
If RocketWerkz improves performance with future updates or if I find a workaround that works for me, then Icarus is one of the best survival games in recent years for me.
Another survival game that would probably like to win the title of best survival game 2023 is Nightingale:
In the new survival game Nightingale, giants destroy your base – unless you give them presents