New to the sci-fi indie scene, Icarus.1 tells the story of a salvage operation aboard a long abandoned research station. Following the botched boarding of research station Icarus 1, Sam must fight to survive against a rogue AI, find solutions to intricate problems and most importantly, scavenge valuable loot. Along the way, Sam pieces together what happened to the station’s crew in an attempt to escape the station much wealthier.
Personally I found the story to be pretty good for an indie.
Many reviews on Steam explained that Icarus.1 does tell a rather short story. After two hours of gameplay and note-taking, I completed three of five chapters and felt inclined to agree with the other reviews. For a story-driven title, Icarus.1 should be a little more lengthy and improve on its level design, which I will go into detail later on. David, your suit’s AI serves as your only friend aboard the station and is happy to provide painfully useless advice that creates an almost humorous air while dodging deadly traps. On the flipside, players will notice the guiding hand of the station’s rogue AI who is much more competent, and wants you dead.
Throughout the story, I expected to be jumped by aliens or attacked by robots, but the only antagonists faced were the station AI and the traps lying in wait. The traps themselves proved to be very little challenge and the overall pace was rather slow for my tastes. The puzzles however, tended to be a little more difficult and favor critical thinking over sleight of hand. Mechanically speaking, Icarus.1 is very well put together. During my bid on the abandoned station, I only encountered one glitch that would eventually result in me restarting the chapter. Every press of a key led to a smooth step, strafe or jump, making for concise mobility while navigating each level’s obstacles. The movement and physics perfected by Electrolyte cater to a game that didn’t quite meet its full potential.
Icarus.1 in general, kept taking me back to the good old days of trying to escape the Peragus mining station in Kotor ll. The dark lonely feel of the station in tandem with very similar sounds and music found in Icarus.1 left me in a more than welcome nostalgia trip. The soft patter of your feet on metallic floors, relentless emergency alarms and the beeping of automated doors acknowledging your approach deliver a clean audio experience that is right on cue.
Icarus.1’s soundtrack also features plenty of mysterious orchestral music that can only further that “alone in space” feel that we crave in so many sci-fi experiences.
The nostalgia doesn’t end there.
The graphics are dark, low-poly and ultimately amazing. Simplicity being the key, the developers have drawn various shapes, painted shapes, and blended shapes into station comprised of shapes that I actually enjoyed looking at. The dark catwalks, emergency lights and ghostly illuminated corridors throughout the station
sparked plenty of flashbacks to the Peragus mining station and are surely relatable to plenty of other sci-fi movies and games as well. Will Icarus.1 win any awards for its graphics? Most likely no. But it is sure to deliver a surprisingly pleasing experience to the player.
Yes there are plenty of things to commend Icarus.1 on but there are also a few areas I felt the game was lacking. For starters, I think the level design of Icarus.1 could use some revamping. The scavenger hunt that usually led up to unlocking another section of the station began to feel a little monotonous. I also felt the game was lacking any value in the completion of chapters. By this, I mean there wasn’t necessarily a climax or sense of achievement to be enjoyed at the end of each chapter. But perhaps my biggest problem with Icarus.1 is the lack of utility value in the loot you find on the station. The whole purpose of the main character’s mission is to salvage loot but aside from flares used for illumination and the occasional tool, every other item was treated as a collectible. The countless ore crates hidden around each level held no dictation towards the player’s success and presented little actual value.
Icarus.1 has more potential than what is actually realized. That being said, the developers overall, have done a good job. The story is a great idea, but as such a common theme in the sci-fi genre, I feel a little more could have been done to set Icarus.1 apart and really provide the player with a more unique experience. However, the mechanics, sound and graphics of the Icarus.1 really tie it all in to make it an experience worth purchasing..