Guns of Icarus Online is a cooperative airship combat game by Muse Games. Players form four man crews and battle against each other with steampunk airships using Gatling guns, flamethrowers, carronades and more. Deathmatch is the most common game mode though there is also King of the Hill and Crazy King.
Players can pick from one of three classes—Pilot, Gunner, and Engineer—and fly seven different ship designs. Each ship has different base stats and is capable of mounting different weapons. The Galleon, for instance, lives up to its namesake and is a slow but heavily armed ship of the line capable of delivering crushing broadsides. By contrast, the Squid is a swift and fragile skirmisher while the Junker bristles with guns but has no heavy weapons.
Unlike most shooters, players aren't personally equipped with weapons. Instead, weapons are mounted on hardpoints around the ship and have to be manned in order to fire. Each gun is destructible and only has a small firing arc, requiring coordination of the crew to be effective in combat. Because of this, the feeling of Guns of Icarus is more cooperative than competitive despite the fact that it's a combat based game.
Which brings me to the most remarkable part of Guns of Icarus: the community. I have never played a competitive game with as civil and polite a community as this. And while that's a relative comparison considering the toxic nature of most competitive gaming communities, I'm consistently impressed and heartened by the sportsmanship and friendliness of the players.
The majority of the graphics are done in the Art Nouveau style although player costumes borrow heavily from other periods. Keeping with this, the technology levels place it solidly in the World War I era, making it steampunk rather than dieselpunk. The maps are suitably expansive with cyclopean ice pinnacles, crumbling skyscrapers, and deep canyons as well as rusting wreckage from a previous age. There is also a microtransaction store which sells cosmetic items to change the appearance of your avatar or ship, but these have no impact on gameplay.
For all its good parts though, there are a few disappointments. At $15 I consider the game slightly overpriced. The guns are varied, the ship designs creative, and the world nicely fleshed out, but there's less content than I would expect. There are only a few maps, and many of them look very similar due to reuse of set pieces. The developers have also essentially ceased development of the base game, focusing instead on releasing a PS4 version and an upcoming Human vs. AI 'Adventure' expansion. Which does look quite awesome and extremely ambitious but will cost extra itself.
So if you're looking for a shooter game that is low intensity, polite, and strongly cooperative, this is for you. And if you aren't a poor twentysomething like me, $15 may not seem so overpriced. I recommend it heartily, especially if you manage to get it on sale. Besides, who doesn't want to be a sky pirate?
Guns of Icarus Website
Prologue & Lore
And don't believe the gameplay trailers: the game is much more sedate than they would lead you to believe and that's not a bad thing.