Those of you with a passing interest in Steampunk related games will undoubtedly have come across Guns of Icarus Online the steampunk themed multiplayer game of airship combat.
Guns of Icarus Alliance takes the initial team based combat and moves it from its PvP origins to PvE co-op play. Now rather than the combat between player controlled Dirigibles, the players all work together towards a common goal against a computer controlled adversary.
And speaking of those Dirigibles that’s where it gets interesting, each is manned by a crew of four players including the captain. Game play consist of the Captain steering the vessel, while the other crewmen man the guns and attempt to maintain the various parts of the ship as they become damaged.
Alliance brings into play a persistent battlefield, where each of your battles counts towards advancement for your particular faction on a world map. As you play you earn points which you can also assign to battles to increase your factions advancement.
It terms of actual game player it can become quite a frantic and unforgiving affair as shown in the video below. Damage quickly escalates and if ignored can quickly bring down the ship along with all those on-board. Team-play is essential to keep the ship afloat.
So is it worth getting?
With Steam the only score that counts is have you asked for a refund. While it’s not a perfect game, in this case I haven’t. There’s potential there and when it works it’s really engaging.
As to the shortcomings, personally I’d like to see more interaction and backstory being driven on the persistent world side. There’s a rich backdrop to the game which I can’t help but feel is not getting fulled realised, I’m hoping that will come.
The other issue is length of time it can take to get a game running. The player count is not that large so getting the necessary numbers can take a while for a game to start. It also doesn’t help that no-one wants to do captain (guilty as charged myself).
But that said Alliance due to its co-operative nature and use of computer controlled opponents doesn’t suffer from this as much as the PvP side of the game does, so it’s not a deal breaker.
And for those of you with a more steampunk literary bent allow me to also recommend “The Aeronauts Windlass” by Jim Butcher. It’s the first book in a new series set also in a steampunk environment featuring airship combat between various noble families.