ICARUS is both unique and familiar. Dropped onto an alien planet after a botched terraforming job, your job is to collect rare minerals and get back to base in space before the time limit is reached. Because of its mission-based structure, you’ll have to play ICARUS in a very different way than other survival simulations — this is about getting in and getting out as efficiently as possible. You won’t want to waste your time, and with that in mind, we’ve got a mess of tips to help you wrap your head around the unique challenges of ICARUS.
While ICARUS might look like over indie survival games like Valheim, it is a very different beast. Survival is trickier than normal, even if the biomes look like regular old Earth locations such as forests, deserts, and more. You’ll need to watch your oxygen levels and stay hydrated in your space suit while fending off deadly gangs of wolves. Bears are another big problem, but the tougher enemies reward you with more XP, which can then go toward unlocking more technologies for crafting. There’s a lot to learn in ICARUS, and these are 10 quick tips we think you absolutely need to know before going on your first mission.
More ICARUS guides:
Beginner’s Guide | 10 Beginner Tips To Survive Your Starting Hours
- A Full Base Is Wasteful, Use Caves Instead: Instead of dedicating resources to building a little house, use the Pickaxe to cut yourself a small cave shelter. Do it near the entrance to avoid cave worms, and you can ride out the storms without unlocking wood construction. Construct a campfire and bedroll and make a cave your home base.
- Most of the missions do not require Iron Tool unlocks to complete. You can stick with Stone Tools to get the job done.
- Speed Is Your Most Important Skill: This is a game with a whole lot of running. Put your Talent Points into speed-related skills. Unlock speed boosts in the Survival Tree and unlock the ability to gain +20% speed with a knife equipped.
- You’ll also want to craft Cloth Armor for +5% Speed.
- Level Up With A Wooden Ramp: The bow is your best friend. Speed and accurate use of the bow are all you really need for most of Icarus. Using the bow to hunt wolves or even bears is a great way to rapidly level up early in the game. Unlock Wooden Ramps to create a simple hunting stand you can stand on top of to shoot predators from one hundred years away.
- Early game, use a Stone Knife to hunt animals and keep all the materials after skinning. Those materials will be useful for crafting the Bow and many Stone Arrows.
- Unlock Two Module Slots For Your Enviro Suit ASAP: You Enviro Suit is the only object in your inventory you’ll keep after death. Getting the early upgrades is wasteful — unlock the Enviro Suit with two module slots to give yourself a big boost.
- Unlock and construct two Mass Dampener modules. Each one gives you +5% Speed for a total of +10% Speed.
- Two Items Always Worth Buying — Water Cantine & Oxygen Tank: If you’re going to buy any items at the Workshop, buy the Water Cantine and Oxygen Tank. You can fill your Oxygen Tank from an Oxygen Station (crafted at the Workbench) and you’ll have plenty of oxygen to survive. The Water Cantine is just plain useful.
- Wooden Walls are an unlock you can get specifically for dealing with worms. Place a wall down at a cave worm spawn spot, and they won’t be able to reach you. Then you can take them all out to clear a cavern.
- How To Avoid Losing XP Or Workshop Items: There are two tricks you can use to avoid losing XP or all of your inventory workshop items after a death.
- To Keep XP After Death: Don’t respawn. Quit to Main Menu, then exit the current mission. You’ll fail the mission but keep your XP. Alternatively, you can quickly press Alt+F4 after dying to exit the game before it saves. When you restart, you’ll reappear a few moments before you died.
- To Keep Workshop Items: If items are way too far out of reach and you can’t return to your death location to pick them up, just exit the game and quit the mission. You’ll fail the mission but get all your items back.
- How To Cheese Scan Missions: On Scan Missions, you’ll attract predators. To avoid a fight, just activate the scan then immediately run out of the area. If you’re quick, the predators won’t chase you. They also won’t attack the scanner, so you can wait out the mission safely.
- Or you can build yourself a little hunting stand where predators can’t reach you. But running away is a lot easier.
- Death Is A Fast Travel Option: If you want to rapidly port back to your bedroll, just kill yourself by jumping off a high ledge. If you don’t need to drag inventory back with you, this is a viable option for rapidly returning to your starting spot.
- When you die, you will keep your Enviro Suit. So don’t worry about losing that if you’ve upgraded. You will take an XP hit, so be aware of that before suiciding.
- The Bone Sickle Is Your Friend In The Desert: The Bone Sickle isn’t just a cool weapon. You can also use it to gather more fiber in desert biomes. Using the sickle to collect fiber nets you x3 as much fiber as normal collection.
- The Bow Is The Best Weapon: As we’ve stated above, the Bow (and Stone Arrows) can be one of the best weapons in the game. Work toward unlocking the Bow after getting the Stone Knight, and you can hunt predators much more safely. A well-aimed arrow can score a critical that kills enemies in one shot.
That’s a quick 10 tips to help you get started in Icarus. I’d also recommend bringing friends on your missions — all missions can be done solo, and there’s even a unique solo skill tree you can only access when solo. Still, nothing beats a gang of coordinated friends in the field.