A survival fan with thousands of hours on survival games and still a desire to chop trees.
Guns in Icarus
You rely on primitive weapons such as knives, spears, and bows in the early parts of Icarus, but eventually you'll unlock guns. While expensive, they are powerful and essential to deal with higher threat enemies. For example, it can be incredibly challenging to deal with polar bears without guns, making the snow biome much less accessible. Once obtained, guns can make your life a lot easier, or take you to deeper parts of the game. To reach them, you'll need to progress significantly down the tech tree and get a lot of required materials to make the guns and bullets.
Unlocking the Guns
The first set of guns, the pistol, shotgun, and bolt action rifle, become available in the tier 3 tech tree. However, while tier 3 unlocks at level 20, these guns themselves only unlock at level 25. Fortunately, they otherwise do not have prerequisites besides the machining bench required for tier 3.
The 4th gun, the hunting rifle, is available in the tier 4 tech tree. Similar to the first 3, it has no prerequisites besides the tier 4 fabricator, but it is immediately available at level 30 along with the unlock of tier 4.
Tech Tree Screenshots
Guns are very expensive, and while they do outperform bows, you pay a premium. Primarily you will need a ton of iron in order to get your hands on a gun and the ammo to fire it.
The tier 3 weapons require:
- Steel Ingots
- Steel Screws
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Every tier 3 weapon requires those ingredients, just more or less of them. For example the bolt is the most expensive costing 40 steel ingots while the pistol only costs 20. The steel ingredients are the prohibitive ones as the others are easy to access or only in small quantities. In order to get 40 steel ingots, you will need 240 iron ore and 40 coal. This is no small feat, you may need to clear a small cave or 2 of iron nodes simply to craft 1 gun, ignoring the prerequisites and ammo.
The tier 4 hunting rifle requires:
- Titanium Ingots
- Steel Screws
Similar to the tier 3 weapons except you will need 40 titanium ingots, equal to 80 titanium ore. Again, it may take a few caves to get this much titanium. Plus, of course, the fabricator just to craft it also has an expensive material list, most notably a high amount of electronics requiring copper, epoxy, organic resin, and gold. Between the titanium and the electronics it can take quite a while to reach the hunting rifle.
The bullets cost 1 iron ingot and 1 gunpowder (crafted from charcoal and sulfur) to make a single bullet for the rifles and the pistol. Additionally, you can also unlock incendiary ammo costing 10 gunpowder instead of 1. So you can easily be firing away another small cave worth of iron in a short amount of time and use up quite a bit of sulfur. Buckshot for the shotgun is even more expensive, requiring 6 gunpowder, 1 epoxy, and 1 copper. In short, bullets aren't cheap!
Firing the Guns
Shooting the guns is as straightforward as you may expect. Simply load em up, point, and click. You can aim down sights with right click. The iron sights on these crude weapons may not be as easy to use as guns in other shooters, but the high damage output and ease of aiming certainly outperforms using a bow. The reload times aren't favorable, so between slow reloading and high cost of ammo, it's important to hit critical shots on enemies. You'll also notice that long range shots won't show your damage output as it doesn't seem to render after a certain distance.
All that being said, they are probably best if kept for emergency situations or higher threat enemies such as bears, polar bears, or various bosses. Even then, a gun still may not be enough, especially as a solo player a polar bear is still likely to kill you if you don't land critical hits.
Powerful and costly, guns in Icarus are an essential end game tool. I personally find them less enjoyable than bows. I instinctively want to compare the shooting experience to guns in other games which leaves them feel lacking despite their meaningful impact in this specific game. The high cost of ammo and crafting costs with respect to the quantity of iron ore needed is very prohibitive without some specialized talents. However, it does add to the feeling of weight and consequence in the experience, so overall, the guns feel just about right.