A survival fan with thousands of hours on survival games and still a desire to chop trees.
Survival in Icarus
The concept of food and hunger is straightforward for any survival fan. In fact, many gamers would have dealt with these mechanics before. Icarus does not present any new or unique twist to the idea apart from adding oxygen to the mix. You'll simply need to secure food, water, and oxygen for yourself to survive. This may require hunting, gathering, mining, farming, or tools and technology learned along the way.
Everyone Needs to Breath
In Icarus, you need oxygen as the premise is you're surviving on a failed terraformed planet and the air is unbreathable. However, it's fairly easy to get oxygen in the game. You simply need to find Oxite, a blue mineral that can be found in small pick ups or in mineable nodes. At its simplest, you can consume Oxite directly from your inventory to give yourself oxygen. You can also place it into the oxygen slot of your envirsuit where it will be consumed slowly.
However, as you progress in the game, you have more convenient options for supplying yourself with oxygen.
A tier 1 blueprint, you can craft and place an oxidizer in your base and load it up with Oxite. It will slowly fill a balloon of oxygen that you can simply press F while highlighting to consume. It will not over consume oxygen, you will simply get what you need. It's more efficient than consuming raw Oxite and quite convenient to have placed near a door in your base for quick top ups.
A tier 2 blueprint, this takes things to a new level. After crafting and placing a dissolver, you can put an oxygen bladder, oxite, and sulfur into the machine. It will consume the oxite and fill an oxygen bladder, which you can take with you on your trips. It can hold a significant amount of oxygen (approximately two full refills), so it's great for long trips or simply easy living.
There are more oxygen devices higher in the tech trees, but as of the time of this writing they are yet to be released.
As expected, you'll need to find food to eat very quickly after beginning your prospect. The quickest and easiest way is to find berries in the wild. These berries will give you small amounts of food and water to get you through. Next you can kill animals, but you'll need a knife to skin them unless you're killing a fish, which for some reason skins itself. However, you'll need to cook meat to get some animals.
Cooking meat requires at least a campfire. Simply place some wood and the meat in the campfire, activate it, and it will cook. Take note, unless deactivated, the campfire will continue burning even with no meat. Also, as a cautionary tale, you can set yourself on fire by stepping on a campfire and spread that fire to your base. While meat fortunately does not burn and can sit in the campfire as long as necessary, most food in the game does spoil over time and can become rotten. A stack of meat will spoil one count at a time, creating a new stack of spoiled meat, so it's ideal to keep all your cooked meat in a single stack or multiple stacks will spoil simultaneously. Spoiled meat can be burned for charcoal or eventually turned into poison arrows.
Additionally, food can provide temporary buffs. For example, meats and fish will increase your maximum health, health regeneration, and stamina. In fact, if you eat both of them, those buffs stack. So be mindful of the types of food buffs you can accumulate and stack. The game appears to allow 3 types of foods so in the early game you can meaningfully increase your stats by eating a berry, cooked meat, and a fish. If you are a little further along, you can make some bread.
Keeping Your Belly Full
In addition to oxygen and food, you'll need to hydrate as well. Fortunately, there may be fresh water sources on the map. If there is a lake or river, you simply need to go to the water, point at it, and hit F to drink. However, if there is no fresh water source, things may get trickier. Some foods can provide water, such as berries or a sponge found underwater. Otherwise, you'll need to reach the tier 2 tech tree to unlock and craft a rain reservoir. Crafting one of these and placing it outside will accumulate a ton of water during a storm. However, it also appears to accumulate small amounts of water even when it's not raining, so you can keep up with your hydration. Simply look at it and press F to drink.
Currently water does not provide any additional buffs when you drink it, but it will cool your character down if you are getting too hot.
The addition of oxygen to the survival concepts of food and water doesn't seem to add a ton of value, but it also doesn't end up being too obnoxious to manage. The game feels balanced in terms of the amount of focus spent on sustenance; at least in the starting areas, access to oxygen, food, and water is quite high. As more difficult areas are added to the game, it will be interesting to see how each of these components can add challenge to the experience.