Icarus beginner's guide: Which blueprints to unlock during your first 10 levels

(Image credit: Rocketwerkz)

The first few hours of any survival game present a real challenge. Starting with nearly nothing you've got to quickly gather resources, hunt for food, defend yourself from threats, build a base, and keep yourself fed and hydrated at the same time.

That's how it works in Icarus, too (you'll also need to acquire oxygen to breathe) but the crafting blueprint system poses a particular challenge early on. As you earn XP you'll gain levels, but blueprint points are only awarded as you level up, and you only get 3 points each time you reach a new level. It can be tricky to know which blueprints you should unlock and in what order.

We're here to help, with recommendations on which blueprints to unlock as you climb from level 1 to level 10, along with some other tips for beginners.

(Image credit: RocketWerkz)

Level 0 default unlocks

  • Stone pick
  • Stone axe
  • Wood pile
  • Rock pile

Above are your starting blueprints, which don't require points to unlock. When you land, just start grabbing every stick, stone, and bush you see. Craft your stone pick and stone axe and start chopping down trees (both for wood and XP) and mine boulders for stone. Grab enough oxite from the ground or mine oxite boulders for oxygen, and stay near a lake or river for water. Avoid animals for now—most are too fast to hunt without a bow and wolves are too dangerous to approach until you have a knife. Your tools and weapons degrade quickly, so keep spare resources on hand to repair them.

Level 1

  • Wood bow
  • Stone arrow
  • Stone knife

There's a spear on the tech tree but I personally skip it entirely: the bow and arrow is how you'll hunt at range and the knife works pretty well on wolves up close. (But try not to let them close.) When you kill something, harvest it for fur, leather, and meat with your knife and don't forget to use your pick to harvest the animal's entire skeleton, too! You're going to need lots of bone very soon. Stick to eating vegetables and berries for the moment.

Level 2

  • Campfire
  • Bedroll
  • Oxidizer

The campfire lets you cook all the meat you're harvesting (and certain vegetables). You can put oxite in your oxidizer and then fill your lungs from the machine, which is much more efficient and means less time spent mining or picking up oxite. The bedroll will become your spawn point and let you sleep through the night once your base is built or, if you're daring, you find a cave to inhabit.

Level 3

  • Wood rag torch
  • Bandage
  • Bone knife

Nighttime is probably approaching, so having a torch will be critical as nights on Icarus are dark as hell. The bone knife is a great upgrade from stone and effective for killing wolves up close. Just aim for the head. The bandage is for when you miss.

We recommend skipping the thatch building pieces—you'll be able to unlock wood building pieces at level 5, and thatch huts, while useful as shelter for a couple levels, are extremely weak and brittle. Once you're building with wood you'll never go back to using thatch. So save those blueprint points!

(Image credit: RocketWerkz)

Level 4

  • Bone arrow
  • Small wooden box
  • Wood repair hammer

By now your inventory is filling up with leather, fur, bone, wood, and other resources. Building a small box is helpful for storage. Bone arrows make hunting easier. You can't use the wooden hammer yet but it's a repair tool for when you start building at the next level. If night has fallen, spend your time carefully chopping down trees for XP. Try not to set anything on fire with the torch! Stay near a water source so you don't get too parched, or eat any berries you've collected.

Level 5

  • Wood pole
  • Wood floor
  • Wood wall

Finally, all that wood you've collected can be put to use. Start with a 3x2 or 3x3 base, using the floor pieces for a makeshift roof. Make one wall a doorway, and put down your bedroll and claim it as a spawn point. Bring your campfire, oxidizer, and storage box into your base. You can sleep through the rest of the night or keep grinding XP.

Level 6

  • Firewhacker
  • Wood roof
  • Wood door

More pieces for your base, though you may be fine to keep using the wood floor as a ceiling for the time being. Having a door is useful—wolves will sometimes run right into your base, though they'll also try to break down walls and doors to reach you. And a firewhacker is the only way to stop a wood house from burning if it catches fire, which can happen due to torch accidents or lightning storms.

Level 7

  • Water skin
  • Floor torch
  • Wood wall angled

The water skin is leaky as hell, but it's still useful on longer excursions away from your water source. You might be looking for caves to begin mining ores like iron by now, and floor torches are useful for light sources, especially so you can kill those gross cave worms. The angled wall can fill in the gap between your roof and wall to protect you from the elements.

Icarus explorers standing on planet near space pod

(Image credit: RocketWerkz)

Level 8-9

You have a small but solid base and a lot of tools at your disposal right now, and Level 10 isn't far away: That's when you'll unlock the Tier 2 tech tree, which is filled with goodies. To make the most of it, we suggest banking your blueprint points for the next couple of levels so you can dive into the next tier tree with lots of points to spend. In the meantime, keep mining ore and keep hunting. You're going to need lots of leather and iron ore when you hit Level 10.

Level 10

With 9 blueprint points stocked up, you should unlock the following useful items when you ascend to the Tier 2 tech tree:

  • Crafting bench
  • Oxite dissolver
  • Oxygen bladder
  • Rain reservoir
  • Stone furnace
  • Anvil bench
  • Iron knife
  • Iron pick
  • Longbow

The crafting bench lets you build a number of new items, like the oxite dissolver and oxygen bladder, which will change your life and ensure you barely ever have to think about running out of air again. A rain reservoir will collect water during storms so you won't run the risk of infection by drinking from ponds. The stone furnace and anvil bench will let you smelt ore and start making iron tools and weapons. And the longbow will make hunting even easier.

By this point you'll have a feel for the game and know what your priorities are in terms of future blueprint unlocks. A note for solo players, too: there are specific solo talents that let you unlock a total of 6 extra blueprint points, which will come in handy as you start working your way through Tier 2. Good luck!

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.