Survival game Icarus had a bumpy launch but a huge weekend

Icarus spaceman looking at crashed ship
(Image credit: RocketWerkz)

Survival game Icarus launched on Friday and was gobbled up by survival fans, quickly climbing the Steam charts and drawing over 50,000 concurrent players on Sunday. It wasn't all smooth sailing, though: Icarus currently has a 'Mixed' review score on Steam, and many of the complaints revolve around performance issues, optimization problems, crashes, and bugs. 

There were also two server outages that knocked the game offline for short periods over the weekend, and developer RocketWerkz pushed out three separate hotfixes between Friday and Sunday to address a number of other smaller issues.

"These updates can disrupt your time playing the game but they are critical for us to quickly improve the game for you," RocketWerkz founder Dean Hall posted on the Icarus Steam page, where he said daily hotfixes will continue this week. "Due to the high intensity of this update cadence, we will be focusing these updates on performance optimizations, connectivity and mission fixes."

I personally didn't experience great performance with Icarus this weekend, and had to set just about everything to medium despite my RTX 2080 and 16GB RAM. Even still I occasionally got fps dips down into the 30s when trees were on fire, and I got some late pop-in for certain foliage textures. But I didn't experience any crashes or notice much in the way of bugs (except for occasional wonky physics when trees fell over and some goofy animal animations) and most of the time I was getting a solid 60 fps.

It also sounds like some players have already completed all of the 35 missions that make up the first chapter of Icarus. "We will release new missions for this weekend for players who have already worked their way through Icarus," Hall wrote. "You’ve given us vital feedback about the existing missions and we’ll apply this to the new mission challenges when you return."

I'm kinda surprised to hear players are already wrapping up the available missions, because I played for about 10 hours this weekend and only completed a couple of early missions, though I was playing solo. I imagine if people played in a group (up to eight are supported in co-op) all the gathering and crafting can be accomplished much more quickly. Also, co-op groups can revive each other if someone goes down while solo players have to play a bit more cautiously. But it still seems like a lot of missions to knock out in a couple days!

For those experiencing crashes when launching the game, RocketWerkz advises verifying your local files on Steam and restarting. "A number of players are reporting Steam did not correctly apply the updates, causing their game to crash. Please note we have no control over how Steam applies updates. We have reached out to Valve about the issue."

It's also worth noting that some players didn't report performance issues at all and found Icarus to be a smooth experience. 

"While some users were able to play the game just fine, we were disappointed with the performance problems that affected a portion of our customers," Hall wrote. "We quickly focused on putting as much resources as we could over the weekend to solve these issues immediately - and we apologize unreservedly to those who couldn’t enjoy the launch weekend. Our team is working hard, based on the bug feedback you supply, to get everyone in and prospecting on Icarus."

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

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.