Beginner’s Guide to ICARUS

Pleasure to finally meet you, prospector. Perhaps you have stumbled upon this manual after experiencing some… unexpected troubles during your first weeks on Icarus. Or, maybe you are erring on the side of caution, wisely studying ahead of the dangerous venture. Regardless, this guide will have some helpful advice to offer. Contractors such as you venture into the hostile environment bare-handed, faced with the planet’s challenging environment and their own human limitations, eager to get their hand on the first batch of the exotics.

However, your survival comes first. You need oxygen, food, water, shelter, and a set of tools that are essential to obtain all of the above. Icarus has little patience for the inexperienced, so we should not waste any more time.

Oh, and prospector… good luck out there.

You just landed in your pod with nothing but two tool schematics. Sun is high, you are getting thirsty, your oxygen meter is slowly depleting, and the first storm will be rolling in sooner rather than later. What do you do?

beginners guide icarus first things to do after landing
Great way to get started on experience: chop trees and mine everything.
If you see rabbits, run after them with a pickaxe, too. (Sure, a knife is more efficient, but this is more fun.)

Once you land you need to supply yourself with first-order tools, take care of your basic needs, figure out your first shelter, and start gathering higher-level materials. Your primary goal is to level up and protect the resources you gather against storms and your own mortality.

icarus icon player symbol yellow Check whether there are any bodies of water nearby (a stream or a lake, for example). If there are, note the location on your map. You will need it to replenish your thirst once the meter runs low.

  • If you can’t find anything close by, note that you will need to search for water or locate a cave in order to hydrate yourself soon. For now, you should gather and consume berries to slow the decay of your thirst meter.
  • Don’t worry about catching Dysentery disease from water: for now, it will be a normal occurrence. Consume food before you drink.

icarus icon no recipeOne looming threat for a low-level character is getting stuck in the death loop. Every time you die you accrue an experience point debt. By the time you repay that debt, you die again, resetting your progress.

So, how do you stop dying in ICARUS? You might find your issue resolved if you follow this guide. Still, there are a few mistakes you should watch out for in particular:

  • Do not waste your Tech Points on what you don’t need. You don’t need an oxidizer: you can consume oxite ore as is;
  • Stay near your landing site and build your shelter near a water source;
  • Create a plan for taking care of your needs and a method for quick leveling, or follow ours in this guide!

icarus icon player symbol yellow Now, start picking up rocks and sticks from the ground. Your very first tools to craft are Stone Axe and Stone Pickaxe, requiring 2 Fiber, 4 Stick, and 8 Stone each. Begin mining stone, but focus on chopping down trees for faster leveling per time invested.

  • It’s a good idea to unlock and craft a Stone Knife soon after to complete your basic set and prepare for hunting.
  • A Campfire will help you process meat, and if you can’t see well at night you should definitely unlock a Wood Rag Torch (or try messing with your brightness settings).
  • You can unlock the Small Wood Crate to free up your inventory and protect your efforts if you are playing solo and happen to die accidentally. You can use a Bedroll to set your respawn point and skip through the night, earning you a Well Rested buff.

Repairing broken tools: right-click on a tool either inside your quick access panel or inside your inventory and select “Repair.” Repair costs are very cheap: you don’t need to wait for a tool to break before you repair it. Still, you will spend your resources more efficiently if you let the duration run low.

beginners guide icarus how to use consume oxite to restore oxygen

icarus icon player symbol yellow Pick up some blue rocks and find a light blue ore node of oxite nearby. Mine the ore node until you have a stack of 50 or so.

  • Once you are done, place the stack into the slot next to oxygen inside your inventory for automatic consumption. At any time you can also right-click oxite and select “consume stack.”
  • An Oxidizer provides a way to get a lot more out of your oxite ore, but is not necessary early into your leveling efforts.

icarus icon player symbol yellow There are four methods suitable for gathering food on lower levels:

  1. The safest and easiest approach is gathering berries. However, you will need to harvest a lot of berry bushes to replenish your hunger, so this method is impractical in the long run.
  2. Diving into a nearby lake and attacking fish will with a knife or arrows (or axe or pickaxe, for that matter) will supply some fish meat to cook. Beware of poisonous species. Once you’ve got a bow, it’s much easier to hunt fish with arrows.
  3. If you haven’t unlocked the bow, chasing slower rabbits and taking them down with a knife will produce a corpse you can skin for leather, bone, and some raw meat.
  4. You should unlock a Wood Bow and Stone Arrows ASAP. When crouched, you can one-shot any prey animals from stealth if you hit them in the head. Then, skin them for their meat and other materials — you’ll need to craft a stone knife to do so.

Processing the carcass: Dead raccoons and deers need to be skinned to gather their resources. Make sure to have a knife equipped and hold the [F] key to skin the carcass. Skinning animals will yield a skeleton that you should mine for bone using your pickaxe.

For now it will be safer to stick to your starting area until you have better tools and weapons. We will discuss venturing deeper into the forest under Hunting Deer and Predators later in this guide.

Your inventory is getting full. Clouds are rolling in. Soon the weather will turn, and it’s never a good idea to gamble on the severity of the next storm. You need to shelter yourself, stash the resources you have managed to obtain, and protect your most precious tools. While your own life may be expendable, the progress you make is not.

beginners guide icarus repairing house damage after storm
Repair Hammer is a cheap and easy way to maintain your home against storm damage. Remember to keep a Fire Whacker handy in case lightning strikes your house.

It will not take long before the first storm. Light rain isn’t likely to cause you any harm aside from temporary slower speed and experience gain, but you should not count on weather staying mild.

Your first shelter will be a way to not only protect yourself but empty out your inventory, set your workbenches, and create a respawn point. The kind of shelter you should put together depends on your progress so far.

(If you would like to speed up your leveling process, you should check out our guide on this topic.)

icarus icon no recipePlaying ICARUS co-op with a friend or a few is a great way to allocate responsibilities by specializing in different talents and technology.

It’s also a great way to preserve your experience progress and items, since there is no penalty for dying when a companion revives you.

However, keep in mind that even a higher-level companion could end up dead trying to rescue you. Always prepare for the worst to come out on top.

icarus icon player symbol yellow Don’t be afraid to unlock the full thatch building set if you did not reach level 5 yet. Stone construction that you will unlock on Tier 2 will easily out-do any wood shelter you may put together right now. However, if you made significant progress in leveling, picking wood is a wise choice. Wood is a quick resource to gather and requires less repairs against harsh weather.

Basic construction: to produce a very basic sheltered space, unlock the floor and wall blueprints — you can use the floor piece as a ceiling as well — and the door blueprint. Start by placing down the floor and snap other elements to it. To place a door, remember that you can access the wall variant with the door frame by holding “R”. Press “Y” to deconstruct and recover a construction element.

Don’t worry if you are taking a little more time gaining levels and do not have any leftover blueprint points. Worst comes to worst, finding a large rock node is not too hard. If there is a storm warning or you need to evade a predator, simply find a rock that’s taller than you and mine a hole into it that’s big enough to form an entrance.

A more permanent solution is finding a cave. There is enough space inside even a small cave for setting storage, workstations, and a bed to set a respawn point. Even if you build your own house as your first shelter, you will eventually want to discover some nearby caves to gather valuable ore.

Many caves are hidden in a way that makes them blend in with their surroundings, so if you need help finding your first cave we have a guide that will walk you through the process.

Your hard work has earned you much-needed tools and improved your survival skills. Your careful planning has earned you a warm corner where you can hide from the storm and rest through the night. Now that your basic needs are met, you are ready to venture deeper into the forest and obtain rarer materials.

Earlier, in our section on food, we covered the easiest pray you can catch early on: fish, rabbits, and deer/chamois. All of this hunting can be done near your landing zone, where you are unlikely to encounter any predators. However, you will eventually want to undertake riskier expeditions deeper into the forest to improve your yields and gain better experience.

beginners guide icarus hunting for leather and food
Hunting gets you good experience, supplies leather and bones for crafting, and provides raw meat for cooking.

We will not have a discussion over spears, knives, or bows in this guide, but here’s a quick summary: there is a Combat section under Talents you should definitely explore. It’s a good idea to at least start unlocking talents corresponding to your favorite weapon type — for your own protection. Specializing in stealth is also a sound approach.

icarus icon player symbol yellow Before venturing further away from your landing site, unlock either a Bone Spear, Bone Knife, or Wood Bow and Bone Arrows.

Give a fair try to spears, knives, and bows to determine your favorite approach to hunting. Explore the Combat section under Talents, and consider unlocking talents corresponding to your preferred weapon type. Specializing in stealth is also a sound approach.

Check out our guide on How to Level Up Fast for some tips on how to make hunting a more safe and reliable source of early experience.

Dealing with bears: the further you venture into the forest, the higher is the risk of you encountering a bear. Bears are fearsome beasts that can take you down with little effort and dealing with them is a technique of its own.

icarus icon no recipeLanding the first hit on your opponent can be critical to the outcome of the battle. With predators like wolves, you should try and deal as much damage as possible before the animal’s first strike.

Strategies like these are important to preserving your health points (health points restore slowly or stop restoring altogether if you gain a wound debuff).

Basic Bandage is highly recommended when facing wolves, and Suture Kit will be important when you are ready to fight against bears. These counteract the two grades of nasty wound debuffs.

icarus icon player symbol yellow We already discussed how to find and how to use caves as basic shelter. However, you will also want to look for caves to find rare ore nodes. Ores like iron, copper, gold, platinum, aluminium, and titanium are pretty much exclusive to caves (and some you can only find inside higher-tier caves).

beginners guide icarus finding a cave for shelter
The downside of spending a lot of time inside caves is a chance of catching pneumonia.

You will definitely want to stockpile some iron for advanced workbenches and better tools (and eventually stone construction), so it makes sense to prepare ahead of time. Mining rare ores provides higher experience points per hit than mining stone, so starting early will definitely not be a waste of time.

Once you reach Tier 2 and can smelt iron ore into ingots, a variety of upgraded basic tools will be available for you to craft (on an Anvil Bench that requires a few iron ingots to craft). Iron ore will also play a big part in crafting upgraded melee and ranged weapons.

The fastest methods for gaining experience in ICARUS vary depending on your level, goals, and specialization. When it comes to leveling from level 1 to level 15 or so, we have a few recommendations that make more sense when considering what tools you might have at your disposal.

Check out the link below to our full guide on this topic!

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Mila Grish
Mila Grish

Dedicated contributor at EIP Gaming and a part-time collector of books she will never have time to actually read. Jumps on the newest releases just as quickly as on the uncovered dusty collections from the basement. For her, shiny graphics can never be an excuse to not have a polished player experience or an immersive story.

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Cesar Cisneros
Cesar Cisneros
2 years ago

Sleep in bed to get pass the night, oh you need shelter, you cannot build shelter unless you spend your tech points on everything you need to build a home… You will have to awkwardly wait the nights out in pitch black darkness for the day to try and level up. By the time you have enough tech points to build a house, you should be well into level 5. Oh you needed tech points to build tools to hunt? So now you think you’re a hunter? Make sure you have about 15 arrows to kill a deer, or at least 3 head shots to kill one. Good luck shooting a moving target you cannot catch up to. Better luick waiting for a deer to get stuch on a rock or something and run up to it and wack it 15 times with an axe.Trying to enjoy this game is hard… I am sure if I get to level 15, it will start to pick up…. but the beginning feels so slow and forced.

Reply to  Cesar Cisneros
2 years ago

Hey Cesar, sorry to hear the game’s been frustrating. Here are a few things I think could help you:

If you’re crouched (stealthed), you can kill all the animals in the forest besides bears in 1 shot, you just have to hit them in the head. It’s best to do this while they aren’t moving, but you can lead your shots and it shouldn’t be too difficult. Never waste time chasing animals; kill them with a headshot from stealth with your bow, or don’t bother.

You don’t have to awkwardly wait out the nights in pitch darkness — learn how to craft the torch, and you can light one, then drop it on the ground and continue working (but make sure you don’t drop it in bushes or you’ll start a forest fire).

Reply to  Cesar Cisneros
2 years ago

This game’s beauty is the awesome realism of almost everything you’re experiencing.
In real life you can’t kill a deer in the woods with a crude bow unless you are a very skillful hunter. You must learn and improvise.
I’m killing them with a great satisfaction of the achievement!

3 months ago

Now I need a guide for the second part between “surviving the first night” and “you’re crafting electronics now”. Eveyr guide on the internet its either the first basics and then jumps to the endgame lol.