Review: Kerbal Space Program

Have you ever seen the Lego Movie? I ask as the moment I picked this game up back in 2013, my thoughts echoed that of the blue Lego Spaceman. SPACESHIP!!!!!

Kerbal Space Program was an early access game which first publicly released in June 2011 by Squad as a small little game where you built a rocket and fired little green Kerbal’s into the depths of the black oblivion that is space. Or if you’re me, you build the rocket that allows them to closely examine the ground. I’m an Astronaut murderer okay, deal with it.

I missed the early of this games development only picking it up at its 0.18 release candidate in February 2013. However this was great as I could build rockets which would carry parts to create an orbiting space station which would then be supplied by space planes bringing crew or the occasional extra fuel tank. I genuinely felt like I was managing NASA, as I had to plan my maneuvers, make sure I had enough fuel to reach my target whether it be a planet or station, and time everything to perfection. Even building the space craft required planning, when do I want those engines to fire? Do I need a parachute? Have I over strutted this thing? That last question is always answered with a no much like the question of whether I have enough boosters. Not only did I have a huge amount of rocket parts to choose from in the stock game, the community surrounding this game created mods that added even more! Some of these were even incorporated into the final 1.0 version we see today such as Spaceplane+ and a resource system designed by the maker of the Karbonite mod.  These mods and others have allowed the community to create crazy contraptions like mechs or replicate real and sci-fi aircraft and rockets. It is the creative aspect of this game that allows it to hold its audience, if you want to build something Kerbal Space Program will let you. Just don’t expect the physics to play nice with your replica X-Wing.

That’s right. I said mechs! Space Transformers roll out.

The mechanics of this now finished game are wonderful. The whole game is built in the Unity engine and replicates physics to a very high standard. You have to take into consideration the impact of aerodynamics of you craft so that you can actually leave Kerbin’s atmosphere. Then there’s the danger of reentry when you want to return to the surface as your craft will heat up and if not protected, will explode into tiny pieces.

This game later added a career mode which has evolved from being simply about collecting Science (though that is now its own mode in the full game) to being about reputation and making sure you have the money to build those rockets and hire the crew to fly them. You also have contracts which can range from testing new parts under certain conditions to taking a Kerbal on an intergalactic space tour and returning them to Kerbin without turning them into a pancake or a burnt crisp. You can also collect science on other planets through actions such as crew reports or taking surface. You can even pretend to be Buzz Aldrin or Neil Armstrong and plant your flag to claim some ground fro your space agency.

I hereby claim this rock in the name of her majesty’s space empire!

One of the astonishing things about this game is that NASA actually endorses it. They even collaborated with the development team to bring in an ARM (Asteroid Redirection Mission) element into the game. Players are given huge parts and a grappling claw and tasked with preventing asteroids from colliding with the planet Kerbin. They don’t specify what exactly to do with them after you’ve stopped them, so players take things into their own hands and make huge asteroid mining colonies now possible thanks to the resource collecting mechanic or countless other possibilities demonstrated by Youtuber Danny2462.

I recommend this game purely for its sandbox element. Its amazing how you can make some of those ideas in your head come alive, and even using those ideas to complete objectives such as reaching other planets or building the most beautiful space station. With the promise of multiplayer in the future and the huge modding scene surrounding this game, Kerbal Space Program is safely one of the best games out there. So if you like space, rocketry or killing helpless Kerbals for fun, this is the game for you. Just watch out for the physics kraken!

Rating: 8/10

Available at: Steam, KSP Store, GOG.com
System Requirements:

MINIMUM:

    • OS: Windows Vista/ Mac Snow Leopard
    • Processor:Core 2 Duo
    • Memory:3 GB RAM
    • Graphics:SM3 512MB VRAM
    • Hard Drive:1 GB HD space

RECOMMENDED:

    • OS:Windows 7 or 8 64 bit/ Mac Yosemite
    • Processor:Core i5
    • Memory:4 GB RAM
    • Graphics:SM4 1GB VRAM
    • Hard Drive:2 GB HD space
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