When you were growing up, I’m sure the ice breaker many adults used to try and have a conversation with you (that didn’t require impersonating the high pitched speaking voice of an action figure or a doll) was “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. I’m double sure that every kids’ response one had 3 choices: “Either a policeman / fireman / astronaut”.
Though life may or may not have taken you down a different road, you can rest assured that you can live out the astronaut part of your childhood wish via this exciting game, ‘Kerbal Space Program’.
Kerbal Space Program places you’re in charge of the Kerbal Space Centre on planet Kerbin. It’s currently run and operated on by creatures that look like lost descendants of the ‘Minions’ from the famed movie Despicable Me, Kerbals.
The only storyline driven aspect of this game revolves around the Career mode. In this mode, you’re still in charge of the KSC however, you’re given the occasional influx of contracts. Each contract has a specific requirement that must be attained, with the majority of which consists around building and launching space rockets. Upon each successful contract completion, you are rewarded with funds that allow you to purchase parts and upgrade existing buildings on and around your KSC.
Kerbal Space Program is a hybrid of both space and flight simulation. Therefore, most of the gameplay takes place on the previously mysterious planet, Kerbin. Like most simulation-based games, you are given the choice of various play styles: Career Mode, Science Mode and the ever-popular Sandbox Mode.
As previously noted, the story line aspect of the game is covered during the Career Mode. Various contracts are delivered to you and it’s up to you on how you build and achieve your space exploratory goals. These contracts can range from reaching a certain height (rocket launch altitude), creating a space base and landing on ‘celestial body’ aka meteors, fragmented planets etc.
Another key feature of career mode is that of ‘Reputation’. Reputation is an in-game currency granted per completion of each contract, however, is quite easily countered and declined in similar fashion. If you were to fail or decline an upcoming contract, then not only is that contract less likely to spawn again in the future but a downwards reputation also leads to poor quality contracts, resulting in less frugal rewards.
Rounding out the last lot of attainable currency in the game comes in the form of ‘Science’. Yes, you guessed it: You can’t have a space game without science! Having your Kerbal flight crew report in and perform experiments rewards you with said Science points, which is arguably the second-best part of this game! (minus the rocket experimentation and building, of course).
Science is also given its own mode (because, well, science). However, unlike the other modes, Science mode is based entirely around researching and development. Upon launch, your rocket and usable build parts are limited and therefore must be unlocked via, you guessed it, science points! Your goal for unlocking said points is to undertake varying experiments, some on Kerbin and some amongst the unknown and yet to be explored galaxy!
The controls for Kerbal Space Program do a wonderful job of making you feel as if you are sitting in the cockpit, piloting your rocket via a keyboard. WASD keys are used to help guide your newly designed rocket post-launch. Both Left Shift and Left Control increase / decrease the ignition respectively whilst F and T control your SAS (Stability Assist).
But it doesn’t just stop with the rockets, you can also control your Kerbals too! Certain contracts will ask you to land and explore with your fame d planetary green heroes. Whilst roaming the intergalactic landscape you can collect items for experiments and zip around in your EVA space suit repairing your craft (if you have damaged it upon the way).
GRAPHICS + SOUND
The graphics are done to a degree and level I’ve never before seen presented in a space / flight simulation game. All parts of the rocket, including in-game flight have obviously been meticulously researched and thus executed spectacularly in this game.
In game models of your customised craft have been rendered in astonishing detail, with the HUD (heads up display) replicating an authentic in-flight cockpit and controls experience. Most simulations do this for their respected field, but Kerbal really does go above and beyond with their level of detail here.
The soundtrack beautifully compliments both the on land and in space aspect of the game. With a choir and piano / string section angelically gliding alongside you in space, to a very patriotic main menu music greeting you upon arrival, the team at KSP have really made sure all audio aspect has been thoroughly covered
Kerbal Space Program is a fun, yet authentic approach to flight / space simulation. The Kerbals do well in keeping the game fun and light-hearted, whilst the level of detail in rocker creation and in-space exploration will keep you playing (and discovering) for hours on end!
- Amazingly detailed graphics
- Amazing eye for detail
- Additional Mods are available to download, increasing the game & replay quality
- Initial controls and creation take a bit of getting used to. Frustration guaranteed