- Developer: Squad ported by Flying Tiger
- Publisher: Squad
- Genre: Action & Adventure, Educational, Racing & Flying, Strategy & Simulation
- Release Date: 15.07.2016
- Platforms: Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC
- Game Supplied by: Xbox
If you looked at the cover to this game and thought “this looks like it’s going to be an amusing little game, I’ll fire these little fellas into outer space and have some fun!” then you’ll be in for a disappointment. This is essentially a space program simulator where you can manage everything from marketing and finances, to exactly where you want those fins placed on your solid fuel booster rocket to keep the damn thing from spinning out of control!
Unsurprisingly this is an almost direct port from PC where it’s been gathering quite a following since launch. So for us console players all the initial bugs have been ironed out and we get introduced to a nice well presented version of the game. It does have a steep learning curve, there is a tremendous amount to take in but if that’s your thing, you’re going to be a very happy munchkin because to master the game is going to take a very long time. This isn’t one you can pick up and play for 10 minutes, or even an hour, it requires some serious dedicated time set aside.
There are 3 career modes to choose from; Sandbox where you can build the rocket of your dreams without limitations! Scientific, which is similar in aspect to Sandbox except you have to research and discover new technologies or Career, which has everything thrown at you! There is no real end-game to KSP, it has an almost infinite replay value as you can just keep on building rockets, space ports etc for as long as you’re happy!
There are quite a lot of tutorials so if you’re unfamiliar with the game I would suggest going through each of them. There can be a lot of reading involved, nothing is read out so at times it can get a bit boring, yet, for me at least, it had to be done so I knew how to do some of the simplest tasks, such as when to deploy your parachute (take note, it’s not when you’re falling at 200m/s and only 1km above ground!)
Once you’ve built your rocket ship (oh, and spent the last hour fighting with the overly sensitive mouse cursor with your thumbstick trying to get your stages in the correct order!) you’re ready to launch! Woo! However if you’re like me and didn’t bother checking out the centre of gravity your rocket will fire up, then turn practically 90 degrees sideways and fly like an uncontrollable intercontinental ballistic missile straight into the ocean. One Kerbal down!
You can control the rocket yourself or enable the onboard SAS (Sickness Avoidance Scheme) and allow the Kerbal to fly the rocket him/herself. I allowed mine the joy of getting into low earth orbit before promptly faced downwards and fired all remaining fuel to see how fast I could hit the ground! Unfortunately, the Kerbal Space Program has all necessary Newtonian physics written into the game, so my ship, along with my second Kerbal, burnt to a cinder high in the atmosphere. The little Kerbals themselves can be levelled up, and each one has their own career; Pilot, Scientist, Engineer etc. When they level up they become slightly more proficient, so the pilot is less likely to die, and the scientist will help research technology faster.
The graphics have nothing to shout about, most of the textures the land and sky are very simple, most of the detail comes from the rockets which is of course what you’d spend most of your time looking at, yet the sound felt even more lacking. When I was building my ship it was very quiet, it would have been nice to hear some background noise, drilling, welding, shouting etc to make it feel like a busy area.
Kerbal Space Program is a marvel of a game, it has everything someone would want to run their own NASA. Send your Kerbals into space, land on different planets, research new technology and discover new planets. Keep track of all your different ongoings from Mission Control and expand ever further into space.
It is definitely not a game for the casual player, and if you strip the goofy looking Kerbals and sparse humour from the game its bare bones is literally a simulator.