Kerbal Space Program review

  • 10/02/2014

By Cam Nealie

In Kerbal Space Program your mission is to liberate brave little Kerbals from their earthly shackles and let them soar through space with the other heavenly bodies.

This is no small task.

Don't be fooled by the cartoon veneer - Kerbal Space Program is as tough as it is unforgiving. It's best not to get too attached to your Kerbalnauts, as you'll be killing them in the thousands.

When designing your ships, it doesn't take long to realise that there are plenty of ways, and plenty of things you can strap onto your ship to make that bad boy fly. You can spend hours building crazy designs and trying them out before you even attempt a moon (or 'mun' as it's spelt here) landing. But when you do, the endorphin payoff when you finally touch down is extraordinary. 

The name of the game is physics, and if you want to go up, you'll need more rockets. More rockets means more fuel, which means more weight, which usually ends up meaning more rockets. Things can get out of hand pretty fast.

Perhaps you'd rather save on weight and sent up a robot, or maybe just keep things close to home and work on something with wings. There's a lot of depth to the gameplay and a lot of things you can play with.

The Kerbal universe borrows heavily from our own, and once you're out there, it really gives you a sense of the vast emptiness of space.

Kerbal Space Program walks the fine line between game and toy - it's ultimately a universe-sized sandbox for you to play in. The goals you set are your own, and that makes the satisfaction of achieving them that much more exciting.

The more recent 'career mode' is a welcome addition and serves more as a tutorial to the many different spaceship components, but it won't be long until you get sucked back into the creative primordial ooze of the game's sandbox mode.

Kerbal Space Program also happens to be stunningly beautiful. A lot of effort has gone into the lighting effects, and discarding the used shells of fuel tanks and watching them spin off into some neglected orbit or fall back into the atmosphere to be burned up is a truly cathartic experience.

This game isn't for everyone, I'm sure. It speaks equally to the engineers and stargazers among us. There's a free demo available on their website - though be warned, Kerbal Space Program is a long, long term investment.

Five stars.

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     Kerbal Space Program  
:: Publisher: Squad
:: Developer: Squad
:: Format: PC, Mac, Linux
:: Rating: G

source: newshub archive