Hidden Gems of the Gaming World: – Kerbal Space Program Review

You there! Yes you, the one who’s reading this right now! Are you a major fan of space? Do you enjoy the vast emptiness of the cosmos? Or is it the almost absolute-zero temperatures and being surrounded by death whilst in a tiny tin can that captures your imagination? If you said yes to any of these, then you may find that the Kerbal Space Program is a game just for you!

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Sometimes your rocket can spontaneously combust on the launch pad if it’s not well designed.

What is the Kerbal Space Program?  KSP is an in-development indie space simulation game where you get to plan out space missions, design your rockets and navigate them (that’s if they get into space first) to their destination or orbit. There is an unlimited amount of things you can do on this game. For example, you can send off probes into deep space, land people on the nearby moons or planets, build space stations, send rovers to explore new worlds or just muck about with how many boosters you can try and fit on a rocket.

There are two main modes of vehicle design; Rocket and Spaceplane. Rockets are designed for getting into space quicker and easier, however they’re big and bulky and have many stages to go through until they’re in orbit. Spaceplanes however can enter space, albeit very difficultly and they rarely get into ‘true space’ (outside the planets atmosphere) due to their air-injected engines and insufficient rocket fuel capacity. However unlike the rocket, spaceplanes are single stage.

Because this game is still in development, you can easily spot one or two gaps in graphics and modeling. There is no weather, no civilisation (apart from the space centre), minimal textures on planet surfaces and little to no textures on some of the space centre buildings.

However all of that isn’t exactly important. The physics on this game is excellent. When building rockets, you need to constantly think about weight, thrust and stability in order to build a perfect rocket. Gravity works very realistically in space, therefore allowing you to make moonshots and so on.

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A large space station that took nine missions to construct.

Another good pointer is that this game has a very wide community. Lots of people share their designs, upload videos on Youtube and even create mods. One of the most notable features of this game is it’s vast range of avaliable mods, some improve gameplay by adding extra effects or features whilst other add more components.

Although this game is still in development, it was originally released in the middle of 2011. Squad, the developer and publisher of the game is a small independent games company (or more of a group really) that has had no backing from any publisher. It is also said that  KSP only gains in popularity through word of mouth. (However due to the increasing amount of Youtube videos of the game being uploaded, more and more people are discovering it for themselves.) So in a way, when it comes to buying the game (it’s $23 or £15) you know that every penny of the purchase actually goes to the developers…and that’s good!

I’ve been playing it non-stop for the past three days, (well, not literally non-stop) and I’m hooked. It was an excellent recommendation from a friend of mine, and I recommend it to you!

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