With the recent success of Minecraft and Terraria as verification, it’s clear that many gamers still have a hunger for construction. We’ve seen the recreation of worlds, as well as a fully functional computer made in Minecraft. And while its tool set isn’t quite as robust, some incredible castles have been erected in Terraria. But most everything made in these games are stationary. While immobility certainly doesn’t make these towering constructive achievements any less impressive, wouldn’t it be fun to create something that moves? Something that moves high above the clouds? Kerbal Space Program’s developer “Squad” thought so.
It turns out, building a successful space shuttle isn’t quite as easy as it might look. As soon as players enter the game’s shuttle builder, it’ll prove to be a slight bit disorienting. So many shuttle parts, so little time. Through the age-old practice of trial and error, players can learn the components needed to have a successful launch; or they can seek aid from the game’s thorough tutorial.
The sad truth is: we probably won’t be seeing Bioshock Infinite’s iconic “Columbia” recreated in Kerbal Space Program any time soon. However, what Kerbal’s construction tools do allow is pretty impressive: building space shuttles. Space shuttles or any other vehicle really. I’ve seen planes, trains, and wouldn’t you know it? Automobiles. But the game’s primarily built for ascension past the atmosphere.
And at that it preforms terrifically. Each flight (or lack thereof) is documented in painstaking detail, listing maximum Gforce as well as errors/failures in certain components of the player’s shuttle, and much more. While its technical feats are impressive, (read on for more on that) one of Kerbal’s most impressive assets is its data.
Distance traveled, time stamps labeling important events that took place during the flight (or crash). Kerbal Space Program provides all of the data pertinent to your next flight being more successful than your last… That is, if you’re willing to study it.
One of the things that may turn people off from Kerbal Space Program is its rather extreme leaning curve. But to be honest, the game wouldn’t work properly without it. The barrier over its point of entry is what makes the experience Kerbal delivers so archly satisfying. In most cases, each time your shuttle crashes, you’re guaranteed to jump over another hurdle in the way of your goal; whether that goal is breaking the atmosphere, landing on the moon, (known as “The Mun” in-game) or shooting for a planet much further away.
While the game wont be winning any graphical achievement awards any time soon, that doesn’t keep it from being technically impressive. While everything within it is covered with blurry textures, the scale of the game’s solar system is massive — and supposedly — not even a fraction of what the developers have planned for the game’s official release.
That’s quite a lot to explore
Kerbal Space Program is well worth its price of entry, and will surely entertain, and stimulate the minds of creative gamers for years to come.
We’ll update with new information and impressions as the game goes through various updates of significance.
Editor's Note: Please remember that this is NOT a review. It the author's impressions of a unfinished game.