Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition is the console release of the space flight simulation video game developed and published by Private Division.
AT A GLANCE
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam
Developers: Squad, Blitworks
Publisher: Private Division
Final Score: 9.7/10
Kerbal Space Program is an amazingly realistic and in-depth game for fans of space and simulation titles. Once you overcome the absolutely steep learning curve and learn from your own mistakes, Kerbal becomes an addictive game unlike any other.
Kerbal Space Program as its name implies revolves around space. You construct your own rockets in sandbox mode or for a specific purpose within a mission. You can’t just throw together parts, you need to have an idea of which part does what if you don’t want your invention to go up in flames.
Outside of spaceships, you can create your own rovers, shuttles, spaceplanes and pretty much anything you want as long as they follow the laws of physics.
There is an array of parts to assemble fully-functional spacecraft that you can launch to explore moons and planets in the Kerbol solar system, constructing bases and space stations.
The protagonists of this world are Kerbals – funny green humanoids inhabitants of the planet Kerbin.
Kerbal Space Program features three gameplay modes. In Science Mode, you perform space experiments to unlock new technology and advance the knowledge of Kerbalkind. In Career Mode, oversee every aspect of the space program, including construction, strategy, funding, upgrades, and more. Sandbox is most definitely my favorite mode, as it lets you build any spacecraft you can think of, with all parts and technology in the game without the need to unlock anything.
Concepts such as astrodynamics, gravitational attraction, orbital velocity or big words like perihelion, aphelion, and Delta-V might sound absolutely terrifying to beginners but when a green scientist with an abnormally large head explains to you how you can make a rocket go to space, things seem a bit less complicated.
The tutorials are well done and do a good job of explaining the basics and advanced mechanics of building vehicles and conducting space missions to beginners. You do have to be extremely patient, however, as this game deals with some very difficult topics. And while the physics system is not 100% realistic, it is still a simulation of the real world.
The main reason why Kerbal Space Program is such a fun and rewarding experience is because it pushes players to experiment. As you learn serious and difficult subjects such as space exploration trajectory, combustion, astrophysics, management, you gain knowledge. By applying this knowledge in a game that does not even hold your fingers, let alone your hands every successful action that you do is a direct result of your own hard work.
Becoming a space engineer is no joke, and even though the folks at NASA probably wouldn’t accept a thousand hours in Kerbal as proper experience. Kerbal Space Program serves to nurture the astronaut inside all of us.
There’s no shortage of content in Kerbal Space Program but if being able to run a fully-fledged space program wasn’t enough for you, there are two more expansions out right now.
Kerbal’s strongest suit is the freedom it offers. And sandbox mode is in my opinion where most of the fun lies, creating your own objectives.
Making History adds a lot of fun and flavor to the missions in KSP. It adds a variety of pre-made missions inspired by our own space exploration.
Playing around with these loosely structured missions and Kerbal’s many variables gave me a feeling of excitement. Every mission could go south any moment and it was a somber reminder that humanity too had to deal with uncertainty when doing these historical missions.
There are also tons and tons of new parts added as well as a new spacesuit.
Unfortunately, the mission maker does not make an appearance from the PC version, which is a shame because it was a big source of entertainment when I played it on Steam.
The second DLC, Breaking Ground adds in a ton of gameplay elements as well as parts for you to experiment with.
The newly added robotic parts allow you to elevate your creativity to the mun. You can now create even more complicated contraptions with moving parts and a robotic controller to manage your parts.
All of this adds more loops to an already fleshed out game. Now exploring planets have a reason behind them, as you go on an easter egg hunt with your custom robot buggy.
Also now there’s even more reason to land on planets. Scattered throughout the system. you’ll find interesting Surface Features, like mineral formations, meteors, craters, and even more curious planetary features.
The talented people at Squad have completely redesigned the controls for the console version, also implementing a new icon, accessible at any time, which lists all the commands. The controls are intuitive and surprisingly well done for a game that is infinitely complex and a PC port of a game that has way too many buttons. In fact, with time, I found the controller to be more relaxing compared to my experience with the keyboard and mouse.
Kerbal is an infinitely complex game and most of your creations will probably end up exploding within the first few minutes. But despite all this, the game still manages to be fun and goofy.
This is mostly due to the art style and visuals. Your spaceship construction hangar has fuel tanks, engines, on-board computers, scientific instruments of all shapes and sizes, each one rich in detail. Your spaceship looks magnificent when it’s done, but the moment you look at your Kerbonaut with his oversized head and huge eyes, you lose every tension you had.
And the fact is, the reason why Kerbal succeeds despite being such a tedious affair at times is partially due to the visuals. A game this complex doesn’t need realistic graphics, you don’t need state of the art destruction effects to tell your experiments failed. But looking at your cute crew looking at awe when your rocket is heading towards the Mun a few machs too fast makes it all seem worth it.
ONE SMALL STEP FOR A KERBAL, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR KERBALKIND
Kerbal Space Program isn’t a straightforward game. There are objectives, but you don’t win the game by just going from point A to B, there’s a lot of trial and error involved. The game gives you training wheels but before you know it you are riding down a highway with a unicycle. You will be stressed out, you will fail and you will love every moment of it.
The two DLC’s also add a lot of content and are a must buy if you love what Kerbal Space Program offers. Making History’s missions are an absolute blast to play with and Breaking Ground makes planet exploration a more fleshed out affair. Also, ROBOTS, you can’t go wrong with robots.
Kerbal Space Program offers an experience that no other game even comes close to giving. The goofy visuals hide an enormously satisfying experience that makes you appreciate the hard work that goes behind every space mission. The enhanced edition is a perfect port of the PC version complete that does a great job at easing console players into the world of Kerbals.