Kerbal Space Program Review

Game Information

Genre: 

Space, Simulation, Sandbox

Price: 

$39.99

Released: 

April 27th, 2015

Reviewed On: 

21" iMac. OS X 10.11, 2.7 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6770 512 MB

There are few space travel games as in depth as Kerbal Space Program (KSP) and far fewer that will run happily on a Mac. Luckily for us space enthusiasts, KSP exists.

I first found out about this game through Twitch, I liked the look of it and decided to buy it. My first impressions of the game could be paraphrased as “why is this game so difficult?”.

Of course, it’s not all that difficult once you start to understand how the game works. KSP certainly has a steep learning curve, but nothing watching a few Twitch streamers or YouTube tutorials won’t put right. Plus KSP has a very in depth Wiki if you get stuck.

The basic gameplay premise is to create and run a successful space program. To do that you must accept contracts(missions), upon completing a contract will be awarded funds and a small reputation boost.

If money management is not your thing, KSP has still got you covered. Science mode allows you to play the game without the budget while still offering some sense of progression through science. Earn science by performing experiments and then use your science to unlock new and exciting rocket parts.

If you just want to build and fly without restrictions, KSP even has a sandbox mode which is a great way to learn the basics of space travel.

My first mission to Kerbins Moon (The Mun) took me ages to complete, the first few attempts I completely missed and got stuck in an orbit around the Sun (I hope they packed enough snacks). After about 3 hours of trying and failing, I finally managed to sacrifice two kerbals to the Mun. Mission accomplished...sort of.

Once you understand the basics of KSP you can begin to see how educational it is, it’s even being used in schools to teach science and has since become popular enough that they have now released a remixed version specifically for schools called KerbalEdu.

The only significant element I feel is lacking is the sense of a story, there is a strong sense of progression in the game already, but it would be good to see some story mode added. It would also be a nice touch if the devs added some more building to the home planet in a future update.

I have found that the keyboard controls can take some getting used to given the sheer number of commands. However it’s not game breaking in any way and if you want to simplify the controls you could always use a joystick.

Kerbal Space Program's graphics are far from the top of the line, but its cartoonish art style certainly works in its favor. Plus for those of you that love fancy graphics there is a great selection of community supported mods available including graphical overhauls. While the sound fx is not necessarily the best, the background music compliments the game to make it feel that bit more alive.

All in all, developer SQUAD has produced a fantastic and diverse space game that is sure to keep you amused and confused (seriously why won't this rocket design work?) for hours. Don’t believe me? Try the Demo. So get ready to explore the Kerbol system and fail spectacularly.

Kerbal Space Program was reviewed using a copy from the writers library. Read more on MacGameCast's review and ethics policy here.

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