Indie Spotlight: The Kerbal Space Program

Today we’ll be talking about something a bit different in gaming; dev team Squad’s Kerbal Space Program. Now simulator games may seem very niche, but in this case we’re talking a space simulation game supported by both NASA and the European Space Agency in which you launch missions to send goofy little people called Kerbals into orbit, space, other planets, or crashing to their deaths.

Upon first release this game had a bit of a rough start with a very steep learning curve. Since then patches and free DLC have been released that now include some insightful tutorials and tips on how to play. The idea of the game is to create a rocket, probe, or aircraft and pilot it to its intended destination depending on where you’re planning to go. There are three modes of play that vary in difficulty in the game. These modes are Sandbox, Science, and Career mode.

Image taken from the official Kerbal Space Program website

After the tutorial, Sandbox mode may be recommended to play around with the concept of building a rocket or aircraft and getting used to the controls and physics of the game. Afterward, science mode is a great start for new players as it gives you goals without any cost to failure. The idea behind Science mode is that you start with basic parts and capabilities and must gain science points to unlock more. Science points are gained by having your Kerbals investigate different areas of the solar system. These areas mean other planets, deep space, orbit, natural satellites, different atmospheric levels, and even the Kerbal home planet (an easy one to miss in a game about exploring space.) The last mode is Career mode, in which you now have repercussions for failure which can be somewhat overwhelming for a new player. Just like Science mode, this mode requires you to get science points to unlock more technology, but it also gives you access to contract missions which upon completion gain you credits which are used to buy the parts to your rockets as well as upgrade your facilities. On top of that, success and failure to complete contracts affects your reputation which controls what kinds of contracts you’ll be offered, how difficult they’ll be, and how much they’ll be worth.

Image taken from the official Kerbal Space Program webstie

The controls and physics of the game will definitely take a while to get used to, but it’s incredibly satisfying to complete a mission or your own self made goals. The first big milestone is being able to land on the moon (or Mun in this case), but I’d recommend getting used to getting a rocket into orbit first and possibly creating some aircraft as well to gain science from the different atmospheric levels. As usual, you can click the link below to buy the game from Humble Bundle where a portion of your payment will go to charity and another portion will support me. And be on the lookout as Kerbal Space Program 2 has been announced for next year!

2 comments

  1. At this point in time , would it be better to buy this game (came out in 2011) or wait for the second one to come out? You’d be getting 2011 graphics for the same price , or you could just wait a little while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re willing to wait for the release I’d say go for it! The sequel is supposedly going to be bringing in planet colonization, travel to other solar systems, launches from orbit, and a multi-player mode which all sounds pretty worthwhile to me!

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