I score this Simulation game 12/10, just hit the buy button!
Kerbal Space Program is pure MAGIC! On the facade it comes across as something with the depth of Angry Birds and the looks of a crappy looking 3d rollercoaster tycoon and the unsuspecting gamer is easily fooled. However, there is a reason this is one of the most played games on steam! There's a reason I'm scoring this game 12 out of 10.
Kerbal Space Program is hard to define. But it's a space program simulator. You set out your own missions (like fly somewhere, like the moon or another planet) and everything that goes with it. Designing the vehicle (the lander, the rover, whatever), designing the means to get it there (ie a rocket) and you have to get there. There are no concessions, you will learn how real spaceflight works when you figured out how to get there. It's so beautifull once you actually have a space program going. It's so magical to be able to explore such an immense ingame world. You can feel like such a pro when you land probe #2 really near probe #1 while the journey took many millions (billions even, there is no describing it) of kilometers. I believe the earthlike home planet, Kerbin, has a cicumference of about 4000 km! And there are many other worlds and moons too! Even a gas giant! The game isn't finished yet, but I don't care. They can't fail anything anymore. Just buy it. Or wait for a sale and then buy it. Whenever you do buy it, you won't feel ripped off! I guarantee you that! The learning curve is immense, but almost every Kerballer shoots pictures, makes videos, writes reviews and shares knowledge... it's incredible!
The game is very educational too. I thought I understood quite a bit about orbits, but I learned so much. You will learn about orbits, what different charactaristics mean for planets and landing on them, how rockets behave, and so much more. There is so much to do! An entire solar system to explore, planets and moons, space stations to build, whatever you want. It's like lego for all ages. The only requirement is that you find space exploration worth the effort, if you find nasa/esa/other space agency worth the effort, I recommend this game. I also recommend this game if you like lego for that matter, or simulations of any kind.
You start the game, you slap together a simple rocket, launch it. It feels a lot like Angry Birds when you have to build machines for the pigs. A few rockets later and you reach space. At that point, the game changes for the first time. It looks and feels more like 2001: a space oddisey! The first rocket I managed to get to space was so powerfull and uncontrollable (I also didnt know how to control it yet), that it passed the moon and ended up in orbit around the kerbal sun at a lethal height. It was still just fun and games. But addictive nonetheless! It's fun to explore such an immense ingame universe: an entire solar system!
Then I decided it was time to stay in space and also in orbit of the homeplanet. I watched the space shuttle launches and noticed them rolling and pivoting the rocket right after launch. Trying to get some horizontal speed and not just vertical. I also remembered what an astronaut once said on youtube: orbiting is not hanging weightless around earth, it's moving faster horizontally then you're falling vertically. So, I learned how to make an orbit. Then I learned to make a round orbit. And I set the next mission of my personal space race: the moon.
Every time I played I tried at least once to fly a rocket to the moon. After a rocket or 8 I finally managed to land something on the moon in one piece. One rocket later and I was there with a live kerbal planting a flag. I felt like such a pro. Then I left Kerbal alone, waited for a few patches. Only to hear from a friend he was trying kerbal, I decided to share all of my knowledge. After one night of playing Kerbal with him, I was hooked to Kerbal again. And this time, Kerbal changed again!
My new rocket had 1/3 of the bits and pieces the last one had and I learned so much about orbits and how they work that I decided it was time to fly to another planet! I chose Duna and Eve, that's the equivalent of Mars and Venus. After landing small probes on both planets and having a satelite in orbits, I wanted to land a live kerbal on both. While landing on Duna my first Kerbals lost their power supply, so I decided they need housing and a mobile lab to investigate the planet. It turned out that the charactaristics vary on the surface!
After working a few nights on a massive truck, I couldn't balance the rocket. So I had to think like an engineer, balancing the truck, the spacecraft and then every stage of the Rocket. After 6 nights of playing I had produced the first stable rocket, not powerfull enough. After 2 more nights the second: not enough fuel in the first stage. And now, after 2 more nights of just putting together what I had in my mind it's still not completed! Kerbal changed from addictive fun and games into a mindboggling engineering puzzle. I just can't let it go, I have to complete the rocket. I will send this oversized, 8-wheeled monstertruck to mars! In total I have already spent well over 35 hours in this one mission, a gamechanger. You don't have to go this far to feel satisfied with this game. My PC (I have a radeon 7950, nvidia chips have better physics) also thinks I have gone too far and my framerate is down to slideshow mode. I went from 300 parts in my first succesfull moonrocket, to less then 100 in my second one that also probed Duna and Eve to now well over 1500 parts in this incredible monster. I went from slapping somehing together for fun to putting something together with the help of ingame calculators, a real calculator, and dozens of test flights of every seperate part of the rocket and the mission.
No matter how intense you will play Kerbal, you will be enjoying it intensely! To me it blew my mind, and I sit here with sweaty palms more then in any other game over the last decade! As soon as I'm done with giving my Kerbals on Duna what they need to survive, I need to learn how to dock in space. It's one of the last main hurdles I must take. When I have mastered this skill I know for a fact that the game will change for me once more. Just imagine building something in space using more then one flight! Building it in modules, getting the rockets balanced, plan the flight to the planned orbit, dock, next flight! Oh man, I can't wait! But everytime I think about that, I think about that damned monstertruck of mine. I must get it to Duna! (edit: the Truck is on Duna, long story... but wheels are broken and the kerbal is in the lab instead of the cockpit, so now the truck needs a relief effort as well...)
And oh yeah... the game is already so good, but it isn't done yet. It only gets better and better! They even announced multiplayer! I don't know how this would work, but it is good to know that this game might even be appreciated more by me later then it already is!
Check out my videos at http://steamcommunity.com/id/tiberiusbrain/videos/
and more are coming as I complete more personal achievements! Share yours in the comments!