Kerbal Space Program, or KSP for short is a sandbox spaceship creation and simulator. It's still currently in Alpha (currently version 0.17), but is currently being upgraded constantly with new content.
KSP combines my love for K'Nex, Erector Sets, LEGOs with space, to be able to make your own fantasies come true. You start out in the Vehicle Assembly Building to create your starship of dreams. That dream is quickly shattered as the ship you've created explodes on the launch pad. A detailed timestamped list of notes will appear and you might be able to decipher what happened, maybe not. So you go back and tinker some more. Spend a few more million Kerballian dollars and blow up a few more times. You eventually hit that magic moment and it takes off and you'll hit high altitude and eventually into orbit. Then you realize you didn't build anything to get you back down.
The entire game is a process, it's a way of learning how things work. With 0.17, the most recent update (as of this post) you can now use pre-fabbed ships to get you going if maybe your creativity just isn't all there or you want to take an existing ship and modify it taking away some of the leg work to get you there. There's also cockpits, mission planning, you can land on the Mun (moon), and other fictional planets to further the Kerbal Space Program to victory and conquering the solar system. Being able to fast forward time on your journey is very much needed when going the distance between planets. It isn't easy to do, but it can be accomplished once you get the hang of it. KSP is a game of patience and trial and error.
Introduced in a prior update, you can now go into the Spaceplane Hangar to build a ship you can fly anywhere. These spaceplanes can reach orbit and outerspace, but at a much slower pace than traditional vertical rockest built in the Vehicle Assembly Building. This allows you to work your creativity in a different way. Want to create a VTOL? You totally can. Want to build a hover vehicle? Yup. Want to make something that explodes right away? Yeah, you'll do that too.
The game isn't finished, but there are plenty of free updates yet to come out, such as:
- Manage and Train Space Program
- Hire and Train Astronauts
- Research and Develop Parts
- Space Stations (that's no moon!)
- Flight Planning
At $18, you can't go wrong with Kerbal Space Program. Though much like Minecraft and other games similar to this, you're left to your own devices and creativity to take you where you want to go. The price of the game will go up over time, so pay for it now at the low cost and you'll get free updates from here on out. Soon enough, you'll have spent hundreds of hours playing KSP and you'll wish you had paid more for it.
Buy Kerbal Space Program here: http://www.kerbalspaceprogram.com/kspstore/index.php?c=20