When I learned that Kerbal Space Program was coming to Xbox One, I was surprised. Games of the “simulation” variety don’t often make the leap to consoles, and a game like Kerbal Space Program definitely isn’t as easy to get into as, say, The Sims is.
By nature, consoles are typically home to games that are controller-friendly and (for the most part) action oriented – very often easy to enjoy in short bursts as well. Kerbal Space Program was initially designed to be played on PC, and it required quite a bit of time to properly get into and enjoy. This makes it a welcome addition to the Xbox One roster in terms of standing out from the crowd, but might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
In Kerbal Space Program, your goal is not predefined like it would be a story-driven campaign, but instead revolves around the exploration of space. In the game, you will engage with all the different phases that are involved with such endeavors: building a ship, getting it up into the sky, out of orbit, and then hopefully onwards towards others planets. With some luck, you’ll even be able to land your craft there and bring your astronauts back alive and well.
This broad approach to space exploration is part of the charm of Kerbal Space Program – if you’re interested in the subject matter, then it’s easy to become engrossed in all the inner workings of this simulation. It’s also easy to follow the lengthy tutorials that are provided, since they’re not just informative but also (to a degree) educational. The scale of the game is impressive, and the same can be said of its inner mechanics – wonderful for those who have an interest in space travel, especially those who dreamt of going to space camp as a kid.
Having said that, the game still feels a bit PC-centric. From the cursor to the amount of on-screen text, Kerbal Space Program never feels quite at home on the Xbox One. I didn’t mind having to invest my time in the game’s tutorials and dealing with visuals that are not your typical flashy console affair – in fact, I really enjoyed playing the game. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that – given the choice – I would always prefer playing it on a PC.
This makes Kerbal Space Program a really good game for space enthusiasts, and something that’s easy to enjoy for extended periods of time… but also a game that most gamers will only play on a console if they don’t have access to the PC version instead. That might be a shame, but on the other hand: if it weren’t for games like this, console gamers would be missing out.