'Physics?' we said, 'On the PS4? Whatever next?' we exclaimed, and while our ex-science teachers were laughing, we got to work building our space rockets. Kerbal Space Program Enhanced Edition sees us blast off to the planet Kerbin, which looks suspiciously like Earth populated with Minion-like creatures. 'You Minions, you blew it up! Ah, Damn you, Damn you all to hell' you could almost hear Charlton Heston cry (we paraphrased of course).
In the briefest summary of the game, it's all about building rockets and flying off out of the atmosphere, but that does Kerbal Space Program about as much justice as saying Fight Club is all about fighting. The game incorporates a trial and error system, and boy did we fail and kill more Kerbals than most of us have had hot dinners. They crashed and exploded into balls of flames and each and every time they did, we learnt more about our designs, trajectories, and power-to-weight ratio, and modified them accordingly. Building your craft needs skill and experience, but just when the game seems to be getting a little on the heavy side, the fun and cute characters bring it back to its entertaining core and it stops taking itself too seriously.
The game isn't rocket science... oh wait, it is. Safe to say that the best way to work out how to be a successful rocket scientist is to go through the training sessions which shows you everything from building basic rockets right up to EVAs and landing on the Mun (Kerbal's version of the moon). We can remember the first time we entered into a perfect orbit around Kerbin and the feeling of achievement it gave us, especially after the number of Kerbals who had been sacrificed trying to get there. It's in the feeling of hard work producing results where this game really pays off; when you do something right, it gives you a level of satisfaction that so many other games, simulation or otherwise, fail to deliver.
The game itself contains three different modes: Career, Science, and Sandbox. Most of our playing time was spent in Career mode where you have to negotiate your way through funding, research, and reputation. This forces you to think about each and every launch and how it will impact on your future endeavours. The science of the game was a little heavy at times where, for example, you have to think about how much thrust you would need to get into orbit. That means a larger rocket and the bigger the engine the more weight it would carry so we'd have to lower the amounts of fuel and so on. It's a little on the intense side it could be said, and sometimes we found ourselves longing for a simpler game that just saw us blowing things up, but thank goodness we stuck with it.
The controls seemed a bit fiddly at times when putting things onto your new craft, and the depth of the game and things you need to learn seemed more than daunting. It could be said that occasionally it felt more like a science lesson than it did a video game, and that ended up detracting a little from the fun that was to be had. There are so many buttons to get to grips with, which is probably due to the PC version having more options in terms of keys to press than any console controller offers you. Some of the buttons would act as a modifier to give other buttons secondary functions, but before long we were working our way around the game without too much thought.
Science mode leaves you with the same research tree, but removes the other challenges from Career mode. This made this mode feel a little empty and made us think about going straight to Sandbox where you have access to all of the technology and where you can build to your heart's content... and boy did we. In Sandbox mode, some of the designs we came up with were abstract to say the least, but we had a lot of fun and quite often watched our poor Kerbals as they spun out control and crashed into the ground. Now is a good time to mention that in all of the modes, whenever things go really wrong (and they often do), you can simply bring up the control wheel and go back to square one with no penalty whatsoever, simply by pressing a button.
To sum up, there is no other game on the PlayStation quite like this and despite being overly heavy at times, if you stick with it and learn what you need to, soon you will find yourself having a lot of fun. The excitement of building a great craft and succeeding in your endeavour offered some of the best entertainment we've had playing in a long time. It's the rare quality of this game that it gives you a genuine sense of achievement. Whether it be getting up to a high altitude, hitting orbit, or doing a flyby and landing on another planet, this game is full of surprises and depth. If you're looking for an experience that gives you a high sense of accomplishment and if you have the patience to try and try again to the point where you finally get it right, then take a look at this little gem, because there really is nothing else quite like it.