With the recent closure of the Shuttle Program and the future of just what craft will take man into the stars on everyone’s mind, Kerbal Space Program is a timely entry for Friday Freeloader.
The gameplay is of a similar theme to the flash games where you’d launch your cat/hedgehog/something into space. However, this is in full 3D, with an emphasis on a more realistic approach to making a spacecraft, such as multi-stage rockets. And you also fly the craft yourself, which is an interesting feat.
Building a rocket is fairly simple, and the tutorial gets you into the basics of how to set up a craft that can at least safely take off, leaving you to design and develop craft capable of hitting escape velocity and reaching orbit.
Some designs are more effective than others. The joy of the game is figuring out just how many booster rockets you can put on before it falls apart from the structural strain.
KSP is still in development, this freeloader is an alpha product of an unfinished game. This means, for now, there’s no objective other than getting into space, which is hard enough, and the parts available for building rockets are limited. However, it is mod-ready if you’re up for expanding the game. It also means it can be a bit buggy at times, the main one being upon touchdown you have to manually abort the mission, and the building screen can start to bug out requiring you to completely scrap your current design. Also a minor tip that isn’t explained in the tutorial, the dot in the top corner that turns into radiation warning symbol: that’s the symmetry tool.
And for those who start to lose hope that getting into space is an impossible feat:
The trick is to remember that it’s a more realistic approach. Have a look at rocket designs of years past.