Kerbal Space Program

Game review by
Mark Chen, Common Sense Media
Kerbal Space Program Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Rocket-building sim helps determined kids reach the stars.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 25 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Players select rocket ship parts, assemble them in a hangar, and then launch their rockets to see how they perform. Kids can set specific goals, such as getting into orbit or reaching a moon. Underlying the construction and flight phases is a solid simulation that utilizes astrodynamics and physics, and players who take the time to observe flight read-outs and use the provided controls to affect a ship’s trajectory will learn the fundamentals of rocket science and realistic, modern-day space flight.

Positive Messages

Encourages problem solving, perseverance through building, testing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players' ships are crewed by courageous astronauts.

Ease of Play

Easy to play with rockets, but more challenging missions can be very difficult unless you first watch online video tutorials. Part of game's draw is robust online community support.

Violence & Scariness

Rockets can explode, causing non-human astronauts to disappear, but death isn't shown.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kerbal Space Program is a space-themed engineering simulation that focuses on creativity as well as trial and error. It allows kids to build and test rocket ships using a highly visual creation tool similar to Spore's creature creator. The ships are crewed by little green astronauts, who do not feature prominently in the game. Many launches end in catastrophe and explosions. Most often the astronauts survive, but sometimes they disappear. Death isn't directly depicted.

Wondering if Kerbal Space Program is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byblelievre September 2, 2018

Not Playable

I would like to start by saying what a shame! The content of this game is astounding but, having played it for some time, I have discovered it is unplayable and... Continue reading
Adult Written byMaartenKramers August 29, 2018

Awesome game, way better than this fortniye crap

This game is wonderful. I am an active part in the KSP community, and I think this game (or simulation, if you may) is great. It can educate PEOPLE, not only ki... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymedude March 26, 2017

Great Game, With a Learning Curve

Kerbal Space Program is a great game to begin with that lets you do more than you might expect- your home planet can be explored by rover, boat or plane, you ca... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHolyTardisCordyceps March 20, 2014

Extremely Difficult, but Really Fun!

It's overall a great game, free of just about everything inappropriate, however, lots of the missions can end in catastrophic failure, causing rockets to m... Continue reading

What's it about?

KERBAL SPACE PROGRAM is like a NASA simulator except it takes place in a fictional star system on the planet Kerbin. Players purchase various rocket parts such as engines and fuel canisters, put them together, and then see if they can get their ships into orbit, to one of Kerbin’s two moons, or even to another planet. The star system closely resembles our solar system, but the planet is populated with cute little green men reminiscent of the minions in Despicable Me.

Is it any good?

This space based simulation will be fun for determined, science-loving kids who can take the time to observe flight read-outs and use the provided controls to tinker with trajectory. They'll learn the fundamentals of rocket science and realistic, modern-day space flight. Though the amount of feedback can be overwhelming, the player community on the game's forums and on YouTube is robust and helpful and provides a rich resource for self-directed learning.

Players can and do provide feedback and feature suggestions. Now that it's finally been released, it sports a career mode with a series of missions, a limited parts-buying budget, and a personnel manager. But players should be aware that the game is a sandbox, meaning that players set their own challenges. What emerges are unique, self-designed experiences that nicely highlight the trials and tribulations of space flight.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this game is designed to encourage trial-and-error problem solving.

  • Are simulations that are focused on building and creating more or less fun than violent games?

  • How can you protect your identity and privacy when/if you participate in Kerbal Space Program's online community? 

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love solving problems creatively

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate