Kerbal Space Program .22 out today, adds career mode

Ian Birnbaum at

Kerbal Space Program continues to pump out the regular updates, and this one’s a doozy: version .22 adds a full career mode. Career mode starts players with only the most basic rocket parts for very limited missions. In order to unlock bigger, more complicated machinery, players perform scientific experiments while in flight and safely recover ships afterward. Gathering science points unlocks new rocket parts to make more daring missions possible.

Previous games of KSP, including breathtakingly heroic trips to the Mün, have all played out in a sandbox mode. Sandbox mode is good fun with all rocket parts available and no shortage of money to fund your oops-I-blew-it-up-again space program. On the other hand, sandbox mode has no concrete rewards for traveling to the outer edges of the solar system.

I got my hands on career mode a few days early and found it extremely challenging and perhaps not ideal for veteran KSP players. If you know what you’re doing, the restrictive early missions are going to chafe like iron shackles as you launch sub-orbital hops across the ocean instead of installing colonies on the outer planets. While research and development feels slow at the beginning, I must admit that it’s awfully nice to have something for Jeb to do while he’s up there. For new KSP players, career mode will guide your experience and limit your options until you have a better idea of what you’re doing. If you’ve ever looked at the dozens of available rocket parts and had no idea where to start, career mode is for you.

Kerbal Space Program is available now on Steam Early Access. Don’t forget to check out the stellar mods being built at the community forums and the game’s active subreddit.