In video games, more often than not, the objective is to win. That can be in the form of a race, beating back the evil that is plaguing the world, or in the case of Kerbal Space Program 2, building the best rocket ship ever made to enter the deep darkness of space and land on planets. Having amassed a cult following with the first game, it is clear that Intercept Games and Private Division are ready to elevate things even further with the sequel.
Set to enter Steam Early Access, Kerbal Space Program 2 once again tasks players in leading the Kerbals to the great unknown of space, but this time with even more bells and whistles to impress.
As one would expect, there are many moving parts to keep track of and knowledge to be learned before you can even make it off the launching pad, and Kerbal Space Program 2 does a great job of educating players with a ton of useful tutorials and charming explainer videos. Unlike many other games, skipping the learning material is not recommended, but the funny part is that it doesn’t necessarily make the game unplayable.
On the contrary, you can have fun both ways, either creating rocket ships that consistently get better results, or revelling in spectacular failure and watching your brave Kerbals suffer from your ineptitude. The approachability in Kerbal Space Program 2 was a welcome surprise, and it is not hard to see why so many fans love it for what it is.
Each important aspect of Kerbal Space Program 2 is clearly categorised as such in the game, from learning from the best at the institute to taking your first steps in construction at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), so players will always have an inkling of where to go next. Of course, no one ever gets everything right on the first try, and the trial-and-error nature involved is certainly a recipe for countless hours of fun.
Stringing together boosters and fuel tanks is easy, but figuring out to place them in the right Stages is an art. Add to that a multitude of other components and you are already in over your head in Kerbal Space Program 2. Yet, the developers have somehow managed to achieve a nice balance of complexity and accessibility, with the UI providing all the key information as the game gradually helps you to come to grips with things. Failure has never been more fun or educational.
Once you are up in the air or even out of the atmosphere in space, there are also a ton of concepts and controls to wrap your head around, and this is how Kerbal Space Program 2 delivers its genius in parts. Every single step you take towards success is riddled with joyful mistakes, solid learning opportunities, and an increasing shot at glory. The Kerbals are a big part of that as well, providing the comic relief that helps reduce the guilt of yet another ill-fated attempt.
Not many games are able to do what Kerbal Space Program 2 does, making failure not just amusing, but also an integral part of the gameplay path. It is an experience that makes you want to constantly try and try again, and once you get past the initial apprehension, what lies within is a deeply satisfying journey, one that will hopefully lead to cosmic mysteries and thriving colonies out in space.