App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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SimpleRockets 2 is a fully 3D space sim about building rockets and launching them into space. If the idea of tinkering and fine-tuning space ship designs only to have them fail spectacularly doesn’t sound that enjoyable, then stop reading now. If it does, SimpleRockets 2 has quite a bit to offer, even though it might not be the most elegant experience.
Rocket science, simplified
The beauty of SimpleRockets 2 is there isn’t much to it. You’re given a physics playground, some rocket parts, and you can do pretty much whatever you want with them. Want to orbit the Earth? Great. Fly to the Moon? Go for it. Design a ship with 60 engines on it that flies apart on takeoff? Knock yourself out.
For anyone seeking a little more direction, SimpleRockets 2 provides 17 challenges that can keep you occupied for a good long time. Some of these are relatively simple, like building a rocket that can reach a specific altitude, while others are a bit more complicated, like landing on the Moon in a set period of time.
Prepare for takeoff
No matter whether you’re taking on a challenge or pursuing your own goals, a lot of your time in SimpleRockets 2 will be spent in the game’s build mode. Here, you can strap together all kinds of rocket pieces to build a craft that suits your needs. The build tools here are actually pretty impressive and allow for quite a bit of creativity.
With its toolset, you can build multi-stage rockets, and even customize the performance of individual pieces of your craft. If this seems to overwhelming, you can also just hop online and download user-created ships to test out and fly.
Flying your creations in SimpleRockets 2 is a surprisingly easy affair. This is mostly due the fact that you can pause your flight at any time to make any minor adjustments you might need to throttle, trajectory, stage activation, etc. The game also supports a ton of different views of your flight that can really help you chart out your flight plan and make adjustments. If at any point you have walk away from a flight and come back to it later, the game also keeps a convenient log of all unfinished missions you can return to at any time.
The only real pain point in playing SimpleRockets 2 actually comes from its build mode. As fun as it can be experimenting with all different kinds of parts and designs, actually making them is pretty cumbersome. Building a 3D model using touch controls just seems hard in general. To help with this, SimpleRockets 2 provides a tool you can drag around to let you fine tune parts you’re selecting, but using it still pretty unintuitive.
The bottom line
SimpleRockets 2 is at the most fun when you’re making little adjustments to a design to solve a problem. Unfortunately, that’s also when the game feels its clunkiest. If you have the patience to try dozens of iterations on a rocket design to get it to work, though, you probably also have the wherewithal to put up with some awkward design controls and will have a lot of fun here.