Kerbal Space Program 2 launches into Early Access in rough shape

Rapid unscheduled disassembly

My trip to the Mun is going to have to wait. Kerbal Space Program 2 has finally been released into Early Access, and my experiences with it thus far are pretty poor, to say the least. Despite this – and I want to get this out of the way off the hop – I’m optimistic it’s going in the right direction.

Kerbal Space Program is a game that either needed an overhaul or at least a clean-up. While Steam has me clocked at over 250 hours in the first KSP, a lot of it was done before the campaign was added. Once that hit, the whole game lost its magic for me. I wasn’t content grinding for science points just to regain parts that I’d grown accustomed to. The budgetary responsibilities were just a needless barrier. However, I wanted a managerial meta-game. I wanted a game that was fun, not a game in which I needed to make my own fun.

Once I got down the various techniques needed to explore the Kerbolar system, I began wondering what it was all for, and a campaign should have been an answer to that, but what ended up coming out was just added frustrations.

Kerbal Space Program 2 Orbit
Screenshot by Destructoid

A more comfortable journey to the stars

It’s also a game that’s incredibly intermediate unfriendly. While part of the fun is experimenting your way into space, once you get there, trying to figure out how to create a proper orbit, reach a celestial object, or – Jeb help us – dock with another object are monumental hurdles. Typically, you’d turn to a guide or tutorial video, but why weren’t these things in the game to begin with? The included tutorials were gluey and disheartening

That’s one of the things that Kerbal Space Program 2 is looking to address. Tutorials help you attain the skills to explore the horrifying vacuum of space, who quality of life tweaks, like the existence of a delta-V calculator, means that what you need is in the game already.

However, some of these things are still being roughed out. Many of the basic tutorials are there, but we’re still waiting on how to link two orbiting objects. Simple rocket construction is covered, but more advanced concepts are missing. It’s fine. That’s what early access is for.

Space Landing Capsule
Screenshot by Destructoid

Abort! Abort!

The problem with Kerbal Space Program 2’s initial launch is two-fold. First, it’s buggy beyond the vast bugs found in the first KSP. Secondly, there currently aren’t many features that weren’t already available in the original game. In fact, a lot is missing.

It looks better, sure. It still doesn’t look great, but the addition of things like clouds and vegetation on Kerbin is appreciated. Likewise, the water looks great, but there’s no actual collision with the waves just yet. Takeoffs look a lot better with plumes of steam erupting from beneath the launchpad, and thrust has a better effect to it. It’s a good starting point.

I’d tell you how the other planets looked if I could even get to them. I quickly found that all my skills still pay the bills, but my designs are hampered by the fact that the builder doesn’t cooperate. I threw in the towel once I couldn’t get the couplings to stage properly. This is after I already fought to get my fuel lines in place, my capsule to stay put, and the fairings to cover the lander. So, I gave up.

Then I went back in, and after reverting from a failed launch, the entire rocket was sunk into the ground of the assembly building. I hit the undo button combination, and the entire rocket disappeared.

What makes it worse is that the recommended specs right now are absolutely galling. They’re still working on performance, and that’s fine, but that’s a pretty high bar for entry.

Kerbal Space Program 2 Recommended Specs 0.1
Image via Private Division

More space-tape

Even if it did work, however, there’s still no campaign in place. Things like research are still on the horizon, but I’m not entirely convinced the team at Intercept Games isn’t just going to make the same mistakes they did before.

So, I’m scrubbing the launch and putting the SkyPuncher project on the back burner. Private Division should have probably done the same. I respect that Early Access is about gathering feedback, but this is mine: more space-tape. What we’ve got right now is an inferior product built on old bones. I’m not saying Kerbal Space Program 2 is a complete wash; I just think you might want to wait until they’re done touching up the seams before you take it into orbit.

[This preview is based on an Early Access build of the game provided by the publisher.]

Zoey Handley
Staff Writer - Zoey is a gaming gadabout. She got her start blogging with the community in 2018 and hit the front page soon after. Normally found exploring indie experiments and retro libraries, she does her best to remain chronically uncool.