SimpleRockets 2 by Juandroo is the second game in the SimpleRockets line. It’s intended for ages 4+ and available on Google Play, the Apple App Store, and Steam. True to its name, this is a game in which the player creates rockets with a simplified control scheme and basic physics. Where some rocket-building games insist on realism at all turns, SimpleRockets 2 is willing to introduce some arcade-style mechanics in order to reach a wider audience. The game starts with a basic tutorial to get the player started with the flight and building controls; then the training wheels are gone. A player can choose to work toward the provided challenges, or they can play in a ‘sandbox’ environment, setting their own goals.
The challenges take quite a bit of engineering thinking to get right. Each challenge presents a problem to solve with clear criteria and constraints. One challenge, for example, asks the player to create a rocket which can achieve a velocity of 750 m/s by the time it hits 2km of altitude, without drifting more than 10 degrees from vertical. Another asks for a craft which can fly 50km laterally without exceeding 5km vertically, or hitting the ground. These challenges are quite difficult to achieve without mastering some engineering thinking concepts. A working solution requires multiple iterations, carefully planned designs, some fairly creative thinking, multiple test flights, and a few math concepts. If a player is having trouble, they can go to the SimpleRockets website to view and download other players’ creations for a touch of inspiration. With its easy-to-grasp interface and clear requirements, SimpleRockets 2 is a great starting point for the rocket engineers of tomorrow.
Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:
Learn about the problem, Idea generation, Plan a solution, Create a prototype or process, Test the solution, Make improvements to the solution
Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift:
A problem to be solved by developing a new or improved object, tool, or process, Criteria, Constraints
Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift:
Spatial reasoning skills, Creative thinking, Design, Problem Solving, Perseverance, Iterative design
Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
"There are various tasks that can be accomplished through different designs, and it requires design creativity and problem solving skills."
“Everything about this game is engineering a solution....Each challenge requires a very different design that takes quite a bit of iteration to get right.”