Rube Works Lets You Create Cause-and-Effect Contraptions on your iPad

Rube Works 1Rube Goldberg was best known for his love of depicting complex machines that performed simple tasks. The idea behind a “Rube Goldberg Machine” is that there are a series of things that happen in a very specific order that eventually cause one or more events to take place.

For example, you might light a long match that will catch a rope on fire. The rope might be tied to a weight that will drop onto a seesaw. On the other end of the seesaw, there may be a sleeping cat. When catapulted through the air, the feline might yelp, causing a nearby dog to try to chase it. The dog may be rigged to a stationary walking machine that generates electricity when in use. The electricity might be connected to a coffee pot that will begin brewing when enough energy is produced, making your morning cup of joe.

Real life Rube Goldberg machines are rarely as intricate as illustrated depictions of them, but they are certainly more fascinating, simply because it is astounding to see one successfully complete its path.

Rube Works is a fun new game from Electric Eggplant that lets you create these types of gadgets on your iPad. You haven’t seen puzzle solving until you try to build one of these intricate machines.

Rube Works 2Players begin by learning the basics of how to place an item in the room, activate it, connect it to another item, and test the results. Once you get the hang of things, you are on your own. You will start with a handful of seemingly unconnected items, like a chicken and a sponge. You must determine where each item goes in the room and which ones need to be connected in order for the entire machine to complete its action and produce the results.

At the bottom of the screen is an inventory slot with a list of items that can be used to create the machine. You don’t have to use everything, but you will earn more points for using more items.

Rube Works 3Drag the item from the inventory slot to the spot in the room you think it belongs. Each item offers three hints as to where it fits into the contraption. Hints get progressively more helpful, but don’t give everything away.

Some items can be connected with a string or rope. For example, you may need to tie a string to a sponge at one end and a door handle at another end. The connection may cause one thing to happen that will affect the other.

When you think you have placed one or more objects in their correct spot, tap the “Test” button at the top of the screen to see if it worked. If there is something missing or not in the right place, the machine will not work. Try moving things around and try again. You will not lose points for retesting your device over and over again.

Rube Works 4When you successfully complete a machine, you will watch the action play out from beginning to end when the final result is accomplished. When you earn three gold stars, you will be rewarded with the originally illustrated machine that Rube Goldberg drew in one of his infamous cartoons.

What I Like: I love cause-and-effect machines. I think they are funny and fascinating. This is the first game I have ever seen that incorporates Rube Goldberg’s original ideas.

The illustrations are charming and sweet and somewhat similar to Goldberg’s designs, without completely copycatting his art.

What I Didn’t Like: Nothing. This game is wonderful and fun and great for puzzle solving enthusiasts.

Verdict: The game is available for the iPad and iPhone for $2.99. It comes with nine authentic Rube Goldberg Machines with more on the way. Fans of cause-and-effect puzzles should not miss this. The price is reasonable and the puzzles are complex, but fun.

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik

  • David Fox

    Lory, you liked the price at $2.99 for 9 levels. We just added an additional 9 levels, and have Rube Works on sale through the end of 2013 for $0.99! Six times the value! Do we get 30 stars instead of 5? :-)