Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game -Review

There are lots of lots of physics puzzlers on the app store, but what makes Rube Works stand head and shoulders above the rest is that it is based on the original cartoon inventions of the undisputed king of crazy inventions, Rube Goldberg himself.

As soon as you open the app the background music instantly transports you to a bye-gone era, it reminds me of watching old silent black and white movies such as Laurel and Hardy or Charlie Chaplin. The app currently has 9 inventions to create, all based on original Rube Goldberg cartoons brought to life with 3D color animations, with more “coming soon”. You need to complete one level to unlock the next one. The first 3 levels give you some help by pre-placing some of the objects used in the invention, after that you are on your own.

In each level you are presented with a scene and an objective. You can pan around the room and also zoom in for more detail. A toolbox at the bottom of the screen holds all the objects you have available to build this invention. Tapping on an object tells you what it is and gives hints on how it can be used. You can switch hints off in settings if you want to heighten the challenge. To use an object drag and drop it where you want to place it. A ball of string with a number on it shows you how many pieces of string you can use in the invention (other connectors such as fan belts may also be available). Imagine you need to carve your Thanksgiving turkey and you have at your disposal a penguin, a rooster, an ice cream churn, a sponge, a bucket, a seesaw, a container of sand and a perch; how can you attach them together using string and pulleys to carve the turkey ? The results are totally hilarious and definitely involve thinking outside the box!

The key to solving the inventions is two-fold: think outside the box, and test, test, test! Whilst you are building your invention you can try it out by pressing the test button. This shows what happens if your invention is used, so if it isn’t working you can see where it is failing, and work to fix it. To gain the most points, and three golden prunes, you need to use everything in your toolbox. Don’t worry if that is too hard you can just solve it anyway you can, to earn one or two golden prunes, and then try again later to improve your score. Once you’ve successfully completed the task you are treated to seeing the original Rube Goldberg cartoon with an explanation of how the invention works.

This app is designed for adults and older children and it is definitely challenging enough for adults, but I found my kids were totally fascinated by it too. My 10 year-old was much better at solving the puzzles quickly than me and after he earned 3 golden prunes on all levels I set him the challenge of earning 1 and 2 golden prunes on every level too! (Apparently level one can only be solved with 2 or 3 prunes the rest all can be solved with 1, 2 or 3). It is an app I find him frequently returning to. His younger brother, aged 6, is also fascinated by it, though he does need some adult help as he can’t read the clues and the inventions are tricky to figure out.

I totally love the nostalgic feel of the app, and it is really cool that you can re-create real Rube Goldberg machines. It is a great for working on problem- solving skills and encourages lateral thinking as well as the use of physics principles. Challenging but fun, this app will give the old grey cells a good work out and it is really fun re-creating Rube Goldberg’s classic chain reaction inventions. Highly recommended !


The developer just added 9 new levels- so there are now 18 levels.

If you would like to download this app please use this link: Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game – Unity Games

Rube Works: The Official Rube Goldberg Invention Game
by Electric Eggplant
Category: Education, Puzzle, Games, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 4, iPad 2 WiFI, iPad 2 3G, iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini, iPadMini4G, iPhone5c, iPhone5s, iPhone6, iPhone6Plus, iPodTouchSixthGen
Size: 254 MB