Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Rube Works review

Rube Goldberg is a famous cartoonist and inventor, known for creating insanely complicated methods for completing very simple tasks, using household items. This formula lends itself very well to the mobile platform, which is probably the hottest marketplace for puzzle games. Rube Works, released last week for iOS devices, allows you to set up some of Rube's classic mechanisms, using the touch screen to place items and animals in the correct order to cause a chain reaction of events. Do this correctly and you will have solved the puzzle! Do the classic cartoons translate well into a puzzle game, or will this be a forgettable blip on the Rube Goldberg legacy? Read the full review to find out! 

Goldberg's contraptions are designed to make life easier in the craziest way

The first puzzle you have to solve, which is also a tutorial level, is a combination alarm clock and orange juice squeezer. You are walked through this level, allowing you to fully get to grips with the controls and the general idea of the game. You have to think outside the box for Rube Works, as the solutions are often very bizarre. After the tutorial puzzle, you are left to your own devices. Each item, whether pre-placed or in your inventory, has a brief description and up to three hints. These don't tell you exactly how to solve the level, but they give you an idea of what other object will interact with the one you're looking at. Often they can give away a little too much information, making the level way too easy, but you don't have to use them. It's probably a good job that they are included, as without the hints it's quite a challenging game. The best way to solve puzzles is to use lateral thinking, and a lot of testing. Through testing, you get to see which parts work, which need a bit more thought and it gives you a good idea as to how the objects are supposed to interact with each other. 

There are now 18 levels to complete, and if you don't use any hints, you can be stuck trying to make a contraption work for quite a while. Each level is just as weird as the last; one requires a complex underground system which includes a dog, electric blanket, some eggs and a firework, among others. What do you use this weird collection of items to do? Well, there are two guys playing Bridge, and when the first player wants the second to play a certain card, this ridiculous chain of events ultimately sends a hammer down on the second player's foot. When you first see a level and your inventory, it seems like there couldn't possibly be a way to complete it, but there always is. In fact, there are often numerous ways to complete it. It's a fantastic game for a creative mind. 

Can't be bothered to tie a string? Goldberg has you covered!

The first licensed Rube Goldberg game is a success. Fans of Rube himself will lap it up, and it's great for puzzle fans in general. Everyone likes a Rube Goldberg machine, how could you not? Whilst they're ridiculous and silly, they're also very clever and immensely satisfying, so being able to put them together for yourself is awesome. If you're into cause-and-effect puzzle games and lateral thinking Rube Works is for you, and at £1.99, it's a steal. 


by Louis Gardner


  1. Louis, we love your review of Rube Works! I wanted to let you and your readers know that today we updated the game to include an additional 9 levels (for free), for 18 in all! Even better, Rube Works is on sale at $0.99 (normally $2.99) for the holidays, through the end of 2013! So if you have it, get the free update for 9 more levels. If you don't have it, now is the time to download it!

    1. Thanks for the comment David! I have updated the review to say 18 levels, and tweeted about Rube Works being on sale :)