Rube Works works!
So what is Rube Works? Well, it’s a new puzzle game based on the Rube Goldberg machines. For anyone that does not know what these machines are or who Rube Goldberg was, basically he was a “crazy inventor”, among other things, who made “crazy inventions” to make everyday life easier. Well, made is a big word as I don’t really think he actually produced any of these crazy machines in real life, but he at least designed or draw like a lot of them.
A Rube Goldberg machine, contraption, invention, device, or apparatus is a deliberately over-engineered or overdone machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction. Rube Works brings some of his best “inventions” or machines to “life”.
There are 18 puzzles in the game, but more will be added in the future and each one is unique in both the goal and way to achieve that. Your job as the player is to help Prof. Butts with his tasks. Each level is set in a 3D room where you can see the “foundations” of the machine and you are given a goal to achieve or complete. You are also given a number of objects to help you finish the machine.
When you click on an object, any object, a text box containing helping hints will appear. These are extremely helpful since most of the time these objects interact in an “think outside the box” kinda fashion. So you tap and hold an object from the object tab and drag it into the 3D world. If you release it than the object will be placed into the room. Also at your disposal there are strings to hep connect objects together and belts to add fan belts to belt pulleys.
It might sound difficult, but don’t worry cause it is really not that difficult. Most of the objects, to not say every one of them, will snap into place if you manage to place it approximately to its correct position. The hints also help a lot, but since there isn’t any penalty for trying out or testing the machines, you don’t have to worry. When you think that you have “completed” the machine, you can tap the big green Test button on the top right of the screen. If you placed every object correctly and achieved the end goal than you will get the max score, three golden prunes.
However if you have not used every object, you’ll get a lower score. This score mechanic works towards the replayability of the levels themselves. The devs say that many of the machines have multiple ways to complete, but I don’t really believe that. Some of the machines serve only to push a button and if you call “placing an object to fall on the button activating it” one of the multiple ways then that is not the case. It feels more like cheating and that’s not fun, at least for me.
Presentation is OK, let’s say. The game is built upon the Unity Engine which is one of the best for mobile devices and it is capable of putting out some insane graphics and animations. However here, I think, it isn’t used to it’s full potential. The 3D models and animations would totally impress someone from the year 2000, but in today standarts, it feels cheap. Yes we can argue that this look is deliberate as they might be emulating Rube Goldberg’s drawings, but still it looks kinda outdated. The UI is very intuitive. The music and sound effects also feel very cheap and they sound like they are coming out from an old gramophone. Again it may be a design choice to emulate that old feel, but still hearing that quality coming out from a 700+$ top of the line equipment, it doesn’t feel right, to me at least. Now as I said, someone might say that they nailed the looks and feel for this game, but I don’t think so since it didn’t stick with me. That’s my opinion.
Rube Works works! The puzzles or the machines are fun to complete, filled with humor and are challenging to a certain point. Presentation “problems” can be overlooked since it’s by design, but still having a more modern look would have been better. Should you get it? I don’t know. If you are a fan of Rube Goldberg’s machines and if you loved games like Crazy Machines in the past, then this might be for you. In case not, I can’t really recommend it to you.
Thanks for reading!