A few weeks ago I was skimming through my Twitter feed and I stumbled across a tweet about a newly released – and officially endorsed – Rube Goldberg app. To say the least, I was intrigued and got in touch with the developers at Electric Eggplant to see if I could snag a promo code and more information about this really cool app. This was before the holidays, and yesterday I finally got the pleasure of sitting down with my iPad to see what Rube Works was all about.
Designed with input from Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter, this app captures the essence of Rube from start to finish. Players create complicated “machines” to perform daily tasks such as getting a glass of orange juice or turning out the lights without getting out of bed. All of the items are supplied, it’s up to players to put them together successfully. At each stage the machines can be tested, and hints and helpful info are provided on each item to make sure they are used to yield optimal results. Graphics are straightforward and have a retro-kitsch feel, as if they were drawn by Rube himself – and this adds to the overall game play experience.
The final product is an app that’s rich in science and physics learning skills. There’s a pretty in-depth tutorial in the first level of the game and it’s not voice-narrated so players will need to know how to read and comprehend some definitively school-aged level instructions. Creation of the machines also require patience and perseverance, and all of this makes Rube Works more suitable for the 8+ crowd. It will only enhance some of the fundamental science and physics skills that are part of the elementary school core curriculum.
My kids are too young to play this app independently – they’re 3 and 5 – so I tested it out myself. I found myself skipping through parts of the tutorial that seemed a bit redundant, but in hindsight I realize that they are well-written and very age-appropriate when directed at school-aged kids. Building the actual machines was a lot of fun, most of which came in the testing phase. At each point text popped up on the screen explaining what function each item served in the location it was placed. I was pretty excited to see that even I – with my pitiful lack of both science and physics knowledge – could build a Rube Goldberg machine.
At $2.99 this app is a bargain. It supplements elementary- and middle-school science learning in a way that’s fun and engaging. Rube Works was created as a tribute to Rube Goldberg, and the result is a stellar app that shows a dedication to his memory and impact on our daily life.