April 10, 2007 - If you're thinking about buying Super Rub-a-Dub, go buy some Peeps while they're on clearance because when you get into the challenging stages of this title, you're going to want to choke the life out of anything resembling a rubber duck.
At first, Super Rub-a-Dub seems straight-forward and simple enough. Your goal is to guide a large rubber ducky around a bathtub and break bubbles holding miniature rubber duckies. The big duck breaks the bubbles, the mini-ducks follow the big duck and you get the whole flock to the drain in the tub for evacuation. Get all the ducks on screen down the drain, and the level is over.
From there, the concept gets complicated.
Rubber ducky, you're the one.
To begin with, you're not controlling the large ducky at any point -- you're controlling the tub of water the duck is in via the Sixaxis controller's tilt function. You tilt the control left, right, forward or backward and the tub and its contents shift in that direction. It's on your shoulders to tilt the tub in directions that will run the big duck into the little duckies, around corners, away from wind-up sharks and not over the edge of side-less tubs. Toss the controller up and the tub tosses the duck into the air and over obstacles while flipping the sharks onto their backs for a short time.
You can even tilt on the menus to select whatever feature you want.
There are 60 tubs spread across three difficulties -- fun, tricky and tough. As you play, you'll need to earn medals to advance from tub to tub. Earning a gold, silver or bronze depends on your final time, and that's comprised of multiple components. If you finish the level but have lost duckies -- maybe they feel off the edge of the tub or were eaten by a shark -- the number of ducks missing is added as seconds to the time it took you to clear the tub of ducks. Your best hope for clock salvation is to have a long trail of duckies go down the drain. As you run into multiple bubbles, the freed duckies line up behind the big duck. Get the line to the drain without a shark eating one of the babies or one of the little ones slipping off into oblivion, and your biggest group will be recorded by the game. At the score screen, your longest trail is divided in half and that number is subtracted from your final time. The system tracks your personal records, and if you truly are "quacktastic," logs your time and username on the online leaderboards.
Securing a decent spot on the leaderboards is easier said than done. As the levels get tougher, you'll need to launch the big duck over gaps between tubs, around sharks, through whirlpools and against strong currents. Even though some of the courses will leaving you screaming at the television and cursing the baby ducks that were stupid enough to follow the big duck over the edge of the tub, you'll be able to unlock each course within a few hours of gaming. It's getting gold medals, unlocking the different colored ducks and besting challengers online that will keep people playing this title.
The version floating around the IGN office seems to be all but complete with its bright bathroom visuals and bathtub-inspired sounds. All 60 levels are available for up to four players to duke it out in multiplayer mode -- pick a level, pass the controller and see who can finish the level the fastest -- but there's no online versus mode.