April 19, 2007 - Spoiler alert! In George Clooney's 2005 political drama Syriana, his undercover alter ego Bob Barnes was the subject of a brutal torture scene. During the disturbing sequence, the captured CIA agent is repeatedly punched in the face before having several of his fingernails ripped out via pliers. It's a terrible moment for sure and, while drawing parallels between that kind of pain and what it's like to play Super Rub-a-Dub isn't fair to victims of such inhumanity, you shouldn't lose the metaphor -- it applies.
A glorified tech demo with little gameplay, Super Rub-a-Dub may go down in history as one of the worst PlayStation 3 games we'll ever see. A bathtub-based puzzler that challenges users to capture miniature rubber duckies with a bigger rubber ducky, its whole point is to force an entire plastic armada right down the drain.
...We could be setting a record for allegories here.
The game's premise, while cute, is nowhere near as fun as the "E3 duck demo" we saw a few years back. At that point and time, Phil Harrison and Richard Marks showed us impressive tech with realistic water physics, EyeToy-powered environmental manipulation, and cannon ball-shooting pirate ships. Why those elements didn't make it into Super Rub-a-Dub, which was obviously inspired and built out of that demo, we'll never know.
It's evil incarnate and it's name is "Ducks."
What we get instead are incredibly basic mazes that give users almost no control over the action. The idea here is to influence the direction of your giant duck by tilting the bathtub so that the flow of water alters your course. As your duck swims along, he'll have to collect imprisoned smaller ducks and head off to the drain for the win and next level. Of course, outside elements like wind-up sharks, fall-away barriers and powerful currents mix things up a bit, but for the most part, the 60 available stages are frustrating no matter what the circumstance.
Why? Because though Super Rub-a-Dub is based around the concept of "total Sixaxis control," it rarely feels like you actually have it. Most mazes are hardly ever challenging regardless of your difficulty level and can take as little as 10-15 seconds to complete. But once you do reach the point where a labyrinth is taking longer to finish, it isn't because of clever puzzle design -- it's because the Sixaxis responses absolutely suck.
Far too sensitive for its own good, movement requires an insane amount of adjustment for even the simplest of commands. It's not uncommon, in fact, to consistently get hung up on corners because you can't tilt the tub in exactly the right direction without a hundred awkward pushes; furthermore, leaping off the edge of a maze only to fall into the abyss below is just as likely thanks to a spazzy jump mechanic that requires little force to activate. It all gets incredibly repetitive, allows for far too many mistakes before forcing you to play all over again, and just isn't any fun. Oh and did we mention that its "multiplayer" feature is just the single-player game broken into "I go and then you go" turns? No? Well, it is.
Even if it were free, Super Rub-a-Dub would be too much of an investment for too small a payout. Dull and monotonous with little interactivity, the game is almost completely devoid of fun because of poor design choices and the worst example of Sixaxis support we've seen yet. Avoid it at all costs.
IGN Ratings for Super Rub-a-Dub (PS3)
Rating Description out of 10 click here for ratings guide
Sure the load times are short but the mazes aren't interesting and the backdrops are boring. The stage selection screen is way too clunky.
The water effects are nice, but everything else here is of high-res PS2 quality.
Audio is barely there with a few quacks and splashes, and the soundtrack is bland and hushed.
You float around tubs of various designs with little influence and hop out of the stages accidentally with alarming frequency. The whole blasted experience is exceptionally repetitive.
3.0 Lasting Appeal
Three difficulty settings and 60 stages may sound enticing, but they aren't. They're all equally bad.
2.9 Terrible OVERALL
(out of 10 / not an average)
Thanks to IGN.com for sharing the news with us!