Some unruly brat has been making some fiendish use of his bathtub time. Instead of scrubbing himself and washing off all the dirt and grit accumulated from a typical day at pre-school, he has instead decided to separate his plump rubber mother ducky toy from her little, yellow vinyl-plastic children, encasing them in fortified water bubbles and loading the tub with a crew of duck-munching robotic sharks. If only she wasn’t made out of plastic – maybe then, she could show that mother-ducker a thing or two!
This is where you come in with a SIXAXIS controller held up high. By tilting the motion-sensing controller you are able to shake up the on-screen tub and manipulate the flow of water, passively directing mother rubber ducky around a maze of barricades in order to rescue her little darlings and bring them all back to the drain hole they call home.
Along the way, you’ll have to contend with the aforementioned robotic sharks that are ready to rip our smiley-faced heroine a new blow hole. Add to that some turbulent water currents and deviously placed open edges and you’ve got your hands full. You can flick the SIXAXIS upwards to jerk the tub and throw mother ducky soaring across gaps, at the same time temporarily flipping and stunning those metallic chomping fishes, but delicate precision is vital to keep the meagre life of your rescued babies afloat.
Although the button-free control scheme is extremely simple to pick up, the motion-sensing can be a tad touchy at times leading to instances when mother ducky gets stuck up in a corner, or worse – she leaps right off the edge of the tub and into God knows what lies beneath. The free demo available on PlayStation Network takes you through five of the sixty levels on offer in the full version, but seeing as how the former can be easily completed in all of five minutes, it would be a fair comment to say that it’s unlikely that one would be able extract more than an hour out of the real deal – and it is. Sure, there are multiple difficulty levels as well as an online leaderboard (some ‘unbeatable’ high scores already present here), but this goes for naught seeing that as exciting as Super Rub-a-Dub is for the first few minutes, its limited tech-demo nature makes it soon lose its lustre.
However, at the price of a solid lunch at your favourite eatery, value for money can’t be beat. So it’s not quite the poster-boy for the HD revolution, there’s only a single laid-back audio track covering for all the menus and actual gameplay, and control-wise the tilting could have been much more tight like a blob of mercury (Mercury Meltdown) and an encapsulated monkey (Super Monkey Ball) have already shown. But although the depth of the gameplay is barely knee-deep making Super Rub-a-dub not quite the splashing debut as was hoped, it’s still rollicking, simple fun while it lasts and quite possibly the best way to play with vinyl-plastic rubber ducks without getting yourself soaking wet.