One of the most popular Steam games is watching the rubber ducks float

Rubber duck with poop and hat.

screenshot: Torpolito Games / Kotaku

Idle games are one of the surprisingly popular games of the past few years, even though the name of the genre is a bit of a misnomer. For the first time, these games are typically idle, clicking frantically until you get to a point where the game starts playing itself. Currently, Quiet plastic duck simulator truly he is Idle Game: Do absolutely nothing but watch some plastic ducks floating in a pool. And I’m here to tell you that it is one of the most highly rated games on Steam.

As I first mentioned Excellent GameDiscoverCo the newsAnd the PPDSThe popularity on Steam hasn’t been a sudden uptick. To be more logical, it’s a series of highs since its original release in July of this year. Since then, the interactive game has received over 3,500 “overwhelmingly positive” reviews on Steam, and is currently clocked at an almost unheard of 98% positive ratings. And why? Ummm …

On one level, this is really nothing but watching rubber ducks floating in a cute backyard pool. In the beginning you have one yellow duck, but when you fill up a duck on the screen, new ducks fall from the sky. These come with their own designs, perhaps wearing a headband or a hat and tube, or they may be cleverly disguised as a sprinkled donut.

View of a pond full of ducks.

screenshot: Torpolito Games / Kotaku

Your interaction is limited to awkwardly panning the camera, and it centers around the chosen duck. The view gently sways up and down with the water, while the soothing background sounds of birds chirping and wind blowing make for a shimmery soundtrack. (Or you can play awful music, which you shouldn’t do.)

The thing is, it’s been a lot more effort than it’s worth, and as much as I was willing to roll my eyes and close it, it’s been running on my desktop for a few hours now. There is a day/night cycle, with the two-level pool lighting features at night, and a natural soundtrack turning into cicadas. There is an ocean outside the pool and if you watch you may see a pod of dolphins swimming past. Oh, and of course there’s the DLC that adds more styles to the ever-growing number of ducks.

All of this was created by Italian developers Tunnel Vision Studio as a silly break from the development of their proper game, an open world survival sim. starsand. It was part of an internal game jam at the studio, GameDiscoverCo reports, which were not marketed for. Due to some interest from some large Japanese and Korean Twitter accounts, then a few weeks ago from 2.75 million subscribers YouTube RTGame accountit keeps capturing people’s attention and imagination.

Sunrise at the duck pond, with a big rubber flamingo.

screenshot: Torpolito Games / Kotaku

Probably a big part of its review success is that it only costs $2. It’s hard to be envious of something so stupid when it costs so little, and as cynical as I want to be, I can’t stop checking back to see which ducks have arrived, and I got inexplicably excited when a little plane flew overhead that time. Also, once, for reasons I don’t understand, one of my ducks escaped through a propeller on its head and floated out to sea.

Ducks have really different behaviors, even if that really amounts to floating a little differently. I wonder if simply sparing the player almost everything about the game makes the small elements that remain seem more important. Either way, I find I can’t argue with the reviews it’s getting. It’s ridiculous, and deserves the 98% positive that’s usually reserved for the likes of it Half life 2 or Stardew Valley.

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