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Mobile game rip-offs

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Examples of Flappy Bird rip-offs on the App Store.
Examples of GTA rip-offs on the App Store.
Examples of Minecraft rip-offs on Google Play Store.

Mobile game rip-offs or clones are games that copy existing games and are ported on mobile devices, but mostly smartphones such as Android phones and iPhones. There are countless games belonging in this category, since most mobile application stores lack quality control (although there can also even be many of them on stores with strong quality, like the App Store). The most egregious example of a mobile store with game rip-offs is the Play Store due to its complete lack of quality control that allows asset theft on applications with little chance of being sued by the original owner of the assets, and malware to be published on it as well, including trojan horses. Most of them are in English (sometimes because of translation), Chinese, Korean, Russian, or Arabic, meaning that they usually come from around Eastern Asia and Eastern Europe, but mostly in China.

This type of game has been boomed on mobile game stores in 2014, where viral hit games like Subway Surfers, Flappy Bird and Summoners War hit the scene and dominated mobile gaming. While clones prior to 2014 were based on AAA franchises, the clones after these games were based on mobile games. Nowadays, they are cloning various other franchises, mostly because of their popularity or not being available for play on mobile devices, which is a game platform that is used by almost everyone in the world, especially young children and people who don't own gaming consoles, since it also serves for calling and messaging through cellular services.

Notable games that have been ripped off

Some of these games include, but are not limited to:

  1. Hill Climb Racing — (despite debuting on mobile)
  2. Grand Theft AutoHas its own page.
  3. Need for Speed — The clones are mainly based on the ProStreet, Underground and Shift series.
  4. Minecraft - Usually mixed with other popular games, sometimes they are made due to Minecraft being a paid game.
  5. Call of Duty — The inherited features are usually the first person mode shooting, more assault rifles than machine guns, and post-apocalyptic maps mostly reminiscent to Middle Eastern locations.
  6. Counter Strike — Same as CoD.
  7. Subway Surfers — The protagonist is replaced with someone else, and the trains and obstacles are replaced by other things like buses and roadblocks.
  8. Angry Birds — Same gameplay, but uses different characters.
  9. Gran Turismo — Same as Need for Speed.
  10. Pokemon Go
  11. Gangstar — Same as GTA, but the controls and UIs are mostly copied from this game.
  12. Flappy Bird — The game's deletion resulted in the wake of ripoffs.
  13. Asphalt
  14. Super Mario Run
  15. Among Us — These ripoffs emerged in the 2020s (due to it's popularity that year), despite the game debuting two years earlier and having its own mobile port.
  16. Fall Guys — Same as Among Us with the only difference is that this game doesn't have a mobile port.
  17. Microsoft Flight Simulator
  18. Genshin Impact — These games have the same graphic style and gameplay, but with different characters and setting.
  19. Hello Neighbor — The main neighbor, his house and the background are changed with a more cartoonish art style. Sometimes the neighbor will be a cartoon character, like SpongeBob in the infamous Sponge Neighbor series.

Why They Copy Your Homework

  1. Most of them suffer from a plenty of glitches, most notably collision detection problems. Some of these games may not even work or tend to crash a lot. Plus they don't even bother to fix the game despite the criticism, which shows their main priorities.
  2. When it comes to gacha games and online games, most of them don't pass the longevity test and don't last very long, mostly around two to three years before shutting down, and sometimes relaunching (sometimes under a different account) with all of the players' data reset, leading to this practice being hated by the gacha gaming community.
  3. They often start trends on "this did this" and "this did that", where developers inherit new features from previous clones, while some clones copy features from others. This makes it a clone of a clone of a clone of clones.
  4. Tons of ads and microtransactions, even on a game that literally steals assets. Similar to how Electronic Arts charges for everything, they slam ads in your face for everything. Wanna start the game? Watch an ad. Wanna press a button? Watch an ad. Wanna play the game properly? Spend 2-5 bucks to remove the ads. Which means that the game is a cash grab and is only there to milk money.
  5. Many devs claim that the reason they make these rip-offs is because the copied game is not available for mobile, or is a paid game. This is an unacceptable excuse since they've now resorted to ripping off any popular game even if it's on mobile, and filling it with absurd amounts of MTX and ads.
  6. Poor graphics, with horrendous textures, cheap vector stock sprites which sometimes can look poorly cropped out. They are even more inferior compared to PlayStation 2 graphics, and have terribly bad framerates due to lack of optimization. Some of the textures are even stolen from websites like Dreamstime, 123RF or even Getty Images (mainly through Google due to them having watermarks).
  7. Very bad sounds, especially the plane models in flight simulator rip-offs. In fact they even have inconsistent audio bitrates, such as one track being 32kbps and another being 256kbps.
  8. Many of these games have a very lazy feeling overall. There are rip-off developers that use the practice of asset flipping with stock assets, especially from Unity games, or asset theft with stealing art and models (mainly from art community website DeviantArt) in them. (e.g., some DDLC rip-offs, Cuphead rip-offs, and Mario rip-offs starring SuperMarioLogan's Jeffy steal art from DeviantArt).
  9. Many of these games are rushed, which explains WTCYH#1 & #8. The games are usually made within a month, or even worse, a week or even a couple of days, and the developers spend the rest of their time falsely marketing them.
  10. Most of these games have selling points that are straight up meaningless. For example they say that the game has 3D graphics (as stated in their titles). Even if it's true, it's still stupid since 3D technology was present on early mobile games.
    • Hell, it was even present on late cellphone games (albeit with a low resolution). Just take a look at Nokia's Rally 3D or the Java port of Need for Speed: Carbon for example. And all this just makes the selling point more stupid than usual.
    • Another dumb selling point is that at times, they claim that if you're a fan of a certain game, then you should play their game. Not only is it crappy, but also exposes the fact that the developers copied that game.
  11. Most of them have generic fonts such as the Arial font or even Roboto (the default font for the Android UI). Sometimes they even use the same font as the game they're ripping off.
  12. They often times have low-quality grammar or rampant English in some of them (especially in Chinese rip-offs), mostly due to their developers having completely different first languages. Some can even turn out to be difficult to understand due to the poor grammar. Some of them, you can tell they used an automatic translator like Google Translate to do the English version. Hell, sometimes the translation can even result in an accidental offensive statement, especially in games with strong language.
  13. Some of the bootleg games steal sprites, models and audio from other games. In other words, rip-off mobile game developers can easily get away from publishing a bootleg game on a mobile game store. Super Bruno World was the worst example up to date as they steal a TON of assets from Super Mario 64, such as Mario's voice, the course clear theme, and even most of the backgrounds! They even steal Film characters, Comic book characters, cartoon/anime characters, TV series characters, Web series characters and video game characters (e.g., Motu Running Patlu Adventures, Super Tin Tin Adventure, Tom Run and Jerry Jump, and Jeffy The Puppet Run in SML Adventures). Yet they even sold these kinds of games in this store!
    • Some games rely on traced artworks and designs that look like knockoffs/bootlegs of other characters. Fate Senki for example has characters that are ripoffs of Counter:Side. The icon was a retraced version of Awakened Hilde.
    • Some games steal so many assets to the point where the game looks like it was ported. One example is Race Canyon, which is an unofficial port of Need For Speed: Carbon.
  14. They usually have little to no originality nor thought in them, and the gameplay is usually a copy and paste. It's worth noting that AFK Arena is commonly one of the most copied games, with the 5-hero squad, portrait mode gameplay and the idle lobby.
  15. Most of them are also are harder than the original due to the presence of artificial difficulty (mostly a stock mechanic from the game engine itself).
  16. There's no indication whether or not these apps were official when picking any game in the Play Store, unlike in Apple's own App Store.
  17. They appear in both the App Store and the Play Store a lot more often than bigger high quality apps, though most of them can only be found via searching the deep notes of the Play Store/App Stores.
  18. They are cash-ins to famous game franchises like Counter-Strike, Need for Speed, Grand Theft Auto, Angry Birds, Minecraft, Flight Simulators and more. Most of the rip-offs have completely different gameplay as opposed to the original games, most commonly a Super Mario-esque platformer.
  19. Some use clickbait/false advertising, whether it be descriptions, fake screenshots, trailers or icons. They often times use fake reviews to give 5* salutes or even 1* crash complaints. While the latter was more common in things like gacha games as they required more power than earlier iPhones for example, the former is still around, especially with bots.
  20. Sometimes, they can have absurdly long titles. One such title is The Fantasy Adventure of the Kanterbury Princess and the Knight Awakening the Champion's Sword, which is the Chinese version of Guardian Tales.
  21. Speaking of titles, there are even games that have titles with words found in the names of popular franchises such as Call of Duty. Again, they sound nonsensical due to them having mashups of popular game names. One example is Real Gangster Auto Crimes Simulator, which is a mix of Grand Theft Auto, True Crime and Gangstar.
  22. Though extremely rare, there may be apps that have misleading titles that slip through the App Store's system, with gameplay which is nothing like the screenshots/description at all. (For example, the infamous SkullGirls 2: Deadly Airport was actually a generic broken fighting game with only Street Fighter/Final Fight characters with zero references to SkullGirls at all either.)
  23. Some of the Play Store applications even contain malware and poor programming slipped through, even on a non-rooted/jailbroken device ranging from memory leaks to other kinds of phone viruses, though the latter is rare. Sometimes, when you load that one app, when you exit out of it, it doesn't load back up properly when you click on it for a few seconds, for example.
  24. Weird region selections, such as limiting it to one random country, no EU (this may be due to GDRP), etc. Though with the rise of TapTap and QooApp, it has become notably easy for players to download apps/games that are region-locked, like Japan/Korea-only.
  25. Childish reception. The reviews on some of these games are basically people complaining about the game crashing, being interrupted by ads, having terrible framerates, and frequent glitches. While it's normal for someone to point out such errors in the game, these people tend to be bashful and over exaggerated about the game's issues to the point where they clog up the review section with these complaints, making them look like men children.
  26. Due to the mobile industry not being in the spotlight, many of them get away with their crimes and never face legal actions from the ripped off party. This however, does not apply to games that gained mainstream fame, like Area F2 (a Rainbow Six Siege clone) for example.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Not all clones are in poor quality. There are some games that clone others, but are quite good and are distinguishable from the original game. Some examples include the ill-fated Area F2 (a Rainbow Six Siege clone) and Payback (a GTA clone).
  2. Some of these games are made by ambitious indies.
  3. Unlike rip-offs on PC/console stores, these ones are free, but that does not excuse it for having predatory monetization in it.
  4. If done properly, with a sensible title, better icon, and proper optimization, then it does not come off as a generic clone.

Exception

It should be noted however that an App Store/Play Store clone can also improve from its basis game in terms of gameplay; such as adding new features/changing up gameplay to stand out from its previous game it was inspired from. For example, the game Legendary: Heroes Saga/Game of Heroes was based on GungHo's Puzzle and Dragons, but instead of dragging a piece around, you make multiple swaps within a time limit.

Videos

NOTE: Most of these videos are spoken in Russian.

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