6 shameless iPhone rip-offs of well-known games

Ever noticed a soundalike title shamelessly trying to steal sales from a well-known brand? 'The Professor's Brain Trainer' comes to mind. Professor, doctor... it's all the same thing, right? Wrong. But there's one market that seems to be thriving on exactly this sort of thinking: The App Store. And in particular, Gameloft, which has a lookalike of pretty much every major console franchise. Today brings a teaser for it's latest game. They even sent us a press release with the line 'Gameloft presents a new legend'. Get a load of this:

A talking tree spirit. A galloping horse. A lava-filled cavern. Honestly, this couldn't be any more Zelda if it tried. It's surprising the lead character's tunic is blue, really. I always thought green was a nice colour...

Wondering how this can be allowed to happen? Just take a look at the some of the rest of the company's catalogue below. If they've got this far without being told to stop, why should this one be any different? And sure, Capcom may have been called out on the whole Maxplosion debacle, but Zelda wasn't offered to Gameloft and rejected first. Gameloft has at least admitted they're borrowing ideas to bring similar experiences to iDevices which we've known for a while. But have you ever seen the extent of it? Look!


Shadow Guardian

Above: Shadow Guardian: Drake's Fortune. No, wait... that's not right. Just Shadow Guardian. Yup.

Looks suspiciously like...


Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Above: It's not the same - look, Drake's trousers are blue, not his shirt. And he holds the gun in his right hand

It's not just the loading screen, either. The guy even looks like Nathan Drake. He makes 'No no no no!' quips as he hangs perilously above a pit full of strange mutants. There's cover-shooting, dropped ammo, hidden relics (sorry, treasures) and a lots of third-person climby action. It's not very convincing, though. Too much hand-holding and too little exploration makes this a pale imitation indeed.


Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus

Above: Hang on a minute... isn't this Modern Warfare 2? Or Black Ops. Oh, right... we get it

Looks suspiciously like...


CoD Modern Warfare 2 / CoD Black Ops

Above: In the slightly paraphrased words of that Meercat on TV... Even sound same!

This one's the most blatantly soundalike/lookalike of them all, epsecially with this week's news that a version is headed to PSN. Looks pretty decent, actually, but ultimately it's proving more of the point that it's also eerily reminiscent of Medal of Honor. So many shooters, so little to differentiate one from the others.


Let's Golf 2

Above: Big heads? Check. Blue skies? Check. Unlockable haircuts and outfits? Double check

Looks suspiciously like...


Everybody's Golf 2/Hot Shots Golf 2

Above: What a fantastic game this is. Makes us want to get out our PSPs again, right everyone? Er... guys?

Golf is golf, which is fair enough. Cartoon golf is also broad enough to be fair game. But the same trickling elevation grid on the greens, cute anime girls, unlockable haircuts, balls and clothes are very flattering to Clap Hanz' pocket classic. Even style of music is similar.


Zombie Infection

Above: Some possessed-looking villagers weilding sharp implements in an aggressive manner

Looks suspiciously like...


Resident Evil 5

Above: A group of possessed-looking villagers weilding sharp implements in an aggressive manner

Zombie Infection is exactly like this. Same camera view, same glow from items dropped by dead enemies, same context sensitive action button. So much is similar, we're waiting for Sheva to steal our ammo every time we play it.

Is it any good? Actually, yes. It's commendably detailed and faithful despite the graphical limitations of the platform. In fact, it's arguably better than the official Resident Evil 4 app. Go figure.


Gangstar: West Coast Hustle

Above: That's actually rather impressive for iPhone/iPad - and it's all explorable

Looks suspiciously like...


GTA: Vice City


Helicopters, cars, guns, swearing... it's all there in GangStar. And in proper 3D too, which not even Rockstar attempted on iPhone. It's a little flaky compared to Rockstar's 3D GTAs, but the fact it's doing sandbox criminality on such low-tech hardware at all is pretty amazing. Fantastically cheesy name, too.


N.O.V.A. 2

Above: Not bad for an iPhone game, eh? This is actually really good

Looks suspiciously like...



Above: Master Chief: Perhaps the most generic of all game heroes. Now with an even more generic copycat

Recharging shields, space marines in chunky coloured armour, dual wielding... N.O.V.A.'s even a surprisingly comprehensive online multiplayer mode with rankings and perks. The sequel's better than the first one too, which was already decent. Generic in the extreme, but at the price, you can't really go wrong.

Which is the best thing about the whole collection, really. Sure, they're cheap and cheerful but at least you get a taste of some genuinely premium content at a fraction of the cost. The quality's getting higher with every new release too, so who knows - maybe the new 'legend' shown today will be told for a while yet.

But seriously? Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus? Jeez...

14 Jan, 2011


  • gilgamesh310 - January 18, 2011 2:13 p.m.

    I think it was the intention of Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus to be that blatant. It acts as a parody.
  • pepsilover2008 - January 17, 2011 1:22 a.m.

    Not gonna lie gameloft makes me so mad sometimes, great their are making good games, but why not try to make ur own games instead of steal games with huge legacys like zelda, n try to make ur own, instead of looking like the people who have to copy good games to make their own games
  • mrmorozov987 - January 16, 2011 6:07 p.m.

    Congrats, Gameloft, you have successfully lowered yourself to the standard of a cheating middle schooler. When you make a crappy rippoff of Uncharted, one of the best series' of this generation, you've crossed the line. Hope you enjoy selling shiny toys to magpies, while the rest of game developer world will actually try to make good games.
  • BanditM3 - January 15, 2011 5:07 p.m.

    Honestly, this is like hollywood. Everyone is running out of idea so they just repackage something that already exists. At least there isnt a game for battlefield earth.
  • philipshaw - January 15, 2011 1:37 p.m.

    The Uncharted one makes me sick
  • inSovietRussiaDatesRecallBrettElston - January 15, 2011 1:12 a.m.

    i'm mildly surprised to see no simon graham ripping off professor layton
  • Cutter9792 - January 14, 2011 9:48 p.m.

    I'm amazed how often you use that picture of my friend in that Halo picture.
  • ThatGuyFromTV - January 14, 2011 8:47 p.m.

    Also know as "Gameloft's game catalog"
  • DarthKratos - January 14, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    @ExcessGiraffe Your right, they should, after all Total Mayhem was a good gams and it wasn't a game rip-off. The problem is that Gameloft knows how it's making it's money and it won't want to stop the gravy train. And like I said in my first post,there is a benefit to having these substitute. So we can hope, but it looks like they're just gonna continue the status qui and just make more extravagent rip-offs
  • ExcessGiraffe - January 14, 2011 7:03 p.m.

    The problem I have with Gameloft is that they are very clearly a competent company, most of these games look good a play well, much better than most 3D App Store games. I think with the amount of sales they get on their apps, they no longer need to try and profit off big titles, they should move on and try their hand at doing something more original. reCAPTCHA: Parksbo Stowk. Sounds like a protagonist from a really bad shooter.
  • diddly - January 14, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    I am dissappointed with the Ipad developers, I mean really, in modern combat 2 the guy is holding the rifle right handed but the bolt is clearly set for a lefty shooter. Sloppy work, very sloppy indeed
  • DarthKratos - January 14, 2011 6:24 p.m.

    I have a feeling that not many people are gonna speak on Gameloft's behalf, so I'll do it now and get it all out of the way. Yeah, Gameloft loves to rip off console games, but they're not the only ones on the app store that do it. The reason why Gameloft stands out is because these are good quality games, some of them, like Nova, can even be called great. While other GTA rip-offs use the top-down perspective of the original two games, Gameloft went and made a 3D sandbox (btw your screenshot is actually from the sequel, Miami Vindication). While The iPod/Pad has control limitations that usually make these types of games not work well, Gameloft's games work a lot better than most of whats out there. Just compare the controls of Nova to those of EA's Bad Company 2 app and you'll see why Gameloft is one of the Top app developers. The quality of their games is also why they were in charge of putting Altair's Chronicles, Splinter Cell Conviction, The Settlers, Rayman 2: The Great Escape, Warrior Within and a number of movie licensed games onto the app store. Plus, there's Spider-Man Total Mayhem, which in my opinion is a really fun game. Gameloft's games aren't the best on the app store (check out Across Age) nor are they the absolute best-looking (check out Infinity Blade), but they are close to it and I dont have a problem with Gameloft ripping off good games so long as they make fun rip-offs. And it works on the app store because you're spending less than ten bucks for video games that serve as nice substitutes. I have both God of War games and Soul Caliber Broken Destiny on my PSP, but, honestly, who carries that around with them? So if I find myself in need of some GoW like action or some SC style fighting, I'm glad that Gameloft has provided me with Hero of Sparta I/II and Blades of Fury for my iPod, which I never leave home without. Are they as good as the games they rip off? Of course not. You're talking about games on a device with graphics at about the Dreamcast level and lacking any actual buttons for the games. But do they satisfy your on-the-go needs? You bet they do.
  • justinbanda - January 14, 2011 5:32 p.m.

    You forgot Hero of Sparta I/II (God of War) and Eternal Legacy (Final Fantasy XIII). Other than that, great article. Some of Gameloft's games are actually good (like NOVA) but others are just kind of crappy (Shadow Guardian). Kudos to them for making Uncharted, God of War, GTA, Halo, and Resi clones on the iDevices, but the games from official publishers have this aura of quality about them. Compare Eternal Legacy with Chaos Rings. There's undeniable quality in everything from the battle system to the graphics that EL just doesn't have. Ports are great, but if publishers keep porting stuff to the iDevices at this rate, Gameloft is gonna be out of business soon. If Capcom has official Devil May Cry and Mega Man ports, nothing Gameloft says will be able to convince customers to buy theirs instead. Same with Square Enix. If I had to choose between Chaos Rings or Final Fantasy I or II, or Eternal Legacy, which one do you think I'll go for? The official one. I think Gameloft has shot itself in the foot with these rip-offs by basing its bottom line on these ports. Oh well. Here's hoping this Ocarina of Time clone is good.
  • oufour - January 14, 2011 5:17 p.m.

    Is it weird that the zelda rip off looks better than OOT?
  • KidKatana - January 14, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    Haaaaaaa that's hilarious, even the names are generic! 'Zombie Infection' indeed...didn't even dare to use a different number of syllables from the original. What's the Zelda ripoff called? Myth of Zoltan: Piccolo of Space?

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