Zynga's new game supposedly a blatant, unabashed, shameless rip-off of NimbleBit's Tiny Tower

There are plenty of cheap knock-offs on the iOS store. There's a clone of StarCraft, League of Legends, Call of Duty - you name it, there's an original copy of it. But usually, these soulless photocopies are made by no-name developers, and usually it's a small company ripping off a big company (or it's Capcom not realizing it was publishing a 'Splosion Man rip-off). That's what makes Dream Heights, which looks like a blatant, unabashed, shameless rip-off of NimbleBit's Tiny Tower, all the more shocking.

The three-person NimbleBit posted a long, friendly message to Zynga comparing the two games, which we've posted below. The similarities aren't so much "similar" as they are "exactly the freaking same oh god how did they think they would get away with this."

Seriously, it's the same game. The only difference is the art, which replaces NimbleBit's cutesy 8-bit style with a more typical (see, higher-budget) style that adds absolutely nothing. Right now it's only available in Canada, though we're assuming that if it does well (and if they copied Tiny Tower, it will), it will make its way down to the US and over the pond to the UK.

But we haven't gotten to the worst part.

As TechCrunch pointed out, Zynga tried to acquire NimbleBit after Tiny Tower's huge success. NimbleBit co-founder David Marsh posted on Twitter "Even when you refuse to go work for Zynga, sometimes you end up doing work for Zynga anyway." Ian March, another co-founder, also said that "If you peek inside the app binary the project is named Towerville and inhabitants are named zitizens," hinting that this was, at one point, meant to be the Zynga-fied Tiny Tower.

If this ends up being as blatant as it seems - and we're having a problem seeing how it couldn't be - we'd be more than a little shocked. We've reached out to Zynga for a response, and we'll be sure to keep you updated on this interesting story.


  • MidianGTX - January 24, 2012 10:38 p.m.

    This wouldn't be the first, or even second time Zynga have copied a game this closely. They've gotten away with it so many times already I don't see why they won't this time. Talentless bastards, the lot of them.
  • ThatGuyFromTV - January 25, 2012 11:23 a.m.

    1. Find popular game (bonus points if the game is made by a small dev) 2. blatantly rip the game off and kill the dev who really made the game 3. sweep said dev's death under the rug and pass off the rip-off as the original game 4. Make blatant copies of your own rip-off game and pass them all off as original games (palette swaps are enough) Pretty much Zynga's game plan. Funny, I don't think they need 2,789 to do that.
  • comaqi - January 24, 2012 11:24 p.m.

    Fuck Zynga.
  • Fiirestorm21 - January 25, 2012 6:23 a.m.

    This. Fuck Zynga.
  • Dared00 - January 25, 2012 12:46 a.m.

    NimbleBit's new game supposedly a blatant, unabashed, shameless rip-off of Maxis' SimTower
  • MidianGTX - January 25, 2012 9:55 a.m.

    Untrue. Do your research before commenting and making yourself look stupid. The only real similarity between both games is the fact they include a tower. If you don't know the difference between a company being inspired by another idea and a company stealing another idea, it's best you don't take part in these types of discussion ever again.
  • lilbuddha - January 25, 2012 3:52 a.m.

    Have friends that work for Zynga (low level employees) they've told me time and time again they are the scum of video game companies... despite their addictive and sometimes fun games. Video Ads in Words with Friends was enough to get me to swear them off.
  • Ravenbom - January 25, 2012 5:21 a.m.

    Yeah, saw that on Reddit today. Kind of makes me want to buy Tiny Tower just on principle now.
  • MidianGTX - January 25, 2012 9:56 a.m.

    Tiny Tower is free with optional in-app purchases. Go for it.
  • Will.E 304 - January 25, 2012 11:31 a.m.

    This is news? These are the guys that got famous on the ios with a Scrabble Knock-off. ZUNIGA CAN'T COME UP WITH ANY "ORIGINAL" IP

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