A blatantly copied flash game currently offered on the iTunes App Store will likely be removed quickly if Apple's whack-a-mole approach to content moderation is any guide. But this new twist in App Store plagiarism raises a troubling question for game developers and conscientious consumers. How do you know that 99-cent App isn't someone's stolen work?
Achilles' Defense published by Hanoi, Vietnam-based PTT Solution, is a straight-up ripoff of Ironhide Game Studio's Clash of the Olympians. It's not even close. The only difference is Ironhide's game offers three playable characters, and PTT's app has just one. Everything else - music, artwork, gameplay - is the same.
Clash of the Olympians was released in late August, and is playable here. Achilles' Defense published to the App Store on April 18 and apparently has been offered for free since this Sunday. [Update: The game is now back to a 99-cent price.] Indeed, it's already gotten unwitting reviews from some mobile game sites.
PTT Solution has seven other games listed, either free or 99 cents and a $25 sales productivity app. Given that Achilles' Defense is blatantly copied work, it's fair to question the originality of the rest of its portfolio. And, frankly, one can be skeptical of any bite-sized game by an unknown or independent publisher on the iTunes store.
How Apple can combat that proactively is a hell of a good question, given the thousands of free flash games that pop up regularly. This isn't like a Super Mario Bros. ripoff, or the outrageous Lugaru matter, in which the same game was sold, under essentially the same name, by a second publisher. Situations like that would seem to raise a flag for anyone reviewing the app. In this case, really, only if someone's familiar with the flash game in question could you expect it to be caught beforehand.
Ironhide Game Studio, a consortium of developers from Uruguay, is understandably furious. It has written Apple to complain and is asking gamers to assist by lodging their own complaints in the game's comment space. Kotaku, indeed, learned of the matter from the woman who composed the game's soundtrack and licensed it to Ironhide. Her sole source of income right now comes from that work.
Achilles Defense (CLASH RIP-OFF) [Ironhide Game Studio]