Unpacking was one of the best games of 2021, not just make my personal GOTY list, but the entire site’s as well. It is currently available on PC, Mac, Switch and Xbox One. It is most definitely not available on Apple’s iOS devices.
And yet! Earlier today, the top free download on the App Store, outranking even YouTube, Tik-Tok and Instagram, was a game called Unpacking Master, which, as you may have guessed from the price-point and platform, is not just inspired by Unpacking, but is a criminally shameless clone of it. (It has since slipped back down the charts.)
From the name to the premise to the viewpoint to the art style to the music to even the way the whole thing is framed, this is Unpacking! Only it’s not, it’s some game a bunch of assholes whipped up to capitalise on Unpacking’s accolades, in order to make some quick money from in-app purchases.
If you’ve never played Unpacking, here’s a trailer for it:
And here’s Unpacking Master:
The game is also available on Google’s Play Store for Android devices, where it’s currently sitting in the #2 position. The fact it looks and sounds so much like Unpacking, right down to the name, is cutting so close to the original that people are downloading this by mistake, assuming that it’s simply a mobile version that developers Witch Beam whipped up. Here, for example, is the top-listed review on the Google Play Store:
I downloaded this on a whim without looking at the developer... I was really hoping this was a mobile version of Unpacking by Witch Beam and Humble Games, which has an incredible story. This feels like a ripoff of that, down to the rooms and the items in them.
It also sounds like a game that sells itself on being relaxing is also killing the vibe with ads:
i love the concept of this game, but the incessant ads which pop up unannounced every five seconds make it basically unplayable. it cancels out any relaxing aspect of the game and makes me want to tear my hair out.
Fuck this! And fuck publishers SayGames Ltd. If you see this advertised on either shopfront, please don’t download it.
Update: 1/25/21, 9:10 a.m. ET: The Unpacking clone has now been removed from both the App Store and Google Play Store. This is the second time in recent weeks where Apple relied on community backlash to do its moderating for it.
Update: 1/25/21, 2:54 p.m. ET: In addition to the clone being removed from mobile gaming marketplaces, publisher SayGames has also apologized for putting ‘Unpacking Master’ up for download in the first place.
Here’s what SayGames CEO, Egor Vaihanski, wrote in a statement to Kotaku:
I’d like to apologize for our lack of research prior to launching the game from one of the developers we work with.
The game clearly resembles ‘Unpacking’ and this resemblance goes way beyond the game title. We messed up and we apologize.
We have pulled the ‘Unpacking Master’ from Google Play, the game is no longer available for download on both iOS and Android.
We have also got in touch with Witch Beam to discuss how we can resolve this.
In the meantime, there appear to still be other rip-offs of Unpacking still up on the Google Play Store, though none as popular as ‘Unpacking Master.’