A blatant copy of brilliant indie game Unpacking has today been pulled from iPhone and Google Play stores - but only after it topped their most-downloaded charts.
Anger at the clone's success spilled over last night, as Unpacking's official Twitter account flagged the rip-off to followers and made clear it was nothing to do with the game's original creators.
Hundreds of fans had reported the app, which is fuelled by microtransactions, to the Unpacking team. But Apple and Google seemingly only took action after the high-profile thread was widely-shared overnight - and today, other clones still exist.
"If you've happened to catch an ad for a suspiciously similar-looking game to Unpacking on mobile recently, please know that this is not our game," the official Unpacking account explained. "They sure seem to want to give the impression that it is, though!
"While we've seen many imitators already, usually they don't get much traction. This one however is currently at the top of the charts for free games on iOS due to tons of advertising on TikTok and Instagram.
It's demoralising for a small team like ours to see content we spent literally years planning, refining and handcrafting be hastily reproduced in an opportunistic ad-riddled app a mere 3 months after our launch. pic.twitter.com/vuPe58RP1e— Unpacking 📦 Out NOW! (@UnpackingALife) January 25, 2022
"It's demoralising for a small team like ours to see content we spent literally years planning, refining and handcrafting be hastily reproduced in an opportunistic ad-riddled app a mere 3 months after our launch," the account continued.
"We're a tiny indie team and even with the success we have achieved, we still don't have the resources to pursue companies trying to use our game's distinct look and feel to make a quick buck. We have to rely on storefronts like the App Store to better curate their content."
Following the clone's removal from app stores, Unpacking creator Wren Brier thanked fans for their support.
"I feel a thousand times better today than I have in the past five days trying to deal with this thing on my own," Brier wrote.
I think what hurts the most about this one is how shamelessly they directly copied so many specific items and entire room layouts that we spent months designing. Oh, and that they're at the top of the charts on the app store. 🙃 https://t.co/eF4V93LRSY— Wren Brier @ Home 🥱 (@Wrenegadey) January 25, 2022
Looking through the app stores this morning, however, I can see other, less-successful Unpacking clones are still available.
Just two weeks ago, it was app store clones of Wordle which were making the headlines. Today, questions are being asked again of Apple and Google - and why it only acts after an outcry.
For more on Unpacking, Brier was our most recent guest on the new Eurogamer Podcast - which is now available to all.
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