20 Biggest Ripoffs in Gaming History | MojoPlays

VOICE OVER: Adrian Sousa WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
Welcome to MojoPlays, and this is our list for the Top 20 Biggest Ripoffs in Gaming History. We understand that originality is almost impossible without a little inspiration. These titles, on the other hand, are practically carbon copies. We're not saying all of the games here are bad; it's just that their similarities with other games is too striking to ignore.
Top 20 Biggest Ripoffs in Gaming History

Welcome to MojoPlays, and this is our list for the Top 20 Biggest Ripoffs in Gaming History. We understand that originality is almost impossible without a little inspiration. These titles, on the other hand, are practically carbon copies. We’re not saying all of the games here are bad; it's just that their similarities with other games is too striking to ignore.

#20: “N.O.V.A.” (2009)

Based on the “Halo” series (2001-)

As the first … fairly GOOD ripoff on our list, “N.O.V.A.” is an First Person Shooter developed and published by Gameloft. Although, had we not revealed the title, one could think this was a new “Halo” game for phones and the PSP, and you wouldn’t be the first to do so. Those who reviewed “N.O.V.A.” often compared the title to Microsoft’s first-person shooter, noting similar designs in UI, characters, and environments. Still, the game provided an engaging single-player campaign and a surprisingly functional multiplayer mode. So, FPS fans might want to give the recent remaster a shot.

#19: “Garfield GO - AR Treasure Hunt” (2017)

Based on “Pokemon GO” (2016)

Since the 2016 debut of Niantic’s “Pokemon Go” several other companies have tried to replicate its success like “Ghostbusters World” & “Jurassic World Alive”. Then, we have “Garfield GO - AR Treasure Hunt”, a game that’s about as monotone as the orange cat’s voice and makes whacking spiders seem more fun. Flick lasagna into Garfield’s bowl to get him to help you in finding lost treasures and complete scavenger hunts. Besides the minigames that are on the same level of stupid as Odie, there’s nothing about “Garfield Go” that makes itself memorable. It's such a blatant, uncreative cash-grab that we’d rather relive those Monday feelings ten times over.

#18: “Rock Band” series (2007-17)

Based on the “Guitar Hero” series (2005-15)

Well, this is a weird situation… In its first few years, “Guitar Hero” ruled the gaming industry with its revolutionary take on the music genre...that is, until developer Harmonix departed from the franchise after “Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80’s” in July 2007. Merely four months later, Harmonix launched their own series that replicated “Guitar Hero’s” formula. “Rock Band” followed the same mechanics of pressing colored buttons in time with the song, but it was a bigger pain in the ass to deal with it. (Seriously, what kind of game makes you buy FOUR peripherals?!) While “Rock Band” saw its own success, the franchise would suffer the same fate as “Guitar Hero”, collapsing from manufacturing and licensing costs.

#17: ”FarmVille” (2009)

Based on “Farm Town” (2009)

Remember all of those Zynga games that flooded Facebook at the turn of the decade? Well, not all of them were entirely original. Take “FarmVille”, for example, a farming simulator that saw millions of monthly users spamming each other with invites to help grow crops and feed animals. However, there was another game that was doing this months before “FarmVille” debuted. [show “Farm Town” footage] This is “Farm Town”, which started out as a small game before it gained traction on Facebook. Zynga took note of this and managed to steal the spotlight (and aesthetic) from “Farm Town” in late 2009. “Farm Town” still saw a few hundred thousand monthly users, but it never reached the same level of success as “FarmVille”.

#16: “Fighter’s History” series (1993-95)

Based on the “Street Fighter” series

A sincere form of flattery or a shameless copycat? Judging from the quality, we’d say “Fighter’s History” falls under the latter. Data East (whom we’ll see more of later in the list) developed this 2D fighter, but seemingly forgot about what makes “Street Fighter” so incredible, particularly “Street Fighter II”. Its fast, tight, and shows some personality with its colorful characters and environments. “Fighter’s History” does anything but that, opting for a slower experience and trying to implement character weak points. Capcom noticed the similarities between the games and attempted to sue Data East, but lost the case on account of “scenes a faire”. At least the judge acknowledged Data East’s possible intentions to copy “Street Fighter”.

#15: “Disney Infinity” (2013-15)

Based on the “Skylanders” series (2011-16)

When “Skylanders” launched in 2011, the idea exploded and formed a new facet of the gaming market - “toys to life”. One of the first companies to try and capitalize on this was the Walt Disney Company with “Disney Infinity”, a sandbox game where players could control their favorite Disney characters to create their own levels or play various campaigns. A good take on the “toys-to-life” genre, but it felt too much like a cash-in on “Skylanders’s” success. Do you have any idea how much money you’d have to spend on blind packs just to get a specific vehicle or tool you want? TOO. MUCH!

#14: “Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta” (2013)

Based on the “Uncharted” series (2007-17)

Ask yourself this: “What is it about ‘Uncharted’ that makes the series so great?” Would you say its the beautiful music and captivating environments? How about the compelling writing and acting performances? Whichever feature you chose was not accomplished AT ALL in “Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta”. As one would expect from a game starring a rejected Nathan Drake design, “Unearthed” spectacularly failed to replicate anything “Uncharted” was memorable for. The controls were frustrating, the mechanics were broken, and the story came off like terrible fanfiction. And yet, developer Semaphore has found enough reason to begin developing a sequel as of February 2018. Let’s hope it turns out well...maybe?

#13: “Sonic Shuffle” (2000)

Based on the “Mario Party” series (1998-)

Let’s be honest - Sonic has been copying Nintendo’s plumber since his debut in 1991. (Remember, “Sonic” was conceived after co-creator Yuji Naka tried to finish the first level of “Super Mario Bros.” as fast as possible.) While the Blue Blur has had some original games, the most overt ripoff in the series was “Sonic Shuffle”. Ripping pages from “Mario Party”, players can move Sonic and friends around a board to collect rings, play minigames, and take part in boss battles. Sounds exciting, if only the game didn’t have the personality of “Sonic ‘06”. Minigames are oversimplistic, level designs are dull, and the card system overcomplicates movement. Man, talk about a buzzkill…

#12: “Infinite Crisis” (2015)

Based on “League of Legends” (2009) & “DOTA 2” (2013)

The early 2010’s saw a rise in MOBA games, specifically “League of Legends” and “DOTA 2”. In the same way we saw the “toys-to-life” market, MOBAs suddenly exploded, and everyone wanted a slice of the pie, including Warner Bros. Interactive. With developer Turbine (now WB Games Boston), the two launched “Infinite Crisis”, a MOBA starring the greatest superheroes and villains from DC Comics. While the concept seemed like a surefire success, it looked too similar to “LoL” and “DOTA 2”. There just wasn’t anything to make itself stand out; even the roster had nothing against “League’s” dozens of characters! And so, the MOBA shutdown in August 2015, merely five months after launch.

#11: “Konami Krazy Racers” (2001)

Based on the “Mario Kart” series (1992-)

We had quite a handful of kart racers to choose from, but “Konami Krazy Racers” really stuck out. Credit where credit is due, “Konami Krazy Racers” is NOT a terrible game. With colorful visuals, exceptional sound design, and a colorful cast of racers hailing from Konami’s greatest franchises, there’s enough to give “Konami Krazy Racers” a chance. However, the similarities between this and “Mario Kart” are too glaring, so much so that even critics were pointing out the obvious replication. The game may be a solid kart-racer, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, which may be enough to stifle one’s enjoyment with it.

#10: “CastleMiner” series (2011)

Based on “Minecraft” (2011)

Most “Minecraft” ripoffs fail to see what makes the game so special. So long as you’re dropping the player in the middle of nowhere, give them a pickaxe, and drop a bunch of random enemies in the world, you’re gold. This is exactly what the “CastleMiner” series did four months before “Minecraft” 1.0 officially launched. Regardless of the bland gameplay and unimaginative environment, “CastleMiner” became one of the most successful Xbox Live Indie games, selling over one million copies ten months after launch. The series would later spawn two sequels - “CastleMiner Z”, which copied popular survival games, and “CastleMiner Warfare”, which tried copying “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare”.

#9: “Tattoo Assassins” (1994)

Based on the “Mortal Kombat” series (1992-)

When you’re developing with the sole purpose of competing with a mega-popular game like “Mortal Kombat”, maybe you’re in business for the wrong reasons. This was evident with Data East’s “Tattoo Assassins”, a 2D fighter that utilized digitized actors and claimed to have more than two thousand fatalities. Sounds like a “Mortal Kombat” killer, right? I mean, you can kill your opponent by turning them into a clown or a pig or a...knight...or a lady in a dress… Okay, these are freakin’ lame. Thankfully, the game didn’t make it past a few prototypes. Had it seen an official launch, the game would have most likely died because “Killer Instinct” and “Primal Rage” were already giving “Mortal Kombat” a run for its bloody money.

#8: “The Great Giana Sisters” (1987)

Based on “Super Mario Bros.” (1985)

Even today, there are countless games trying to trick people into thinking they’re playing a “Mario” game, or at least, something just like it. One of the first games to do this was “The Great Giana Sisters”, released just four years after “Super Mario Bros.” stormed the market. While it did bolster a few power-ups that functioned differently from the Fire Flower, some of the levels and enemies make the game look more like a knockoff than it probably is. The two looked so similar that Nintendo actually pressured retailers into not selling the game.

#7: “Oceanhorn: Monsters of Uncharted Seas” (2013)

Based on “The Legend of Zelda” series (1986-)

“Oceanhorn” isn’t a terrible game, not by any stretch of the imagination. It provides a solid Action-Adventure for mobile platforms that only takes about a week to finish. Although, we can’t blame you if the game feels a The artstyle, world, and gameplay hits a little too close to home. Our hero uses bombs, archery, and even spin-attack with his sword! There are even moments in the game where you have to sail to various islands. With all of these combined, it makes it very hard to withhold saying, “this is just like ‘Zelda’!”

#6: “Saints Row” (2006) & “Saints Row 2” (2008)

Based on the “Grand Theft Auto” series (1996-)

Today, we know “Saints Row” as a quirky sandbox adventure with the weirdest guns and superpowers. Seriously, where else can you play as a toilet and assault random people on the streets? However, it did originate as a franchise that was supposed to compete with “Grand Theft Auto”, a feat no one could dare to accomplish today. The first two “Saints Row” games attempted to capture the same vibe as Rockstar’s blockbuster series. It had the same urban atmosphere, the same open-world gameplay, but it's clear the two evolved into their own respective identities as the years passed, like two childhood friends!

#5: “Dante’s Inferno” (2010)

Based on the “God of War” series (2005-)

“Dante’s Inferno” had a lot going for itself with its art design, levels, and creative environments. So, how does it come off as a “God of War” ripoff? Well, as far as the game is concerned, it mixes up hack-&-slash gameplay with quick-time events just like Sony’s Ghost of Sparta. This lead to critics constantly drawing comparisons between the two, often citing “God of War” as the better option and deeming “Dante’s Inferno” as an unoriginal clone. What made its public image even worse was the fact that “Dante’s Inferno” launched an entire month before “God of War III”. So, can you really blame reviewers? It also didn’t help that the protaganist shares his name with another icon of the Hack & Slash genre.

#4: “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” (2012)

Based on the “Super Smash Bros.” series (1999-)

There are a TON of “Smash Bros.” clones out there, but there’s a few reasons why “PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale” makes the list. While the game tried doing its own thing in making Super moves the only way to score points, "PlayStation All-Stars" didn't do much else with the fighting crossover formula. It was basically a slower and less energetic "Smash Bros" for PS3. To make matters worse, Sony used Nintendo's flagship fighter as a YouTube tag for one of "PlayStation All-Stars's" trailers. This shady marketing tactic made headlines, and it disappointed both PlayStation and Nintendo put it gently.

#3: “The Simpsons: Road Rage” (2001)

Based on “Crazy Taxi” (1999)

Just like “Crazy Taxi”, “The Simpsons: Road Rage” tasked players with speeding through Springfield and bringing passengers to various locations. Outside of characters and locations, “Road Rage” was almost an exact copy of SEGA’s hit driving game, so much so that SEGA filed a lawsuit against developer Radical Entertainment and publisher Electronic Arts. The case was quickly settled before it went to court, but this wouldn’t be the last franchise for “The Simpsons” to copy. Even after this debacle, “The Simpsons: Skateboarding” and “The Simpsons: Hit & Run” would copy “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” and “Grand Theft Auto” respectively.

#2: “Candy Crush” (2012)

Based on the “Bejeweled” series (2001-16)

“Shariki” may have originated “match three” puzzle games, but “Bejeweled” was the franchise to popularize it. Before their big break with “Plants vs. Zombies”, PopCap Games created this dazzling and relaxing puzzle series that would fall from grace in the early 2010’s. Following the microtransaction-heavy “Bejeweled Blitz”, King would launch their own “match three” puzzler in 2012. “Candy Crush” was no different than “Bejeweled”, tasking players to match three pieces of candy and match more to create candy with special effects. The game was (and still is) aggressive with its microtransactions, but it was successful enough to overthrow “Bejeweled” as the top “match three” game.

#1: “The War Z” (2012) (aka “Infestation: Survivor Stories”)

Based on “DayZ” (2018)

This, indeed, was the biggest ripoff in gaming history. As if riding the coattails of “DayZ” wasn’t enough, “The War Z” mislead customers by advertising features that weren’t in the game at all. They didn’t even mention their shady monetization scheme, demanding players pay a premium currency if they didn’t want to wait FOUR HOURS to respawn. In other words, the game managed to copy everything about “DayZ” except honesty, and it would be removed from Steam two days after launch only to return in February 2013. And yet, it still managed to sell just under three million copies before servers shutdown in 2016.