- Are AI Generated Games The Next Big Thing? - February 2, 2024
- If You Play 3 Games A Year, Stop Voicing Your ‘Expert’ Opinion - January 9, 2024
- Is Sony’s Adaptive Difficulty A Good Idea? - January 7, 2024
- Selection Criteria
- #10 Viking Warrior
- #9 Real Gangster Auto Theft
- #8 Medal of Honor: Warfighter
- #7 Decay of Logos
- #6 The Last Hope: Dead Zone Survival
- #5 Infestation: Survivor Stories
- #4 Gungrave
- #3 War Gods Zeus of Child
- #2 Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Buttuta
- #1 Mighty Number 9
- Honorable Mentions
- Summing Up the Worst
The copycat in the gaming world has long been something the industry has had to deal with. When the next big thing comes out, it’s only natural for there to be other companies who think they could do that thing just as well, if not better. On occasion, that has actually been true throughout the years, with standout efforts like Nioh or Days Gone taking other game’s known formulas and planting their own unique take on top of them.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery; however, in the gaming world, sometimes the imitators don’t stack up to the originals. In fact, sometimes they are so bad that it makes you question what the developers were thinking, and they can even go so far as to scam the players with false promises that never end up coming to fruition. For those who played the recently released The Day Before, you know what I’m talking about.
The Day Before had an outstanding trailer a few years ago that really drove the hype train for the game, but the final release looked very little like that trailer. It’s a disaster of a game and a misleading one that claims to be an MMO yet resembles more of an extraction shooter with little else to do. The developers have already delisted the game just 4 days after its launch, so it’s safe to say they screwed up too.
Believe it or not, The Day Before isn’t the worst copycat game out there, and we have a list of them to prove it.
There are many genres of games these days, and simply fitting into one does not make you a copycat. These games have to fit certain criteria to make our list. Here’s what they need to have.
- Each game must have characters similar to the game it’s copying.
- Each game must have identical mechanics to the game it’s copying
- Each game must have a similar story to the game it’s copying.
#10 Viking Warrior
- Developer: indiegames3000
- Metacritic: 40
Souls-like games are a genre in itself now, so it’s difficult to call games from it copycats. However, Viking Warrior is a special case. Not only is this a souls-like, but it’s a wildly broken one that is dying to evoke the feeling of the original Dark Souls and failing at every turn.
Right down to a knight at the end of its trailer that features a Solaire clone, it’s pretty clear what the devs were aiming for here and it’s not good. The animations of both your character and your enemies appear to be ripped right from the original Dark Souls. The graphics look okay, but the combat is very much “we have Dark Souls at home,” and it’s painful to play through for anyone who’s tasted some of the greats of the souls-like genre. Nothing about this game has anything to do with Vikings, and if Vikings still existed, they would invade indiegames3000 home for tarnishing their names.
That’s not the worst of it, though; this game isn’t even an original game, as it’s the exact same game as Dark Fantasy Warriors, the company’s previous attempt at a souls-like with a new first level taped over it. They released an entirely new game with a new title, new trailer, and everything, and it’s the exact same thing as their previous game plus one level. The gall to do this is impressive in itself, and while indiegames3000 isn’t charging much to play it, to call this mess something that’s worth $4 is a stretch that I don’t think most would be willing to make.
- Developer: Game On
- Metacritic: N/A
Reading that title, I’m pretty sure you’re already picking up what I’m putting down here. Look, I get that companies copy big-time successes all the time, and it’s true that Grand Theft Auto doesn’t really have a mobile gaming presence. But this is not the way to give it one. In fact, this is the opposite. Real Gangster Auto Theft is not only a nonsensical title, but the game itself is so embarrassing that it’s hard to believe the developers put this one out with a straight face.
Gameplay-wise, it’s clearly trying to rip off Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in every feasible way imaginable. In fact, they use San Andreas for the city name here, and your character is pretty much just CJ from that very game. The animations are hilariously bad, with guns floating in front of your character’s hand while shooting, and objectives range from the fascinating “shoot all targets” to the thrilling “kill 2 police”. I get it, it’s a mobile game, so I shouldn’t expect much, but I’m confident there are better offerings than anything this game provides.
- Developers: Danger Close Games
- Metacritic: 53
Stupid name, stupid game, and so the story goes. This one actually hurts to write because I loved the Medal of Honor series growing up. It was the best World War 2 FPS game around, and it was Call of Duty before Call of Duty became the next big thing. Unfortunately, over the years, Medal of Honor was overshadowed heavily by both Call of Duty and Battlefield, and it became the de facto third choice when it came to war-based FPS games. In an attempt to get back into the loving arms of mainstream gamers, they did the unthinkable. They copied Call of Duty.
Gone are the realistic and in-depth storytelling beats that made Medal of Honor: Allied Assault one of the best FPS games of all time. Instead, we have great graphics and bad everything else. It’s a stuttering mess; textures take forever to load in, and just feels rushed in many aspects.
The shooting mechanics feel like a worse version of Call of Duty, and there is no clear reason to play the game over its far better contemporaries. The multiplayer is also abysmal, with the class base system failing to meet the way Battlefield implements it and the moment-to-moment gameplay lacking the thrill that Call of Duty provides.
The story could have saved the game, but instead, we’re given a generic tough guy soldier, and it’s so convoluted, with you switching characters every mission, and while the setpieces are nice, they are copied and pasted from other games in the genre.
You know the drill here, turret section, car chase, and so on and so forth. This series used to drip with originality and realism. Now? Its successes are long in the past, and the only thing we have to cling to is a sub-par VR game that also forgets where the heart of this series once lay.
- Developer: Amplify Creations
- Metacritic: 47
Once you get past the cool name, everything else becomes very familiar, very fast, and not in a good way with Decay of Logos. It’s as shameful a Zelda clone as there ever was, and not just Zelda, but specifically, Breath of the Wild. Not only does the main character look like a wish.com version of Link, but the world looks suspiciously like Hyrule as well.
As we said before, imitation is the highest form of flattery in the gaming industry, but that’s only true when the imitation is fun to play. The combat is barebones as can be, the dungeons are bland and uncreative, and the plot is your typical homeland burned down, so you must avenge them nonsense. The saving grace is the art style, which suggests a way better adventure should be present here as some areas are a joy to look at. But the performance is garbage, the enemies are repetitive, and overall, Decay of Logos is a pale tribute to a far better game.
#6 The Last Hope: Dead Zone Survival
- Developer: VG Games
- Metacritic: 47
Where do we start with this disaster? The Last Hope: Dead Zone Survival doesn’t even remotely try to hide its inspirations and ends up copying The Last of Us at every turn, right down to the cover art. You have a discount version of Joel and Ellie as the main characters and the graphics are so bad that the girl looks like her eyes were removed from their sockets. It doesn’t get any better when you start playing it.
There were more advanced shooting mechanics on the PS2, and the way the characters move is so inhuman that it would make more sense if this game was revealed to be about aliens who watched humans play The Last of Us and had a big cosplay to celebrate it. Fortunately for the world, you can’t even buy this game anymore as it was taken down from Nintendo’s Eshop due to Sony threatening to sue them for obvious plagiarism. It even changed its name from The Last Hope to The Last Hope: Dead Zone Survival to make it seem more original. Truly one of the worst games ever created and a hilarious example of where this industry can go wrong, The Last Hope: Dead Zone Survival is something nobody should ever copy.
- Developer: Hammerpoint Interactive
- Metacritic: 20
Back in 2012, there was a very interesting game called DayZ making the rounds. It was a standalone title that came from a mod of a game called Arma II, a well-regarded but ultimately forgettable military sim. Dayz through you and a ton of others into a silent and dreary world filled to the brim with zombies and gave you one objective, survive. I can’t tell you why, but this game swallowed hours upon hours of my life.
It was so creepy and exciting, and coming across another human as you were being swarmed by zombies was a one-of-a-kind gaming experience. Shortly after it was released, out came the clones, and the most egregious of the bunch was Infestation: Survivor Stories. This game copied the entire structure of Dayz and made it so that the two games were nearly identical. It was disgusting to see, and the game even had to change its name as it initially started as The War Z. The mechanics were embarrassing; the cities seemed to be copied right down to the street layout, and the situation was a well-known fiasco at the time. Infestation: Survivor Stories claimed it had features that weren’t in the game and even was accused of stealing assets from other games. It was also pulled from Steam. It was a perfect example of what not to do when making a game.
- Developer: Red Entertainment
- Metacritic: 65
In the early 2000s, it was all about style in the gaming industry. Look cool, feel cool, and leave a trail of bodies in your wake. That was what Devil May Cry managed to achieve, and with it, a gaming legend began. Just a year after its release came a healthy amount of clones and the worst of the bunch was Gungrave. The idea of having a badass-looking character with a giant coffin full of guns on his back was cool enough, but the execution was terrible.
The levels were repetitive, long hallways where you would take on a bunch of supernatural mafia members. That depth of the concept ends there, and everything from the shooting to the main character’s look screamed Devil May Cry. The gameplay was fine, but Grave lacked the move variety that made Devil May Cry so much fun, and that, combined with the complete lack of style in Gungrave, made a game that just felt like an uninspired effort. It released a year after Devil May Cry, but managed to have worse graphics, worse gun mechanics and far worse enemy variety. There was a new cool kid on the block in the gaming world and every game company wanted to steal his shoes. It wasn’t the shoes that made DMC great. It wasn’t the trench coat or the sword or the violence. It was the vibe, the character of Dante, his eternal battle with his brother Vergil and the creepy and fascinating world surrounding them. Gungrave missed the mark on that completely. There are some cool anime cutscenes to carry the story forward, but overall, it felt so forgettable despite trying to copy something so incredible.
#3 War Gods Zeus of Child
- Developer: Dolaka LTD
- Metacritic: N/A
War Gods Zeus of Child. Just read that title, and you’ll feel the experience that comes from this unabashed copycat game. There are copycat games, and then there is War Gods Zeus of Child, which takes the literal character model of Kratos from God of War and throws it into what can only be described as a game made for people who haven’t played a videogame in the past 25 years.
It’s an arena combat game in that it takes place in an arena, and there is combat. That’s about all the positives you can say about this dumpster fire of a video game. The Kratos clone skates along the ground like it’s made of ice and swings his weapon like both he and his weapon are made of jello.
You fight a variety of horrendously animated creatures with no real objective other than to kill and move on. The description from the Microsoft Store reads as follows. “War Gods Zeus of Child is a great war game. Destroy all enemies and creatures with the Zeus War Gods of challange.
Kill them all with your gun. Launch attacks with various combos. Reach the highest monster kills without dying. Feel the power of the warning god.” Wow. I mean, what a game, right? How could you not want to play that? Believe it or not, they actually charged $4 for this game before it was ripped off the Microsoft Store on August 4th, 2022. I like to commend effort when it’s given in the gaming industry, but I’m fully confident that 99 percent of game developers could’ve thrown a game like this together in an afternoon of work.
- Developer: Semaphore
- Metacritic: 11
Released back in 2014, Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Buttuta needs to be seen to be believed. It is so blatantly a ripoff of Uncharted that it even has a similar name to the iconic franchise. It has a character that not only looks like Nathan Drake but sounds like Nathan Drake, and the gameplay is everything you’d expect Uncharted to be if it were developed by squirrels that were let loose in a game development studio. The main character even wears a long sleeve blue shirt; I mean, how was this even allowed to happen? The graphics are maybe a slight grade above PS1, depending on the angle the camera gives you, and the combat is just the most basic third-person shooting you could possibly imagine.
While it is an unquestionably horrendous game, there is actually some merit to playing it as it firmly sits in the “it’s so bad it’s good category.” It’s hard to believe this game was even allowed to come out, and I would think it would be sued to the moon by Naughty Dog if it garnered anything resembling success or praise. A disaster of a game in so many ways, Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Buttuta shows where it can go wrong when copycat games take it too far. It’s there for your enjoyment and horror if you want to dive into the dark side of the gaming world.
- Developer: Comcept
- Metacritic: 52
Mega-Man fans were very much looking forward to the release of Mighty Number 9. But what happens when a creator copies themselves? Everyone knew it was a Mega-Man clone as it was literally created by one of the series original creators, and they didn’t care; they just wanted it to be good. That want was lost to the ether when Mighty Number 9 released. Mighty Number 9 took everything Mega-Man was aesthetically and forgot to add the fun and addictive gameplay that has fueled the franchise for decades. There were multiple delays, broken codes for Kickstarter supporters, and an overall lack of polish that added up to one of the more disastrous launches in recent memory.
While everyone was ready for a Mega-Man-type experience, they didn’t expect to see exact weapons and enemies being copied from previous Mega-Man games. All the creativity in bosses and weapons that Keiji Inafune enraptured legions of fans with in his heyday seemed to have run dry with Mighty Number 9. The combat was incredibly boring, without any of the style and substance that once made these kinds of games so great.
Gone were the awesome, anime-inspired character designs, and instead, this very kid-friendly, cartoonish look was used, and it all just felt off. No memorable bosses, no memorable levels, and it also suffered from terrible performance despite being a very modest game graphically. It was just a mess and a warning that nostalgia doesn’t always translate to success.
Perhaps dishonorable would be the better word here, but here are a few games that didn’t quite make the cut for the worst copycat games list but are completely atrocious in their own right.
- Fortcraft (Fortnite Clone)
- Blue Stinger (Resident Evil Clone)
- Waifu Impact (Genshin Impact Clone)
Summing Up the Worst
I hope you enjoyed this journey with me through the worst copycat games of all time. I would even say some of these games are worth playing at a discount just for a good laugh. With all the talent in the gaming world, it’s truly hilarious that people stoop to this level in order to turn a profit, considering, well, they often don’t. For aspiring game designers out there, just be yourself, I promise you it’ll turn out better than the games on this list.