PUBG Mobile vs Rules of Survival - 4 more victims of the clone wars

Lawyers at the ready

PUBG Mobile vs Rules of Survival - 4 more victims of the clone wars

You might have read recently that PUBG Corp is suing NetEase for its - ahem - 'tribute' to hit online shooter PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

The argument goes that Chinese publisher NetEase infringed copyright with its games Rules of Survival and Knives Out. Both are mobile takes on the Battle Royale format that were clearly inspired by the original PUBG, but preceded that game's own arrival on smartphones.

Read more: Fortnite mobile vs PUBG Mobile - Which is best?

Even if these games aren't exact like-for-like clones, the many similarities are certainly eyebrow raising.

Of course, the recent spate of mobile PUBG-a-likes is far from a unique or even a recent phenomenon. These other mobile games stretch the term 'inspired by' to breaking point.

FortCraft / Fortnite

We might as well start with another recent NetEase game, because it feeds into a fascinating loop of idea pinching and bad blood.

FortCraft is a really quite blatant mobile take on Fortnite, which is currently the biggest online game around. It ape's the Epic game's cartoony aesthetic, cover-building gimmick, and core BR gameplay.

Indeed, the timing of the FortCraft beta release - mere days before Fortnite mobile's own similar release - is telling.

The ironic twist in the tale, of course, is that Fortnite itself has been accused of copy-cattery by the makers of PUBG. See, everybody's at it to one extent or other.

2048 / Threes!

If PUBG Corp thinks that Rules of Survival's relative success is a bit of a slap in the face, it should spare a thought for Threes! developer Asher Vollmer.

Back in early 2014, Vollmer released the brilliant Threes!, which continues to be one of the best pure puzzlers available on mobile. Less than a month on from release, however, a blatant (and patently inferior) copy called 2048 appeared - and went on to be really popular.

Perhaps the worst part of the whole affair came when oblivious 2048 players started accusing Threes! of being a poor copy. Ouch...

Ninja Fishing / Ridiculous Fishing

Way back in 2011, a fun little arcade game called Ninja Fishing hit the App Store. Those who knew their obscure indie gaming onions, however, realised that it was a thinly disguised copy of Vlambeer's 2010 Flash game Radical Fishing.

So similar was its concept of hauling fish out of the water and shooting them in mid-air, it almost derailed Vlambeer's own mobile take on its original idea.

Thankfully the team doubled down on Ridiculous Fishing, which launched in 2013 to considerable success.

Flappy clones / Flappy Bird

The final high-profile clone victim is a bit different to the rest. Flappy Bird was a run-away success back in 2014, despite not being particularly original in itself.

Flappy Bird was a straight-forward endless flier with a brutal difficulty level. Still, its extreme simplicity, run-away popularity, and developer Dong Nguyen's bizarre decision to remove it from the App Store (it was too addictive, apparently), created a perfect environment for clones to flourish.

Sure enough, a whole spate of Flappy clones multiplied in Flappy Bird's wake. A special shout out, then, for Red Bouncing Bird Man, Tappy Bird Junior, Senor Pez, Funny Chicken - Bird Adventure, Trappy Bird, Flappy Fish 2D, Flappy Endless Car 3D! Flappy You: Fly Your Face Free, Nerdtle: The Flappy Birdtle, and Bird Adventure - 1 Touch Flying Bird. There were plenty more.

Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.