Indie developer Vlambeer, creator of titles such as Luftrausers and Nuclear Throne, is attempting to get yet another clone of its game Ridiculous Fishing pulled from the Google Play store, Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail confirmed to Polygon today.
Google Play currently features a game called Ridiculous Fishing Free, listed by developer hesangci. While Vlambeer's authentic title is available for $2.99, hesangci's game has no charge. In addition to featuring the game's artwork, its description is a direct copy of Vlambeer's, even going as far as to include the developer's name in praise. It's dated Dec. 8.
Speaking with Polygon via email, Ismail said that the developer has already contacted Google with a DMCA takedown.
"It's pretty much the only recourse we have as developers, when this sort of thing happens," Ismail said.
Hesangci appears to have copied at least one other game, Doodle Army by Appsomniacs, in the same manner. Google Play's policies specifically prohibit developers from creating products that pass themselves off as another app or service; copyright infringement is also clearly discussed as unacceptable behavior. We've contacted Google for comment and will update accordingly.
This is hardly the first time Vlambeer has dealt with copies of its work, especially in regards to Ridiculous Fishing. Ismail said that this particular instance is not quite as bad as the situations they've dealt with before, but that it still elicits a response that's "somewhere between a pained grunt and a long sigh."
"Normally, we're sad that someone who could be making unique games is instead making copies of our games," Ismail said. "In this case, it seems it's a literal copy-paste job. It also helps that our game is already available at this point — so this clone doesn't hurt us as much."
Ismail added that Vlambeer has learned to avoid these problems by being as open as possible about development. The "dozens" of clones that have popped up of Vlambeer's current project, Nuclear Throne, have had little effect because of the game's large community.
"Opening up our development with livestreams and weekly updates for that project has proven a tremendous shield to those that would want to cynically profit from our work — they can't keep up with the updates, and they can't get ahead of us because they don't really know what makes the game tick," Ismail said. "They just know how to copy."