Pokémon has long been ripe for reinvention, both by its fans and its developer. A new mobile game dares to overhaul the series once more, albeit with a major caveat: It’s not a Pokémon game at all, it’s just made up to look like one. Hey Monster is such a flagrant, unofficial homage to the venerated franchise that a recent, fan-made YouTube ad for it has been catching Pokémon fans off guard.
User Leon Wung’s video is called "pokémon remake," first of all, which adds to any confusion. This is no Pokémon remake at all, however — and it’s not sanctioned by Nintendo to be one. Instead, Hey Monster is a mobile role-playing game for iOS and Android that features 3D graphics, more than 2,000 monsters to collect and multiplayer battles.
In short, it sounds a lot like a Pokémon game. Its Google Play store page curiously doesn’t feature any Pokémon branding, however, although there’s a silhouette of the legendary Pokémon Celebi in one screenshot and revamped Pokémon X/Y trainer models in others. Although Hey Monster’s commercial isn’t shy about its inspiration, both its store listing and Facebook page are more coy about the connection.
Nintendo has been sending cease-and-desist orders to unofficial Pokémon games that do much less with its intellectual property, so it’s no surprise that Hey Monster’s developer, Fun Code Play, isn’t upfront about wanting the game to be a Pokémon adventure for the free-to-play mobile set. (We’ve reached out to Fun Code Play to clarify any relationship it may have with The Pokémon Company, and vice versa.) It is shocking, though, that the YouTube commercial is so open about it, to the point where it’s not clear that Hey Monster is completely unrelated to the series.
User-uploaded footage show a Pokémon-style production with some high-end visuals, and most of these videos refer to Hey Monster as a Pokémon clone. The game, which remains unreleased on the North American Play Store, is not the first in this genre. It surely won’t be the last. Instead, it stands out as one of the most obvious Pokémon ripoffs in recent memory, using familiar characters and monsters by name for an otherwise unrelated project.