Whale Trail developer UsTwo's latest title, Papa Quash, tasks players with keeping their iOS devices steady while jostling their opponents' iPhones — a concept that's also present in Die Gute Fabrik's Johann Sebastian Joust.
Whale Trail developer UsTwo's latest title, Papa Quash, tasks players with keeping their iOS devices steady while jostling their opponents' iPhones — which is also the core concept behind Die Gute Fabrik's Johann Sebastian Joust.
Papa Quash, which launched today on the App Store, is available for free, with the option of downloading four extra playable characters (represented by sets of skins and sounds while you play) for $1 a piece. Each player has three lives, which are lost as they move their iPhone past a certain movement threshold. That's also the basic premise of Johann Sebastian Joust, a folk game from Copenhagen-based developer Die Gute Fabrik — though Papa Quash doesn't have Joust's fluctuating tempos, invincibility power-ups or Bluetooth syncing option.
You can judge the similarities yourself: Check out this On The Verge clip to see Joust in action, and check out Papa Quash's trailer below.
Speaking to Edge, UsTwo marketing director Steve Bittan said, "We don't believe in cloning apps."
Bittan explained that the game was made for Big Brother UK contestant Sam Pepper to be showcased on his YouTube channel. Bittan said that UsTwo warned Pepper of the game's similarities with Joust, and says Pepper "contacted them personally and they gave him the go ahead and said good luck with it."
Earlier today, Die Gute Fabrik tweeted, "Just to be clear, we have never and would never approve, give permission, or encourage anyone to clone of any of our games," seemingly contradicting Pepper's claim.
Bittan added, "I think [Pepper] came up with the concept himself as far as he's concerned.
"Obviously the concept is quite similar," Bittan said. "We don't want to be dragged into it too much — it's not anything to do with our app division."
UsTwo may not be able to avoid that controversy — the entire first page of comments for Papa Quash's debut trailer is full of accusations that the company has cloned Die Gute Fabrik's work.
We reached out to Johann Sebastian Joust creator Douglas Wilson to comment on the game's similarities. He responded, saying Die Gute Fabrik will release an official response soon. In an interview with Wilson earlier this year, he expressed interest in a possible smartphone port of Joust, and promised to release the game "in some form" this year.