Whale Trail developer Ustwo has just released Papa Quash, its newest game for iPhone. But the thing is, the studio claims that it’s “not an Ustwo app.” What’s up with that? The answer to that question, as noted by Gamasutra, lies in the cloning controversy between Papa Quash and a similar but older game called Johann Sebastian Joust.
As shown in the video below, Papa Quash is a free game played IRL, so to speak, by players who all have the game installed on their iPhones. With the game properly set up, players simply try to push and shove one another until all but one iPhone are knocked off balance. This particular multiplayer mechanic of Papa Quash is much the same as Johann Sebastian Joust, which is developed by Die Gute Fabrik. The main difference is that the latter is played using PlayStation Move controllers instead of iPhones.
If you can’t see the video embedded above, please click here.
On Twitter, people disgruntled by the apparent rip-off have been expressing their objection to Papa Squash and Ustwo with updates containing the hashtag #joustice. One of the more emphatic pronouncements about the issue is a tweet posted by Super Crate Box creator Vlambeer, which has also been a victim in a similar cloning case:
— Vlambeer (@Vlambeer) May 22, 2012
In response, though, Ustwo marketing director Steve Bittan asserts that Papa Quash is “not an Ustwo app,” but rather “a Sam Pepper app.” Bittan is referring to the former “Big Brother” contestant who commissioned Ustwo to make and market the game. I have long admired Ustwo for its exemplary work, which includes my all-time favorite iOS game, Whale Trail, but this remark by its marketing director strikes me as conspicuously disingenuous. As for Pepper, he claims that he had the idea for Papa Quash before he learned about Johann Sebastian Joust. He also maintains that he approached Die Gute Fabrik about his plans so as to ensure that there wouldn’t be any issue. However, Die Gute Fabrik has tweeted:
Just to be clear, we have never and would never approve, give permission, or encourage anyone to clone of any of our games.
— Die Gute Fabrik (@gutefabrik) May 22, 2012
Talk about a knockoff game about knocking things around!