Knockoff Games

Mad Dex

Image Source: http://apkmen.com/mad-dex/

A few weeks ago I received a shiny new Samsung Galaxy S7, and did what any new phone owner does: Needlessly download every free-to-play game in sight. Now, It was not long before I stumbled on a knockoff of a popular video game. I downloaded the game out of morbid curiosity, and Android being the genius operating system that it is, decided that I needed more knockoff titles recommended to me. I decided to download those too. As a result, here are five brief reflections of some knockoff titles that you can download right now for free.

Mad Dex

I am going to try to and review this game based on its own merits and not try to compare it to some other indie game it may, or may not have drawn inspiration from. In Mad Dex, you play as a Not-Super-Meat-Boy named “Dex”. As it happens, Dex’s Not-Super-Meat- Boys Girlfriend gets picked up by a… giant hand. This, of course, creates the conflict needed for Dex to awkwardly look into the distance and say : “I’ve found her”. Well, that was quick. Perhaps Dex has super-sight, and considering his hyper-agility, that is not too farfetched. Thus begins a journey through perilous Nothing-at-all-like-Super-Meat-Boy levels in order to rescue your girlfriend. Or sister. The game does not specify.

The controls are decent enough in the sense that I was able to get through the level. The visuals mainly look like a 90’s flash game, but work well enough for the setting. The level design borrows heavily from some other game that we shall not name, but the layout is odd. Obstacles are placed far enough apart that there is not any real danger, and if you die, it felt like more of a flaw in design than an error on the player’s part. As far as knockoffs go, this one does little to stand out. Also, remember this is free-to-play so you are given gems to restart levels. Run out of those gems, and have fun watching an ad for a crappy mobile game. Seriously, enjoy!

5/10

Dark Hero

Dark Hero

Image Source: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ms.dark.hero

Dark Hero wears its inspiration on it’s sleeve, head, hands, chest and feet. This game is Limbo without all the silly things like fluid controls and pleasing visuals. The first thing I noticed, firing up this game, is that our hero jumps awfully high, which leads me to believe that maybe this game is set on the moon, making the story already clearer than Limbo (take note, Playdead). Instead of a minimalist design, we are treated to a static jpeg of a field that has not quite loaded yet in the background, as well as rocks that look like they were created in Microsoft Paint. Similar to Mad Dex, you will be treated to an advertisement with every death. You will die often, so you will have lots of time to decide if you are interested in buying Mobile Strike. Please, for the love of God, buy Mobile Strike. Just get it over with. The girl in the multi-colored shirt really wants you to.

2/10

Megatroid

Megatroid

Image Source: http://appadvice.com/appnn/2012/08/quickadvice-megatroid

So, I thought this was going to be a knockoff of Metroid and was a bit disappointed. Megatroid holds the unique distinction of being the one game in this article that can’t decide what it wants to rip off. Our hero is a female bounty hunter with an awkwardly rendered ponytail accompanied by a robot with a Hello Kitty face. The shooting is awfully similar to Metroid, for certain, but the level design feels Megaman-esque, with elements of Sonic the Hedgehog present in the opening level. At worst, this game looks like the kind of game you would see on some Video Game Design School commercial. Visually, it resembles Mighty No. 9 (I’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing). I would say, at best, this is a game you play for five minutes and marvel at the fact that it isn’t completely awful then promptly delete.

6/10

Gloomy Dungeons 2

Gloomy Dungeons 2

Image Source: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.zamedev.gloomydungeons2.fullnfree

I decided to skip Gloomy Dungeons 3D and head straight to the sequel. I’m a rebel, I know. Developed by a studio named Zame-Dev, Gloomy Dungeons 2 is described on their official site as a game “where eight bit graphics is in harmony with the 3D–effects”. Well, I certainly felt many things playing this title. Harmony? Maybe. The game is a mix of 90’s Wolfenstein and Doom in the sense that sometimes you shoot people, and other times you shoot demons. Now, I’m not sure who these people I’m fighting are, exactly. They are mostly dressed like extras from the movie “Red Dawn”, so I’m not sure what to think. Graphically it looks like DOOM and Wolfenstein, and more-or-less plays like them too. My biggest problem with this game is that it’s just not that interesting. It’s not offensive by any means, but it’s just kind of… there. There is absolutely no reason to play this with DOOM and Wolfenstein 3-D already available on mobile platforms.

7/10

Rockbot

Rockbot

Image Source: http://pdroms.de/pandora/rockbot-v1-0-beta-4-game-for-pandora-psp-ps2

Oh Rockbot. Sure, the game starts simple enough, and the opening moments even recall memories of Megaman 2 and Megaman X. This is, in no small part, due to the fact that the game uses actual assets from the Megaman series. During my playtime I came across numerous yellow Hard-Hat robots and other sprites and sounds from Capcom’s series. The controls are actually done pretty well. It’s no small feat to make a twitch gameplay title like Megaman play well on mobile, but I was pleasantly surprised. Things start to get really crazy once you get past the intro. It’s then that the game goes to a traditional Megaman choose-your-foe screen. When the Robot Master is not a blatant color swap, it’s something completely baffling like a Mummy, Ape (named “Ape”) or a flower/ fairy wearing a green dress. That’s right, this game has a robot Tinkerbell. Naturally, I challenged her first. Right away, I was treated to delightfully awkward innuendo. “My Flower Power will put you in a deep-sleep” she says, to which our hero replies: “Sorry Princess, but not on the first date”. Well done. This whole experience is made even more baffling that the backgrounds are modeled after other titles like Super Mario World and Castlevania. I don’t know what else to say, except this is the best game ever made. I’m anxiously awaiting Rockbot 2.

10/10

Jordan is an actor, singer, educator and writer who has a deep love for Shakespeare, classic rock, coffee, old dogs, batman, fantasy novels and video games. He is a Performing Arts major from the University of Connecticut and has lived all over the place—most recently, Beijing. In his free time, he can be found in pretentious coffee shops, reading a giant fantasy book, in nature, on stage, traveling, gaming, singing with his friends band or using his dogs as a pillow.

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