New iPhone game blatantly rips off Pokemon; Little Masters

Remember how a few months ago there was a lot of outcry about clones of Nintendo games making their way to the app store (like Mole Kart and those various New Super Mario Bros ripoffs)?  Well now it looks like we can add Pokemon to the list of franchises cloned for the iOS devices thanks to a new game called Little Masters! You can almost see the blatant similarities a mile off…

Wait, this isn’t Pokemon?

Looks just like either gen 3 or 4, doesn’t it?  Seriously, the art style just screams Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire or Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, with many of the background objects and decorations looking suspiciously like they’ve been ripped from the Pokemon series and merely edited/tweaked a bit to change their appearance ever so slightly.

And the similarities don’t seem to end there.  The game uses the exact same stats for the monsters as they do in Pokemon.  The monsters shown in the menu look like blatant ripoffs of Charmander and Mudkip and even things like the text seem to be near identical to that used in the actual Pokemon series.

It only gets worse when you see the layout of the battle screens:

Oh come on.  The life bars look like they’ve been ripped straight from a Pokemon game and recoloured, and they even have the same circles the monsters stand on and the same freaking types!  Call me a tad cynical, but are you really telling me it was a complete coincidence they came up with normal, dark and poison types, that the creatures stand on the same circle icons as in recent Pokemon battles and the lifebars look near enough identical?  Even the way the level number is given as ‘lv 17’ looks like a rip off.

And to those people saying how there’s nothing wrong with this and how Nintendo can’t do anything because many series like Digimon and Monster Rancher exist?  I think you’re being wilfully blind if you think this is different enough from Pokemon to avoid a lawsuit.  At least Digimon is massively different in various ways such as having the adventures take place in a virtual world in a computer system and having a very different style of combat, this is basically a Pokemon rom hack with the old characters switched out for suspiciously similar substitutes.  That didn’t work for Mole Kart, it didn’t work for that old Chinese copy of Super Mario Galaxy and it didn’t work for the Mario rip off starring a leprechaun.  It won’t work now, and I suspect if this game gets allowed on the app store Nintendo’s legal team will come down on it like a ton of bricks.

It also has the much maligned feature of many a ‘casual’ game where you can buy in game currency for real money.  Don’t know what else might use this feature, but I have to say I’m pretty glad Pokemon doesn’t do this.

Still, as I mentioned above, there is a sort of silver lining here, namely that the game hasn’t been accepted yet.  So there’s still a good chance Apple’s review team might take one look at it, notice all the similarities to Pokemon and decline the game for possible copyright/trademark infringement, but who knows.  Just let it be said that this game is far too close to Pokemon as of now to be seen as anything bar a rip off or poor man’s substitute.


Thanks to the former link for two of the images.


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Silent Hunter
Silent Hunter

I don’t think Nintendo will have a problem if the game is released free of charge. Or, more importantly, they may not be allowed to have a problem. If something is free, it’s harder to sue.

Silent Hunter
Silent Hunter

Also, if Nintendo wants to prevent this sort of thing, they should release Pokemon for these platforms. I’ve heard a lot of people want Pokemon on Android and iOS.