Threes 1

Clones of popular games are a common sight in the App Store. They’re a way for not-so-creative developers to make a quick buck by riding the coattails of hit titles and trends—the recent flurry of Flappy Bird copycats is a great example of this phenomenon.

But while we had a good laugh at some of the ridiculous FB clones, like ‘Flappy Beard Hipster Quest,’ it’s not so funny for developers. In fact, the creators of the hit game ‘Threes’ recently took to their blog to vent their frustration with the growing list of ripoffs…

Here’s an excerpt from the blog post:

With Greg being part of the Ridiculous Fishing team, we’re not shy about calling a clone a clone, and believe us, there’s no shortage of straight-up clones out there, especially on Android. But it’s the not-really-clone sort of games, the rip-offs, that have popped up that have our feelings puzzled. […]

First, it started on iOS with a game called 1024 released 21 days after Threes (February 27th). It’s different, but not. The sliding is there, the doubling of cards, the merging, even the art is extremely similar. Next, came 2048 about ten days later. A game system identical to 1024 with one tweak, it removed the stones. Since, the game has grown in popularity after a posting on Hacker News on March 10th.

After laying out the major flaws in these games, Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend ran down 500+ emails from a 14-month span to show some of the effort that went into creating Threes. “It took a lot of work to make our tiny little game, but not much to clone it.”

Here’s one from the early development stages:

“Awesome! I really like the tiles. Very solid and they definitely look merge-able.

Really dig the 3Dness too. I can totally imagine the arrows and walls having the same amount of depth.

Not too keen on the color scheme, to be honest. It feels a little abrasive and neon for my taste. Though if the game stays this simple we could make a bunch of color schemes and something like this could be an option.”

Personally, I found it very interesting to read through the emails and text messages the devs posted as it kind of gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to build a game. There’s a lot of iteration involved, a lot of evolution, and just a lot of work in general.

So yeah, it’s pretty lame that other developers can profit off of all this hard work with little effort, especially since the Threes game itself is so good. You can read our full review of it here, or grab it from the App Store here. It’s $2 and works on the iPhone and iPad.

  • Palmer Paul

    And this is why Apple and Android should change their policies to not allow games that are too similar in concept to popular games that are already released (and to actually check submissions for this). If they really cared about their developers (which they should, because that’s who is allowing them to make money), then they would put something like this into place.

    • on3simpleclick

      Couldn’t agree more. Apple needs to hammer down on games that almost, if not exact clones of other games within the App Store. It doesn’t take much for someone who knows what there are doing to clone a game & take revenue away from the original developers.

      I know exactly where to start. The games end with ‘Saga’.

      • Palmer Paul

        I can replicate a lot of these games, but I choose not to out of respect for the developers. I hope that when I release my own game, other people will do the same for me.

    • Nuno Xavier

      Apple and Google couldn’t care any less for that, they see profit on originals and clones. It all depends on how much effort one placed on one’s app, not just development but also marketing.. If clones surpasses the original, then that’s just because the clone is either cheaper or better…

      • Palmer Paul

        The clones rely on the originals. If the developers see that they aren’t making profit because of clones, they’ll just stop making originals for that ecosystem. Without originals there are no clones too. That means that apps will just stop being developed for an ecosystem at some point, if the developers decide to boycott Apple/Android. If this happens, not only does Apple’s 30% profit off of each app sale go down the toilet, but their device sales will also suffer. A phone is only as good as it’s third party app availability.

  • Batman

    I bought both the iOS and Android version

  • nonchalont

    Sometimes the clones are better than the original.

    • mondo

      doesn’t mean its right for lazy ass scumbags to copy other peoples hard work….

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        It honestly depends on how you define ‘copy’. Im not sure how long this has been in Cydia for but there’s a game called Heli-Crappy which is obviously a straight up copy of Flappy Bird yet I don’t see it that way and see it as more of a remix (which is legal as far as I know). The real question is how do you tell the difference between a copy and a remix and where do you draw the line?

      • mondo

        copy: an imitation, reproduction, or transcript of an original

      • on3simpleclick

        Looks like a potato wearing a helicopter hat lol

  • AppleAnalist

    Threes is so much better!

  • Leonard Wong

    I think the main reason 2048 is popular is because it is free. The concept of the game is exactly the same as Threes.

    • Tarek

      Well 2048 is similar to Threes, but not quite. Threes slides a column or row at a time. 2048 slides all the way to the other edge. Gameplay is definitely different.

      It is like playing Klondike and Pyramid with cards. Different. Or if you want something closer: Klondike with one card turning over vs three. Different strategies.

      Straight up rip offs are just that. 2048 brings something different to the game..

      I have to say, though, I prefer Threes a lot.

  • hkgsulphate


  • Wait so 2048 copied this game?