Creating art has always had its fair share of risks. It’s often time-consuming, thankless, and sometimes, a financial black hole. However, when it comes to game design, developers are subject to a risk that many other artists don’t have to worry about– clones.
Sure, off-brand cereals and knock-off movies that exist only to cash in on hype have been around forever. However, cribbing another artists idea has a much faster turn around time in the world of game development, a world where you can code something and almost instantly push it out into the virtual marketplace. Look at what happened to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds— it ultimately got booted out of the cultural zeitgeist by a clone that was, you know, actually playable.
The most recent victims of this practice are Ben Esposito and Annapurna Interactive, the respective developer, and publisher of the upcoming puzzle game Donut County. On a Twitter post published earlier today, developer Ben Esposito shared that he was made aware of a game incredibly similar to Donut County entitled hole.io.
hey all, i didn’t think it was possible but my upcoming game @donutcounty now has a cheap clone at the top of the app store lol. here’s more info.
— ben esposito (@torahhorse) June 25, 2018
The similarities between Donut County and hole.io are plentiful. Despite the latter having a much less charming visual aesthetic than Donut County, it certainly appears that the central gameplay loop from hole.io was lifted inordinately from Donut County.
That being said, there is nothing to suggest that both games can’t peacefully coexist. While hole.io looks like your standard iOS title that was quickly and cheaply churned out, Donut County has a tangible sense of cuteness, the undeniable aura of a game that was cared for deeply and indiscriminately. Donut County looks like the kind of game that you would actually want to sit down and experience, where hole.io looks like a game you would mindlessly enjoy during your morning commute.
You can read DualShocker‘s preview for Donut County here. hole.io is available now on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. Additionally, there also appears to be a desktop version that almost gave my computer a virus as soon as I opened it. Donut County will be released at some point this year for Mac, PC, iOS, and “more” according to the game’s official website.