As we’ve done with a few other iOS games that are clearly inspired by popular titles, we’ve sought a comment from the original developer of Zombie Highway about Glu’s upcoming lookalike, Mutant Roadkill.
Here’s what ZH developer Kevin Pazirandeh told us:
“While it is clear a few ideas have been lifted from Zombie Highway (and some others!), Glu has made an actual attempt to create something at least fractionally original with Mutant Roadkill. We should all use the words “steal” and “clone” carefully as to not dilute their meaning for when they are truly needed. Mutant Roadkill is NOT a clone of Zombie Highway, but I think players will wish it had been :)”
So there you have it. According to the developer of Zombie Highway, Mutant Roadkill is not a clone, but it’s also not as much fun as the original ZH.
From our time with both games, we think they’re both fun in their own ways. We think that Mutant Roadkill offers a few cool new additions to the formula, but ZH still deserves credit for coming up with the original concept. If Glu thinks they can improve on ZH’s concept, they’re welcome to try, but they should also be more open about their influences.
Ever hear of a fun little indie game called Zombie Highway? Well, so has Glu Mobile. Glu is borrowing (okay, outright stealing) this concept and putting their own mark on it, launching it under the name Mutant Roadkill. And while we like the new additions, we can’t help but feel they’re being shameless in repurposing someone else’s good idea.
Mutant Roadkill is a freemium high-score game where you control a car driving through a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Just like in Zombie Highway, you’ll swerve your car with tilt controls and try to scrape off any enemies that hop on for a ride.
Here’s where Mutant Roadkill changes things up a bit: You’ll have to swipe occasionally to change directions, a la Temple Run, and you won’t be able to use weapons unless you pick them up along the way. Mutant Roadkill also has a slick cel-shaded look, bonus power-ups, four different maps, and a health meter that gives you more than one chance to crash your car.
Mutant Roadkill is available for download now on the Canadian App Store, but before it launches everywhere else in a few months, Glu is planning on adding some new features, like Facebook integration. Specifically, you’ll be able to pass by your friends as you play, with their faces marking their high scores.
Zombie Highway is still one of our favorite indie games, and despite Glu’s protests (‘they’re not zombies, they’re mutants!’) we feel that Glu is being unfair to that developer, Auxbrain Inc. We expect to see shady knock-offs and clones from unknown developers looking for a quick buck, but we thought Glu was better than this. Other games in their upcoming line-up are more original, and most players probably won’t care about who came up with the idea first, but we wish that Glu would at least acknowledge Zombie Highway in the credits if they’re going to profit off of someone else’s design.