×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Most Bizarre Game Clones In The Nintendo Switch Shop

Knockoffs are nothing new. From the ancient Romans swiping stories of the Greek gods all the way to The Asylum producing "mockbuster" movies such as "Transmorphers" and "Snakes on a Train," the practice of ripping off a successful idea or brand is about as old as storytelling itself. It should come as no surprise that the video game industry has seen plenty of this, as well.

Some game developers have been content to simply borrow gameplay mechanics and general aesthetics from popular titles, but others aren't quite so subtle. Take "Super Fighter M," for example, a "Super Smash Bros." PC bootleg that stole dozens of Nintendo characters and saddled them with inexplicable dialogue. Or how about "War Gods Zeus of Child," a low-rent "God of War" clone that managed to sneak its way onto the Xbox store for a bit?

The Nintendo Switch store has also accumulated a number of these kinds of games. On the surface, their goal appears to be to give Switch players an experience comparable to other platforms' console-exclusive titles. But don't be fooled: The following video game clones are nowhere near the same level of quality, despite the fact that Nintendo is allowing them to be sold through its official shop.

The Last Hope: Dead Zone Survival

As fans of Naughty Dog's seminal horror survival series wait for news of "The Last of Us Part 3" or its next multiplayer spinoff, a clone has arrived on the Nintendo shop from developer VG Games. Starring a man and a young girl who look suspiciously familiar, "The Last Hope: Dead Zone Survival" charges players with safely guiding the aforementioned girl through a post-apocalyptic landscape overrun by zombies. Players will need to use stealth and rudimentary crafting to get the supplies needed to survive the undead hordes and janky controls.

"The Last Hope" immediately caught the attention of gamers on social media, many of whom couldn't believe the sheer audacity of the indie game's marketing and the young female character model clearly swiped from "The Last of Us." Some players have also noted similarities to "The Walking Dead," particularly given the way the protagonist wakes up in a hospital bed at the beginning of the game. 

To be fair to "The Last Hope," it does bring a few original ideas to the table. According to the game's trailer (which looks a good bit better than the final product), the lead protagonist, Brian, is actually a time-traveler who has been sent to the future to find a way to stop the zombie plague awaiting humanity in his timeline. It's unclear how sending someone to the future will prevent something in the past, but anyone willing to shell out a couple of bucks in My Nintendo Store will be able to find out!

Gangster Life: Criminal Untold

The full title of "Gangster Life: Criminal Untold, Cars, Theft, Police" outright lists just about everything you'd expect from a "Grand Theft Auto" clone. As the disjointed description on the Switch store listing explains, this game follows a common criminal as they rise up the ranks in the underworld to become a real player in their city. Along the way, players will get access to such exciting "functions" as "Another type of weapon" and "Different types of cars." Well, what else could you need?

Players get daily login bonuses from playing "Gangster Life," including weapons and different amounts of cash to spend in the game. Not that you'll need much help, as the game's mission objectives are absurdly simplistic — with "find the guy" being a memorable one — and you can beat most enemies by smashing the attack button wildly. Hit detection seems to register at random, but there's still not much of a challenge to be found on the mean (and mostly empty) streets of "Gangster Life." Don't be duped by the trailer on the game's page, which seems to have been animated in an entirely different engine from the game itself.

Given the simple nature of the missions and the seemingly unconnected (or nonexistent) story, "Gangster Life: Criminal Untold, Cars, Theft Police" ends up having more in common with "Crime Boss: Rockay City."

Deep Space

"Deep Space" is also known by its cumbersome listed name of "Deep Space:Action Fire Sci-Fi Game 2023 Shooter Strike Simulator Alien Death Ultimate Games." The game was released by Midnight Works in February 2023, shortly after the launch of EA's critically acclaimed "Dead Space" remake. And much like "Dead Space," this game follows a lone protagonist battling his way through an outbreak of monsters aboard a space station. His final goal, according to the game's listing, is to find "the main monster, which is the most difficult to defeat." Well, naturally.

And it's not just "Dead Space" that's having it's mojo stolen here. "Deep Space" begins, as the game's official shop listing notes, with the main character waking up in a sarcophagus without any memory of their past, much like 2016's "Doom." Clearly, this is something of a catch-all horror FPS knockoff. Now if only the enemies weren't bullet sponges and the framerate could remain steady during combat encounters...

Perhaps the most hilarious detail from the game's official listing is the fact that it straight-up describes the plot almost beat-for-beat, up to and including the protagonist's daring escape in the last act. Judging from gameplay clips and reviews of this title, however, you might have more fun just reading the synopsis and playing something else instead.

World War Battle Heroes Field Armies Call of Prison Duty

"World War Battle Heroes Field Armies Call of Prison Duty Simulator" is another clone from VG Games with a hilariously unwieldy title, one that seems to cover all its keyword bases and then some. Clearly drawing influences from "Call of Duty" and its ilk, "World War Battle Heroes" seems to have a bit more going on than some of the other games in VG's library. The graphics appear to be somewhat sharper than its brethren, and an in-game shop allows players to purchase first aid kits, ammo, and more as you wage a WW2-era campaign against the enemy. 

Don't expect this game to offer anywhere near the thrills of "Call of Duty" or "Medal of Honor," though. Reviews have noted that team A.I. is basically non-existent, enemies tend to just walk right into your bullets, and the Shop icon is bizarrely always hovering right next to the player character, practically begging you to use it. Sadly, it's hard to believe anyone would play this game long enough to run out of ammunition. 

When a developer describes things like "Beautiful graphics" and an "Interesting story" as "Peculiarities" in a game's description, it's a compelling sign that you should look elsewhere for a quality war simulator.

World of Deadliest Catch

Landlubbers best beware of this particular video game clone, which is doing its very best to pass itself off as legit. "World of Deadliest Catch," also listed as "Deadliest Catch – Ocean Boat Driving & Fishing 2022 Simulator," is perhaps the most egregious bootleg game on this list. Another Midnight Works title, this game's main promo artwork repurposes assets from the popular Discovery series, while its synopsis on the Nintendo Store has been clearly plagiarized from the Steam listing for "Deadliest Catch: The Game." 

Although "Deadliest Catch" is certainly a name with a good bit of brand recognition on its side, it's also worth noting that the official "Deadliest Catch" game received mixed-to-negative reviews upon release, making this an even stranger choice for a knockoff. Still, if you're looking to round up virtual crab from the bottom of the ocean, you're probably better off sticking to the licensed version.

Zombie Garden vs Plants Defence

"Zombie Garden vs Plants Defence – Battle Craft and Survival Simulator Game" is a clone that wears its inspiration proudly on its low-poly sleeve. However, it has one thing going for it that the others don't: Whereas games like "The Last Hope" and "Deep Space" are ripping off graphically intense titles, this game is aping the style of a significantly less visually demanding game. And it doesn't do a totally terrible job of it!

Taking its cues from "Plants vs. Zombies," "Zombie Garden vs Plants Defence" follows pretty much the same gameplay loop. Players will tend their ideal defensive garden, which will sprout plants capable of fighting back against waves of approaching zombies. Each level increases the number of zombies, as well as their strength and ability. 

It may not be the most original idea out there, but "Zombie Garden vs Plants Defence" appears to be a decent approximation of the real deal. In fact, some reviewers have recommended snagging the game whenever it's on sale — especially since it's occasionally been listed for as low as six cents! It's just difficult to get past the sheer audacity of its design and title. 

Recommended