Publisher apologizes for 'lack of research' after releasing an obvious Unpacking clone

Bedroom in Unpacking
(Image credit: Witch Beam)

Update: Unpacking Master's publisher SayGames clarified to us that it was the one that removed it from the Google Play Store, and that Apple removed it from the iOS App Store. We've updated the story to reflect that.

A mobile clone of Unpacking, the popular indie game in which you organize pixel art stuff, was quickly removed from the Google Play Store by its publisher after the original game's developer, Witch Beam Games, called it out on Twitter. The app has also been removed from the iOS App Store by Apple. Egor Vaihanski, CEO of the ripoff game's publisher, apologized in a statement to Kotaku, citing a "lack of research" into the clone developer's submission.

"The game clearly resembles 'Unpacking' and this resemblance goes way beyond the game title. We messed up and we apologize," Vaihanski said.

The clone is called Unpacking Master, a title anyone could easily Google to check for similar games, and it looks incredibly similar to Witch Beam Games' Unpacking. Unpacking, the original one, doesn't have a mobile version at the moment, and Unpacking Master was probably created to capitalize on that. The 2D game features the same mundane, household rooms filled with shelves and drawers to place stuff in. You can see the similarities in a Witch Beam Games' tweet which compares Unpacking directly with the clone. 

Several other Unpacking clones exist on the Google Play Store, but Unpacking Master rose to the top via ads on TikTok and Instagram, according to Witch Beam Games. "It's demoralizing for a small team like ours to see content we spent literally years planning, refining and handcrafting be hastily reproduced in an opportunistic ad-riddled app a mere three months after our launch," the developer wrote.

Earlier this month, one brave clone developer bragged on Twitter about his successful mobile version of the popular word game Wordle. His game, Wordle - The App, was taken off the App Store, along with every other game with "Wordle" in the title. Despite this, Wordle clones still exist on the App Store under different names, such as "Wordus". Developers who have their games stolen for mobile ports are seemingly reliant on either the developer's removing the games themselves or Google and Apple to deciding they aren't acceptable.

The real Unpacking is one of our favorite games of 2021. Our own Sarah James called it "one of the most chill games" of the year and "genuinely cathartic." 

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.