- List View
- Player View
- Grid View
Astrosmash sounds like it should be the name of Captain Kirk's autobiography. But behind this silly name is a fun game that smashes together both the original Asteroids and Space Invaders.
If we’re being honest, both Asteroids and Space Invaders were pretty basic and repetitive despite being historic milestones in game development.
By mashing concepts, Astrosmash ended up being a title with more replay value than the games it was based on.
Thanks to the success of Hades, roguelikes are having a real moment right now. And those games all owe their success to the simplicity and fulfilling gameplay of the original Rogue.
If you’d like an enhanced take on that original game instead of some kind of new roguelike hotness, then Brogue is your best bet.
It balances the simple but stunning ASCII graphics of the original game with deeper strategy and a more natural learning curve.
When it comes to making a classic game better, clones often have their work cut out for them. Especially when the game is as beloved as Tetris.
Quadra is a game that follows the basic Tetris formula but adds cool new features like a four-way multiplayer mode.
If you don’t want the basics of original Tetris or the frenzy of Tetris 99, then Quadra really fills out an essential niche.
4. Devolver Bootleg
When is a bootleg not a bootleg? Maybe when they own up to it. At least, that’s the case with the hilarious Devolver Bootleg from Devolver Digital.
This game is basically the company doing a bootleg of their own characters and properties. It’s a compilation of remake titles with not so subtle riffs on some of the titles
Enter the Gungeon becomes a remade game called Enter the Gun Dungeon.
If you’re a fan of other games from Devolver Digital, this game is a must-play!
5. World Karate Championship
A sure sign of a clone is when things go to court. And after Epyx, Inc. released World Karate Championship, they were sued by Data East because of how much the game resembles Karate Champ.
The resemblance is pretty remarkable, but after lots of legal drama and a successful appeal, World Karate Championship emerged as the victor.
The Appeals Court said basic resemblances between games weren't enough to let one company trademark an entire genre, but these titles look exactly the same!
If you’ve never played, osu! is a fun little rhythm game that has been around since 2007.
But its actual origins go a bit deeper, as this game is a clone of the Nintendo DS title Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan.
Many players missed out on the original because it was only released in Japan. But osu! adds new game mods, downloadable “beat maps,” and even a more robust multiplayer mode, making this the better game all around.
7. Let's Go Pokémon Mobile
With some of these games, you might scoff at the term clone. Especially if the final product looks dramatically different from the original. Other times, the resemblance is undeniable.
One of the best examples of this is Let's Go Pokémon Mobile. Simply put, it's a Chinese clone of the original Pokémon games that retains much of the iconic artwork and gameplay of the classic titles.
Hilariously, this cloned game has better art and animation than Pokémon Sword and Shield. It’s enough to make many players ask what the hell Nintendo was thinking with the official title when the knockoff is much better.
8. Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage helped redefine the beat ’em up genre, and it did it with great characters and a killer soundtrack. But we would never have had this game without Final Fight.
Final Fight was a great arcade game that was originally ported only to the SNES. Streets of Rage was Sega’s response, but it ended up being much better than a basic clone.
The final result was better characters and more intense action that holds up much better today than its original inspiration.
9. Werewolf Among Us
Some clones wear their influences a bit more obvious than others. For example, China has a clone of the hit game Among Us simply titled Werewolf Among Us.
The gameplay is essentially the same, but you are playing in settings like castles and trying to figure out who the werewolf is. It quickly became China’s top-downloaded free game.
While it’s an obvious ripoff, you might argue that making the bad guys werewolves is a nice homage to the Werewolf/Mafia-style games that inspired the original Among Us.
Before World of Warcraft, the most successful MMORPG was EverQuest. It was nothing short of revolutionary when this game came out, however, it was also a clone of a far simpler game.
EverQuest developers loved playing Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) games online. These were text-based RPGs that allowed you to interact with the world and with other players. Famously, Everquest itself was based on DikuMUD.
Without these simple text-based RPGs, we might never have gotten future MMORPG titles.
At this point, Minecraft has certainly become its own pop culture behemoth. And now that it’s powered by Microsoft, this is a game that isn’t going away anytime soon.
Believe it or not though, Minecraft was originally a clone of another game called Infiniminer.
It had many familiar elements, including procedurally-generated maps, blocky graphics, and the ability to mine and build things. Minecraft is the superior version, but it would never exist without Infiniminer.
Some would debate calling Braid a clone. While it wears its Mario influence proudly, the time reversing gimmick and puzzle elements help this game feel different than Super Mario Bros.
As blasphemous as it may sound, this game is ultimately better than the original Super Mario Bros.
While Mario perfected the platformer, Braid’s weird plot twists and loopy narrative provide a far more satisfying game.
13. Path of Exile
When Path of Exile first came out, many people took one look at it and declared it a simple Diablo clone. But the years have been kinder to the clone than the original.
Path of Exile has gotten so many improvements and tweaks over the years that it’s better than ever.
And given the ho-hum reaction to Diablo 3, many consider this clone to be the true Diablo sequel they were waiting for.
14. Disc Creatures
Like I said before, some games wear their inspirations a bit more on their sleeves than others. Disc Creatures is nothing but an open and loving tribute to the original Pokémon games.
If you’ve longed for an enhanced version of the original Pokémon games on the Game Boy, this title is about as close as you can get.
Changes ranging from energy management to fighting 3 v 3 instead of 1 v 1 makes this exciting and challenging while still being pleasantly nostalgic.
15. Disney Infinity
For a few years, it seemed like Disney Infinity was everywhere. And it was the perfect profit-generating machine because it forced children to buy physical toys to unlock those characters in the game.
It was a great concept, but not that original. Disney Infinity was a fairly blatant clone of Skylanders. Still, credit where it is due.
Disney Infinity featured better gameplay, easier level editing, and more charming characters.
And while the game is basically dead now, the old figures still look pretty damn cool on your office desk or bookshelf.