Twisted Pixel is publicly expressing its displeasure that a new Capcom mobile platformer, MaXplosion, looks awfully close to its own Xbox Live title 'Splosion Man -- a similarity widely noted in the consumer press, too.
Like 'Splosion Man, MaXplosion features a red, cartoonish hero in a laboratory-type environment, and both titles use the character's ability to detonate himself as part of the game mechanics.
Consumer weblog Joystiq spotted Twisted Pixel programmer Mike Henry's unhappy tweet: "MaXplosion gameplay video makes me sad," he wrote. "If you're going to outright steal a game, you should at least understand what makes it fun."
The studio's official Twitter feed took a more rueful stance: "Well, I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," it read.
Twisted Pixel co-founder Michael Wilford even said on his own feed that the studio had pitched 'Splosion Man to Capcom for publishing previously and had been rejected.
Twisted Pixel community manager Jay Stuckwisch told Gamasutra that the studio has no plans to take any sort of legal action. "We're too small a studio to do anything other than stay focused on making games," he wrote. "But we're overwhelmed with the response we've seen by fans and the press, so we hope Capcom learns their lesson from this." Capcom didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
It's not the first time an App Store title has surfaced that appears to borrow heavily from established IP. Likely aiming to gain a recognition advantage on a crowded marketplace where brand equity can go miles, mobile publisher Gameloft has also tried this tactic: For example, it released N.O.V.A. and Hero of Sparta on the App Store, intending to call back to Halo and God of War, respectively.
"The fact that 'Splosion Man was cloned wasn't too surprising to us -- we've seen it replicated before in several Flash games," Stuckwisch told us. "The thing that is surprising is that the culprit this time is Capcom, and it's a major mobile release for them."
"To me, it's a clear case of seeing how the mighty have fallen, and it's pretty sad because Capcom has inspired most of us here at Twisted Pixel to make games in the first place," he added.