Zynga is bringing Montopia to Western shores. It looks awfully familiar.
It's safe to say that Zynga doesn't have a reputation for uninhibited creativity. The social media giant has been hit with a number of accusations of plagiarism since it was founded in 2007, not least amongst them being the honking great big lawsuit brought by EA earlier this year. Montopia, one of two Japanese games from Zynga Japan that are just now being released in the western market, isn't doing much to dispel Zynga's copycat rep.
Stop me if this sounds familiar: Montopia is an RPG for mobiles in which players collect cutesy, element-themed creatures (to fill out their "monstapedia") and have them fight against other players' monsters. Now, Pokemon didn't invent the monster-battling genre, it just popularized it, but Montopia's artwork does seem shockingly familiar.
While there's a clear line of influence from Pokemon to Montopia, the gameplay actually has more in common with another popular social game, DeNA's Rage of Bahamut.
Obviously, Montopia is different enough from both games to avoid legal repercussions. The title has been out in Japan for nearly eight months and Game Freak hasn't unleashed its team of lawyermon. Though that could have something to do with the fact Nintendo, and by extension Game Freak, have no interest in the mobile market.
Montopia went live today, and Zynga plans to release its other Japan-only title, Ayakashi: Ghost Guild, in the coming weeks.