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Horrible / Smartphone Games

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As mentioned in the "Companies/Developers" section of the Other Horrible Video Games page, the iOS App Store and Android's Google Play market are filled with video game app developers that emphasize quantity over quality and are willing to use every trick in the book to get uninformed gamers to play their low-rate shovelware, most of which are blatant ripoffs of other more popular video games or IPs such as Spider-Man or Star Wars. As bad as those are, though, there are almost countless examples of such ripoffs on both devices to make pointing those things out worthwhile. That being said, there are some smartphone games that manage to stand out for one reason or another, regardless of what they are.

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  • 3D Cartoon Land: Safari, released in 2012 (and since removed from the App store). Ignoring the fact that this game was blatantly trying to capitalize on another popular and successful game that features a character in a red hat and blue overalls who jumps across platforms and stomps on brown monstrous mushrooms, the game just wasn't that good. The graphics were elementary-school-level cardboard collages at best with serious draw distance/pop-up problems, there was no sound save for a warbling out-of-place music loop, and the play control was utterly crippled.
  • Bob Bros. Legend of Time starts out as an utterly shameless ripoff of Super Mario 64 and goes downhill from there. The game only has one level which consists of a barebones Bob-omb Battlefield with no Cannons, Hazards, Warps, Physics, or NPCs. Bob (or Bruno, as he's strangely renamed in-game) is pretty barebones himself, being only able to jump and having only two (directly stolen) voice clips. The game's sole enemies are Goomba clones, which seem kind of pointless to include considering it's impossible to take damage or die. On top of all this, it's ridiculously easy to glitch through the walls and floor and fall right out of the level, which (due to the aforementioned inability to die) will result in Bob falling endlessly through an empty void.
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  • Chess Puzzles by Natalie London isn't even worth the free download. It's completely useless to learners because it throws you into puzzles without giving you any idea what you're supposed to do. The goal could be anything from "checkmate your opponent" to "pin a pawn" or "set up a stalemate trap", and the hint button just gives you the next move with zero explanation (unless it's one of the puzzles that always give you mid-puzzle hints that make the next move too obvious). There's no attempt to teach you how motifs and mating patterns actually work. Even if you're good enough to figure out the goal on your own, the game is still far from enjoyable due to its numerous other problems: It's extremely short at only 20 puzzles, it bombards you with ads (sometimes in the middle of a puzzle), it doesn't keep track of which puzzles you've solved, you have to click a pointless "Continue" button before you're allowed to respond to your opponent's moves, and the chessboard isn't even square. Thankfully, the app was eventually removed... but the equally bad Chess Puzzles. Checkmate. Improved Touch. popped up to replace it.
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  • Cup Hand Adventure is an endless runner that attempts to cash-in on Cuphead in the most lazy way possible. The graphics are completely generic, and the characters are blatant Captain Ersatzes of Cuphead and Mugman that have a drinking glass and bowl for a head, respectively. The gameplay is no better: you just walk forwards and jump to collect coins and avoid tree stumps (that kill you for some reason). The thing that pushes this game from "boring ripoff" into "horrible" is the presence of airplane powerups. They randomly appear, and touching one makes your character fly over the obstacles for a few seconds, but once it ends there's a good chance it'll drop you off right on top of a tree stump, ending the game instantly with nothing you could have done, effectively meaning any given airplane could be a Poison Mushroom that can't be distinguished from a safe powerup. Your jumps aren't high enough to avoid the airplanes, so not dying is completely a Luck-Based Mission. This video shows off the game if you're still curious. Vinesauce also covered it as the very first game of his Android Showcase series, noting he already wanted to die after playing it.
  • Reimagining a classic PC strategy game such as Dungeon Keeper for the smartphone generation is a tricky proposition since most of its target audience has never played the original. Unfortunately, Electronic Arts decided to do so in the worst way possible with Dungeon Keeper Mobile, a lame Clash of Clans clone in Dungeon Keeper's clothing and art assets inexplicably lifted from Minecraft. Among the game's numerous sins are constantly goading the player into spending money on overpriced in-app purchases to get around the long wait times for performing simple actions as building a single room (clearing a single map square, an action that took only a second or two in the original games, can take up to 24 hours here), throwing mean-spirited insults at fans of the original game (by using the old Bullfrog logo as an indicator of a destroyed room), and deliberately inflating the game's rating on the App Store by making it so that writing a 1-4 star review will redirect you to a service page rather than actually publishing the review. The backlash from players was immediate and fierce. Nerd³ makes his disdain for the game clear in this video, and Pete Davison wrote a lengthy article on USGamer.net sharply criticizing the game. The United Kingdom even banned EA from calling it afree” game. It also led to the death of Mythic Games, but unlike the company, the game still exists with it being maintained by the remains of employees leftover from the companies EA destroyed.
  • Fantasy Night of TouHou Project by PoQoP is described as "based on Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night", which is an understatement. It's so full of plagiarism note  that it's essentially an unauthorized port, and it still fails to capture what made the original enjoyable. For some reason, it does change many of the original (good) bullet patterns... for the worse. The new ones tend to be bizarre, not fit the characters using them, be much easier or harder than you'd expect from the stage they appear in, have poor design that leads to cheap deaths, be plain boring, or some combination of the above. To make matters worse, several attacks have the boss moving around a lot for no reason other than to make her difficult to hit, and the playable characters are too weak, which drags out the crappy patterns for longer than necessary - especially if you're using the weak Border Team, which is the only one that doesn't cost $1 to unlock (note that the app costs money in the first place). On top of this, the game displays ads that are easy to click by accident during gameplay. Other inexcusable flaws include a laggy engine, Engrishy instructions note , the omission of Reimu's and Eirin's battles note , dialogue bubbles pointing at the wrong characters, Kaguya's battle somehow having the wrong leitmotif, and the story losing its ending note . Predictably, the creator of Touhou got the app taken down, to the cheers of Touhou fans. A completely free version (still with ads, though) was later released on the App Store, but that one ended up disappearing too. Needless to say, it wasn't missed.
  • Godzilla: Strike Zone takes The Problem with Licensed Games to levels none would think fathomable. Released in 2014 to tie in with the reboot of Godzilla, the game is riddled with mountains of bugs and an overly sensitive motion-sensor; even slight iPad movements will knock the player way off to the side. There's tons of Fake Difficulty throughout which makes Flappy Bird look like the easiest game on Earth; one bit involves parachuting through a ravaged San Francisco, which has the buildings placed so impossibly close together that it's hard to navigate. The graphics look ugly as hell, even for a 2014 iPad app. There are only three levels, two of which have the same basic setup. And if you're Just Here for Godzilla, too bad: Godzilla only shows up in silhouetted glimpses in all three sequences where he chases you (only actually getting a proper appearance right at the end), while his M.U.T.O. opponents make no appearances at all beyond background noises. In addition, for being a first-person shooter-styled game, your character doesn't do a lot of shooting, using the gun only twice to destroy objects blocking the way. You'd think that when he doesn't need the gun, he'd lower it or holster it, but instead he lugs it around everywhere, blocking the view at times when it's needed the most. If you have to play this game, play the PC version - you'll quickly find that the horrible controls become much more bearable when you have the precision of a mouse and keyboard.
  • Geometry Blast, which is such a blatant ripoff of Geometry Dash it's not even funny. For starters, it only has three icons and no way to change your icon's color, and the forms (like the ball) are also stolen. The music is royalty-free, likely torn from a free website, not to mention the only three levels are exact copies of the first three levels in Geometry Dash, as not even a single spike is placed differently. Even the creator himself publicly admitted how ashamed he was for making it.
  • Rockman Xover, released in 2012 following the controversial cancellations of Mega Man Legends 3 and Mega Man Universe, was seen as a major "fuck you" to the franchise's fans by Capcom, especially considering that it fell around the 25th Anniversary of the Blue Bomber's first adventure. Most levels consisted of running forward automatically while jumping and/or shooting incoming waves of enemies, all of which went down in one hit. Your Buster even charged automatically, eliminating any sense of strategy from what someone might stretch to call "gameplay". Boss battles, often the highlight of Mega Man games, were no better, and simply boiled down to a repetitive turn-based battles where the player and boss traded shots until one of them (usually the boss) died. To add insult to injury, the graphics and sound all came from the disastrous iOS port of Mega Man X1, resulting in a game that not only played horribly but looked and sounded horrible on top of it. Even the most staunch defenders of the franchise had extreme difficulty finding anything good to say about this trainwreck, and for most fans it was proof positive that Capcom had given up on the franchise. The backlash from fans overseas was so intense that Capcom USA abandoned its plans to localize it (and for once, nobody minded). The game got multiple updates after release, which added original boss characters that were received well enough on their own that many fans wish they could just see in a '''real''' ''Mega Man'' game. Aside from a series of compilations, Xover was a Franchise Killer until Mega Man 11 in 2018. The game was finally pulled from the market in 2015.
  • RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 was the supposed mobile follow-up to the popular Rollercoaster Tycoon 3, except it combines the worst aspects of the aforementioned Dungeon Keeper Mobile with the worst aspects of free-to-play smartphone games. The game not only used to require money to buy alone, it also runs on a freemium system that's designed to rip off the player with the usual "pay real-life money to speed thing up" and cool features actually requiring real money to buy. To add insult to injury, when Atari tried to pacify the fans by saying there would be a more AAA-like experience on the PC, they ended up botching that up beyond all belief too, though for different reasons.
  • There did exist an Android game called "Send Me to Heaven" where the player must literally toss their device up into the air and catch it without breaking the phone, hence the name. The higher the phone is tossed, the higher their score. The game was planned to be published on the App Store, but Apple decided to ban the game to avoid having their devices broken. The app developer "Petr" said following the ban that "he hoped to know how many iPhones could have been shattered". Here is a demonstration video by Petr if you see this godforsaken mobile game in action.
  • SkullGirls 2: Deadly Airport is a shoddy excuse for a Fighting Game and pretty much the video game equivalent of Alien 2: On Earth. Luring in players with a false promise of a Skullgirls sequel, the game does little more than allow the player to select a character and display ads. Despite the title, the three characters available note  are from Final Fight and Street Fighter III, and the selection screen misleads the player by showing a lot of fake characters that cannot be selected. Once you've selected your character, another full-screen ad is displayed, and the game crashes and returns to the menu two seconds later, making the game completely unplayable. Even when the game works for more than 5 seconds, it barely works.
  • Super Monster Bros from Adventure Time Pocket Free (aka Mario Games Casas Team; not to be confused with Adventure Time). The gameplay is an obvious rip-off of Super Mario Bros. (Level 2-1 is a nearly exact copy of SMB's World 1-1), the graphics are heavily designed after Pokémon, and sound effects are stolen from various other games. The physics are occasionally inconsistent, and projectiles are too limited (not helped by the presence of boss enemies - blatant ripoffs of Mewtwo - that require multiple shots to pass). What makes this game truly monstrous, though, is the microtransactions that it constantly thrusts upon players; most of these purchases are ridiculously expensive, with the very first one a new player could be tricked into buying ("Role NO.1 and Unlock All") costing a whopping $99.99, on top of the game itself having a pricetag of $1.99. The game features loads of Fake Difficulty to make the player die as much as possible (which displays an ad and prompts the player to buy powerups). It is even almost identical to the related game Super Squirrel Bros. Even though the game has since been removed from the App Store, its notoriety remains a warning to parents who didn't supervise their children browsing the App Store, indicated in this article. Watch gameplay and commentary here.
  • The 2014 iOS port of Tales of Phantasia was one of the most infamous Allegedly Free Games on the App Store prior to its removal that same year. What was a pretty good RPG on the SNES and PlayStation and a less-so-but-still-playable RPG on the Game Boy Advance was butchered into nothing short of a blatantly cynical cash grab for iOS. Difficulty settings were cut entirely, locking the players into the hardest difficulty setting and item prices in stores are doubled, resulting in a game that was nigh-unwinnable without the use of microtransactions. Worst of all, a constant internet connection was required to play, despite it being a single-player game without any social elements, meaning the game was unplayable after being pulled and all the money anyone spent on it went down the drain.
  • For a short time in 2011, a bootleg app bearing the name Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shuffled onto the App Store, and it was one of the lowest of attempts at sapping money off of unaware consumers. Hardcore Gaming 101's "Your Weekly Kusoge" article on the game is quick to mention that it had absolutely nothing to do with TMNT: it was actually a poorly-coded and poorly-drawn Cabal clone with a background stolen from the first stage of Contra, with two spots very badly filtered over to mask the source material. The screen was filled to the brim with numbers with indecipherable meaning, and the score failed to reset when you died.
  • TIGG, short for The Irate Gamer Game, is a blatant reskin of Commander Cool which fails on the merits of even that, thanks to horrid controls, unintuitive gameplay (including misleading backgrounds), paucity of individual enemy types, absence of checkpoints, tendency to hemorrhage health powerups, and its story, composed wholly of constant, unfunny references and told exclusively via cutscenes. On top of all that, the plug for the full version in the demo is riddled with misspellings of simple words ("enimies" and "Eveil Gamer"). The only thing it has in its favor is good art direction, and even that can't make it worth the $4. It has completely disappeared from the App Store. See 8-Bit Eric's review on this game.
  • Zanda: Linked Swords (later known as "Zenda"), released by "Top Best Adult Entertainment", was advertised as an adventure game on the iTunes App Store before it was pulled. Even ignoring its visual similarities to The Legend of Zelda games, it was even worse than that, having no plot, repetitive stock music, and gameplay that was both barebones and broken (even if the player's health reaches zero, there's no way to die). Also, it sells itself as an original game when it's actually a hastily edited and unfinished GameSalad template. Justin Davis from IGN took a peek at this game while it was still available.
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