The Plot Thickens!

I feel like I’ve uncovered a conspiracy and I have no idea what to do with the information!

I emailed both Kusuma Sruthi and Pavan Kumar asking them why they had felt the need to submit their game multiple times to the Windows 8 store. I wasn’t really expecting a response. Yet both replied, pretty quickly, saying that they were told to do it but would remove the duplicates if I told them to. Was my email written with such authority?

Both claim to have been contacted by POOJA PATIL and told “to upload our apps with DIFFERENT NAMES and with SAME SOURCE CODE”. Whilst Pavan Kumar claimed not to have contact details he did say that she was from Microsoft. Kusuma Sruthi was more forthcoming with both a microsoft.com email address and an Indian mobile number. A brief Googling confirms the existence of a Pooja Patil with this phone number working for Microsoft to organise the Windows 8 Guiness World Record attempt in Bangalore.

Why would someone from Microsoft have told these two developers to submit their game multiple times? Were they really so desperate for apps that they encouraged this cloning? Were they really expecting that no one would notice?

I feel on a mission now to find a third developer to confirm this suspicion! Have you noticed any clones in the store?

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Kusuma Sruthi

It seems Pavan has a rival for the “Most Cloned Apps” award! Kusuma is already up to 22 and shows little sign of slowing. On the bright side, he has bothered to upload different screenshots, the games have different backgrounds, and some subtle gameplay differences (different images on Levels 2 & 3, sometimes). My Start screen is now covered in tiles which look like a child was let lose with MSPaint and Comic Sans!

I have actually already reviewed two of these apps! I noticed Brain Drain and Mind Game before, as the first example of this interesting cloning approach developers seem to be taking.

How do you choose between these?

MasterBrain
MasterBrain
Revive
Revive
Read-Write
Read-Write
Zin Spel
Zin Spel
Call Up
Call Up
Passa
Passa
RandomCache
RandomCache
Minni Stoova
Minni Stoova
Re-Call
Re-Call
Juego de Memoria
Juego de Memoria
Memorie Verificare
Memorie Verificare
Memoria Jatek
Memoria Jatek
MemoDial
MemoDial
REFULGO
REFULGO
UYGUN
UYGUN
RandomBox
RandomBox
FlashReen
FlashReen
MatchUp
MatchUp
Trace Back
Trace Back
Remind
Remind
BRAIN DRAIN
BRAIN DRAIN
Mind Game
Mind Game

If you sort by New Releases there’s a sea of apps with no store logos and most of them belong to this developer. This game isn’t all that much fun to start with. There’s a bug whereby if you start a game and then return home it still takes you to the questions screen when the timer runs out (even though you can’t see the timer anymore!) They don’t work in snapped mode, and obviously the reason I first checked them was because they had no store logo.

Once again we question how has the store team not noticed? Why are these people doing this? When is the madness going to end?!

Pavan Kumar – Who are you?

As of now, this developer has 13 copies of the same game in the store! We’re sort of hoping that he’s trying to make a point, about Microsoft letting in rubbish and not paying enough attention to clones, or something. I fear they’re actually just having fun spamming the store with the same rubbish over and over again!

How do you choose between these?

DIFFUSE THE BOMB
DIFFUSE THE BOMB
brain-champ
brain-champ
find-the-bomb
find-the-bomb
tic-tac
tic-tac
memory-check
memory-check
diffuse it
diffuse it
memory champ
memory champ
BLOW UP
BLOW UP
funny pairs
funny pairs
BRAIN CHAMP
BRAIN CHAMP
stop the bomb
stop the bomb
miss match
miss match
find the bomb
find the bomb

The answer is simple, you don’t. The game wasn’t worth the download to start with, and having now checked all 13 to make sure I wasn’t missing some subtle differences, I can assure you that it’s not worth your time!

How has no one on the store team noticed this? He hasn’t even bothered to use a screenshot from the actual game for each one. The title screen in the game is actually different colours and has the actual name of the app, whereas the screenshots are almost all identical!

Come on Microsoft, sort this out!

Calling out Pavan Kumar

Today I found an even better example of the rubbish. One developer, Pavan Kumar, has submitted the same app 7 times to the store! Sure, they all have slightly different names (why is one masquerading as tic tac toe?!) and even slight differences (the menu screen has slight colour variations, and one app lets you replay level 5 if you fail whereas the others don’t), but they are the same.

As I’m not Pavan, I’m only going to write my review once, but you can assume it’s the same for all 7 apps!

DIFFUSE THE BOMB

The Rubbish

A simple memory match game. Strangely lets you tap cards whilst the images are still visible. Adds a timer element so if you’re too slow the bomb explodes and you have to repeat the level.

The UI is terrible – the buttons on the title screen get larger when you hover over them causing everything to bounce around. In game, the “Replay” button is often larger than the “New Level” button, and they change position each level. Your score is labelled “U’R SCORE” – seriously?! There is no consistency in the UI, each level moves everything about slightly for no good reason.

The game doesn’t maintain leaderboards or even a top score so there’s no replay value.

Oh, and did I mention, 7 of the same game?! That’s just ridiculous!

Failure Reasons

  • No app icon
  • Does not work in snapped mode
  • Cloned to the extreme!

Store Details

Games / Puzzle
Age rating: 3+
Developer: PavanKumar

Description

Are you in search of a fun giving app ?then here is an app which provides you with what you want.It also keeps a check on your memory power and observation skill.
Process: You will be shown a number of similar images (based upon the levels) for a seconds and will disappear.You have to match the similarly looking images to diffuse the bomb.

Features

fun giving game
tests your observation skill

Link

http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/d542307c-b565-40d7-9dda-a6f6d200e991
OR
http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/6342a2b5-6260-4005-ad54-a1ed0a9bd296
OR
http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/8c5bd113-20c9-49a2-8907-c14ff8ca4e8c
OR
http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/479a3a5e-7659-492c-9b5d-a6c04aa9f3e9
OR
http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/2f79f582-300a-472b-b018-b0f23b17aae8
OR
http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/bc80ac0d-e53a-4d66-86ae-739a09dd4ec4
OR
http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/05706c67-8402-4589-9f47-3ce4c2d9e715

TickyTackyToe

TickyTackyToe

The Rubbish

The first implementation of Tic Tac Toe which includes a computer player. Obviously that means a whole lot of tied games and not a lot of fun. Although somehow I did manage to win a couple of times, so there’s a fault with their logic somewhere!

For the game to be fun, it could do with a difficulty level. Small children will become very frustrated at losing all the time. Adults will tie basically every time. Or perhaps, implement a 2-player version as well, so that you can ‘practise’ against the computer and then play with a friend.

Amazingly, this game does work in snapped mode. It gets all squished out of proportion and looks silly, but it does actually work!

There are some typos in the game, including a ‘Policy Statement’ which I can only assume was supposed to be Privacy Statement as that needs including in most apps (although since this one doesn’t use the internet, it doesn’t need one at all!)

Failure Reasons

  • No app icon

Store Details

Games / Puzzle
Age rating: 7+
Developer: GeekLoganator

Description

Ticky Tacky Toe is game which requires thinking and skills to challenge the intelligence of the computer. Although this game is simple, it is too fun and addictive. Have fun enjoying this nostalgic game

Features

Challenging AI
Continuous hours of play

Link

http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/943a9e68-ea17-4763-82d4-753648977852

TickTackToe

TickTackToe

The Rubbish

This is probably the best implementation of Tic Tac Toe we’ve seen so far. It can actually detect wins and plays reasonably nicely.

The UI needs a bit of thought though – the messages at the bottom which say who won are tiny in comparison to the rest of the UI. The player scores are shown in text boxes which I can edit! The X’s and O’s are very small in their boxes too.

With a little bit of work, an app icon, and making snapped mode work, this could actually be an okay app. But for now, it gets listed here!

Failure Reasons

  • No app icon
  • Does not work in snapped mode

Store Details

Games / Kids
Age rating: 7+
Developer: Vishaka B

Description

Tic-tac-toe, also called noughts and crosses (in the British Commonwealth countries), X’s and O’s (in Ireland) and X and 0 (in India) is a pencil-and-paper game for two players, X and O, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The X player usually goes first. This application is developed for kids. Its a tiny game created for kids.

Features

Tic-Tac-toe

Link

http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/en-us/app/ticktacktoe/dd04e497-c193-4fb4-ae96-856c8e8d098e

FunZone

FunZone

The Rubbish

This game has two modes! Unfortunately, neither of them made any sense. Wheel of fortune just appeared to spin randomly and change numbers randomly and I have no idea what was supposed to happen. Lucky 7 I eventually worked out after deciphering the terribly written instructions – you have to place bets on whether the total of the spin numbers will be lower than 7, exactly 7, or higher than 7. Given the numbers were always pairs, I don’t think it could ever get to 7!

The UI is terrible – the tap areas on the buttons felt very wrong, it took quite a while to find the help, and there was no real feedback as to whether you won or lost. Amazingly, it didn’t crash when I entered letters in the bet boxes, but it wasn’t very happy about it either!

Failure Reasons

  • No app icon
  • Does not work in snapped mode

Store Details

Games / Arcade
Age rating: 12+
Developer: dharsha

Description

This app checks your fortune with two games such as Lucky 7,Wheel of fortune,and the
other game checks your Eye concentration by catching the moving ball.

Features

Fun giving game.
Increases Eye concentration.
Checks your Fortune.

Link

http://apps.microsoft.com/webpdp/app/856b186e-4e53-443f-8f60-087efe066533