Mobile gaming

A Chinese imitation of a hit Japanese frog game has emerged. Then vanished after complaints

Players say they bought the game believing it was a genuine Chinese version of popular Tabi Kaeru, from Japan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 11:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 10:58pm

Apple has removed a game from its app store in China after users complained they paid 30 yuan (US$4.70) for what they thought was a Chinese-language “travel frog” game that turned out to be a copycat version, a Shanghai newspaper reports. 

The popular Tabi Kaeru, or “travel frog”, is dominating the free download category on Apple’s app store in China, while a topic for the game on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, has been viewed 400 million times. Developed by Hit-Point, the game is available only in Japanese. 

But on Tuesday, a game purporting to be its Chinese version – called Travel Frog and developed by Song Yang – became available for download on Apple’s paid apps store, Shanghai Morning Post reported on Thursday. 

It was offered in 14 languages, including traditional and simplified Chinese.

Distinguished from the original only by a full stop at the end of the name, it shot to the top of the chart for paid games.

By Wednesday, it had received nearly 8,000 reviews from users, many of them negative.

Some complained that they had expected the game to be a Chinese version of the Japanese one, but said it was more like a copy of the jumping game Tiao Yi Tiao, from social network WeChat, using a frog character that was similar to Tabi Kaeru.

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“Have I downloaded the wrong thing? Why isn’t this the game my friends recommended?!” one review read.

“What a disgrace!! It’s obviously a scam! I must give a negative rating and remind everyone, this is a shameless low-quality copycat!” another said.

Players were also angry that long adverts had been placed between games.

Apple’s app store came under fire for allowing the game to be sold and it has since been removed from the listings.

Apple and Hit-Point have yet to respond to queries from the South China Morning Post

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Players of Tabi Kaeru collect clover leaves and use them to buy food and other items to help the frog in its travels around the world. The frog later returns with “gifts” and snapshots of where it has been for the player.