StoneLoops! of Jurassica is fantastic marble-shooter that Bonnie proclaimed “sets a new standard for Zuma-style match-3s” in her initial review. Have you rushing off to the App Store? Well, don’t bother. Recently, StoneLoops was removed from the App Store by Apple and is no longer available for download. As it turns out, this act was perpetrated by MumboJumbo, the developers of the main genre competitor, Luxor.
According to the developer of StoneLoops, Code Minion (full blog post here), MumboJumbo’s reason for doing this was StoneLoops’s success. In fact, this assertion seems to be largely substantiated. When they both existed as PC games, Luxor far overshadowed the little-known StoneLoops. However, when it came to the iPhone, the tables turned. Code Minion beat MumboJumbo in the race to the App Store, and StoneLoops enjoyed a sustained high rank in the top paid apps list while Luxor languished.
The full story goes like this: a few weeks ago, Apple relayed Code Minion a formal complaint and request to remove StoneLoops from the App Store, originally filed by MumboJumbo. According to Code Minion, the complaint involved “infringing Luxor copyright, confusing customers, stealing Luxor’s look & feel and even stealing their source code!” Most of these claims are simply outrageous, and if you’ve ever played the two games, the differences are apparent. Code Minion replied to Apple, refuting the claims that they found erroneous and even offering to change a few things on StoneLoops’s app description. Code Minion assumed Apple ruled in their favor when weeks passed without any reply, but discovered otherwise when they learned StoneLoops was no longer available in the App Store.
There are several reasons why MumboJumbo’s actions are repulsive and hypocritical. First, of course, Luxor is not an original game. All marble shooters are derived from the 1998 Japanese game Puzz Loop, and most established iteration on the formula is Popcap’s 2003 game Zuma. In addition, there are multiple other Zuma-like games on the App Store, though MumboJumbo only chose to attack their closest competitor. Ironically, when Code Minion was deciding on a publisher for StoneLoops, they talked with MumboJumbo before settling on Playcreek. MumboJumbo was shown the game, and never expressed any doubts about possible copyright infringement. This incident sets a dangerous precedent in the App Store that could be easily exploited by other developers.
Please note that MumboJumbo has not yet commented on the incident with their side of the story.