Unpacking clone hit top of Apple App Store charts, then vanished

A clone based on indie game Unpacking reached the top of the Apple App Store on Monday night, sparking a viral conversation that came to the attention of the original developers — but it has since been removed. Witchbeam Games, the team behind the original game, was alerted of the clone, titled Unpacking Master, after concerned fans started to bring TikTok ads for the clone to their attention.

The official Unpacking Twitter account posted about the clone on Monday.

“While we’ve seen many imitators already, usually they don’t get much traction,” a follow-up tweet explained. “This one however is currently at the top of the charts for free games on iOS due to tons of advertising on TikTok and Instagram.”

As of this morning, Unpacking Master is no longer available on the App Store or on the Google Play store.

Unpacking — a zen puzzle game about … well, unpacking — came out in November 2021. It became the second most popular indie game on Nintendo Switch for the year, praised for its calming gameplay and intense attention to detail.

This is not the first time Apple has removed high-profile clones from the App Store, even within the last month. Earlier in January, copycats of popular word game Wordle disappeared from the store (though a few without “Wordle” in the name still remain). There has, however, been no official statement from Apple as to why the games were removed. Polygon has reached out to Apple for further comment on the removal of Unpacking Master.

The real Unpacking is available on Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

Update (Jan. 27): SayGames, the developer behind Unpacking Master, provided the following statement regarding the situation.

We’d like to apologize for our lack of research prior to launching the game from one of the developers we work with.
The game clearly resembles ‘Unpacking’ and this resemblance goes way beyond the game title. We messed up and we apologize.
We have pulled the ‘Unpacking Master’ from Google Play, the game is no longer available for download on both iOS and Android.
We have also got in touch with Witch Beam to discuss how we can resolve this.

We’ve reached out to clarify what exactly SayGames means by prelaunch “research.”