Indie Metroidvania Mysplaced surfaced as part of IGN’s Rogue Jam (opens in new tab) funding competition and immediately sparked critical comparisons to the 2019 Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake, which developer Clearskygames proudly references.
Soheyl Ghiami, half of the studio’s two-person team – with the other member being his wife – discussed the game’s origins and ambitions in a video from IGN. Mysplaced tells the story of “a hero who finds himself in a world that he doesn’t belong to,” Ghiami explained. “Soon he starts getting clues that he’s misplaced in this world. The objective for the hero is to find a way out of this world, and at the same time, there is another objective for players to discover – the mystery of why the hero is misplaced.”
Even the plot summary smacks somewhat of Link’s titular and mysterious awakening, and Ghiami was quick to acknowledge the overlap with Zelda: “[This was inspired] by the Legend of Zelda game series, the look and feel of it, but it’s different from what you see in Zelda,” he said. “Mysplaced is a Metroidvania game, it’s not linear. There are many ways to play this game and finish this game.”
“Our goal has been to inherit the stylized tone of the Link’s Awakening remake,” he adds. “We are different in the gameplay and story. It’s not designed linearly. And the basic Zelda-like attack system that you see in the demo is replaced with more robust combo attacks.”
The first extended (and, on YouTube, unlisted) trailer for Mysplaced was met with (opens in new tab) some accusations of plagiarizing or otherwise ripping off Link’s Awakening, but while it is easy to find similarities in the art – especially some smaller details like the vines, pots, signs, raised wall accents, and rounded door frames – this doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that will necessarily rankle Nintendo’s notoriously hawk-eyed lawyers.
The Link’s Awakening remake wasn’t the first game with a cute, miniature-type aesthetic, and it came out nearly three years ago, so it’s not like Mysplaced was rushed out the door like the cash-in lookalikes which often pop up on mobile game stores. The comparisons to Link’s Awakening are understandable – and, to some extent, arguably a good thing since that’s what Clearskygames was clearly going for – but they don’t seem to tread into accusation territory.
Speaking of Nintendo’s lawyers: that fan-made PC port of Ocarina of Time looks stunning and has thus far evaded any sort of DMCA, as its development team claimed it would.