When a tech company rolls out a user-friendly, profit-generating application, dozens of others in the industry attempt their own versions, struggling to keep within patented parameters and away from copyright infringements. Many will try, and fail, to boost sales of a copycat app. Consumers are then faced with the question: which app is better? Is it worth it to spend the 99 cents (or more) on a less-advertised download or stick with the popularized free version that might be just as good, or vice versa? Here’s a look at some of the digital world’s most featured applications and their alternatives.
Candy Crush (Free) vs. Smiles HD ($$)
Anyone with an app-enabled smartphone has heard of Candy Crush, whether or not they’ve actually played it (or admitted to playing it), but an extremely similar game, Smiles HD, seems to have been around longer. The sweets matching app costs nothing, unless the user chooses to purchase extras, such as more lives or a candy hammer, while the veggie-packed alternative costs $3.99 on the iTunes App Store. Candy Crush has hundreds (and hundreds) of levels to be passed, while Smiles HD offers three modes of play and unlockable achievements.
In conclusion: Both games are colorful and cutesy, with parallel strategy and progression of difficulty, and even happy music, but Candy Crush offers virtually continuous gaming for no cost to the gamer.
Temple Run (Free) vs. Ski Safari ($)
Was Temple Run the game to set off a cult following for endless running games? That cannot be determined, but it continues to be one of the most popular apps ever, with over 500 million players. Gamers run and run (and run), collecting coins as they do, just to run some more. Ski Safari is endless skiing; users guide Sven through avalanches and on adventures with animals to level-up.
In conclusion: When it comes to a continuous movement game of any kind, it’s always better to opt for the free app. Choose Temple Run.
Angry Birds ($) vs. Crazy Penguin Catapult (Free)
Before Candy Crush, and even before Temple Run, there was Angry Birds, the game of sling-shots, birds, and mischievous green pigs. The app stills reigns as the #1 paid iPhone game in over 60 countries and has grown to now include over 500 levels, as well as power-ups and secret levels. However, the game is prone to advertisements and external links, despite purchase, which can take away from the fun. Crazy Penguin Catapult, a completely free alternative, involves flinging penguins at polar bears to free captive birds and features two play modes and three maps.
In conclusion: Though Angry Birds has added to its original interface and created more than one spinoff (Angry Birds Rio!, anyone?), one can only play so many variations of the same thing (the addictive qualities of Candy Crush are hard to duplicate). Download Crazy Penguin Catapult for no charge and play essentially the same game for less money.