NimbleBit fans are giving Zynga’s Dream Heights a bad rap in app store reviews

By Kathleen De Vere Comment

The public relations fiasco around Dream Heights doesn’t appear to be easing for Zynga. Since the game’s formal release yesterday, the title has been pummeled by poor reviews calling out Zynga for copying independent developer NimbleBit and its hit game Tiny Tower.

At the time of writing, 85 percent of the game’s 387 total reviews were one star, pulling the game’s average rating down to 1.5 stars out of five.

The cloning controversy around the title has been well documented ever since NimbleBit’s Ian Marsh took to Twitter on Jan. 24 to complain about the similarities between Dream Heights — then only available in the Canadian App Store — and Tiny Tower.

Marsh later revealed that NimbleBit had turned down an acquisition offer from Zynga. For his part, Ian Marsh has been subtly encouraging NimbleBit fans to leave poor reviews for the app and pointing out some of the Dream Heights’ few favorable reviews were written by Zynga employees.

Although Dream Heights was soft-launched in the Canadian App Store at the same time as Zynga’s Dream PetHouse, the company held off on releasing the game, likely to give the fall-out time to die down. We covered some of the subtle differences between the two titles yesterday.

Regardless of the similarities or differences between the two titles, Zynga is standing by the game. The company’s blog post announcing the game’s official launch makes a subtle reference to Tiny Tower’s influence on the title, stating:

Like many classic games, tower-themed games have been around for years, and we’re truly huge fans of the existing games that have preceded Dream Heights. We’re committed to making our games as fun and social as possible, and we hope to “build” (pun intended!) on the tower genre by making Dream Heights the most social tower game yet.