We've had it up to here with the FarmVille clones, but it seems the next big game for developers to play copycat with may be CityVille. Because Wonderful City Rio -- or as it's known in Portuguese, Cidade Maravilhosa -- is essentially a CityVille clone with a Brazilian flavor.
Developed by a Miami-based game publisher Mentez LLC, Mentez last made the news on our blog when they helped localize Zynga game cards for Latin America and Mexico. Mentez also has a partnership with Playdom, where they adapted Market Street into Paraíso das Compras. I mention these things because it shows that Mentez has been quite intimate with the companies and the games of the companies it's mimicking. Another thing that needs to be said is that despite Wonderful City Rio never playing like anything but CityVille, it actually may be more fun than Zynga's original.
I mean, consider Angry Birds Rio for a second. There's just something bigger, brighter, more colorful, more dramatic (check out that gigantic statue of Jesus!), and glamorous about a real, sun-dappled, wave-lapped locale like Rio than an everytown such as CityVille. Other than that, the games might as well be identical. Now the Wonderful City Rio, which has had success on Google's Orkut and the global Latino social network, Quepasa.com, has landed on Facebook with plans to expand into Mexico and Colombia. We can only wonder what Zynga thinks of this. It's one thing to crack down on Vostu which is another company transforming Zynga's games for the Portuguese audience, but Mentez is a business partner of theirs, so I can only assume that Zynga approves.