Semi Secret Software’s amazingly popular endurance running game Canabalt, appears to be the latest victim of App Theft.

Imagine my surprise, when I was looking through this morning’s latest batch of free titles, and I see the screenshots attached to a new game called Free Running, look JUST like Canabalt. I thought it must just be a marketing stunt to grab buyers’ attentions and it must be a different game. Low and behold, when I downloaded the game, I was for all intents and purposes, presented with Canabalt (right down to Danny Baranowsky’s infectious soundtrack). You can see screenshot comparisons below.

Developer PLD Soft (who’s weblink goes to a non-existent site) have copied the game screen for screen, changed the name to Free Running and republished it with a new title screen, minor changes to the “About” screen this time crediting the game to Nash and American Idol’s Adam Lambert (adding insult to injury), and colorizing the words on the ‘Game Over’ and ‘Pause’ screens. There are no leaderboards, twitter or Game Center support like the original Canabalt game.

Frankly, I cannot believe that this made it past the Apple review board. With Canabalt being such a high profile title, you would have thought someone would have recognized this as a copy! I hate to even bring attention to this inferior game for fear that it may take away sales from the real Canabalt game, but I think it’s important to bring injustices like this to light as soon as possible before too much damage is done. If you haven’t downloaded the title, don’t, if you have, I recommend giving it a one-star rating and reporting it to Apple.

It should be noted that last December Semi Secret Software DID make their source code publicly available. Although I’m certain their intent was not for some greedy sleezy lazy developer to basically just recompile the code and release the game as their own, with a new name. It’s worth noting that the leaderboard code was not included, explaining why Free Running doesn’t have any leaderboards.

In fact the stipulations of use were the following “However, the Canabalt-specific game code, game art, animation, music and sound effects are all proprietary, and protected by our copyrights and trademarks. That is, you can copy-paste our engine code (any of the Flixel stuff, which is most of the good stuff anyways), and even sell it on the App Store, but you can’t distribute or redistribute our game code, art or sounds.” So it would be my understanding that this Canabalt clone is in direct violation of these terms. The publisher has now raised the price of Free Running from FREE to 99¢ with a regular price of $2.99 (if it stays on the app store that long).