I used to despise cloning too, thats why my Flappy came so late. But it all changed when I was seeing even established studios releasing their own versions, just for fun or to catch that wave...
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deve ... 0Inc&hl=en
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deve ... henanigans
And many more.
Here's the thing about your point regarding creativity: Flappy itself wasn't unique. There were games very similar to it, many years before it. Flappy Bird was a flop for many months UNTIL it was promoted by popular youtube reviewers. That got the press going.
Swing Copters isn't unique. It's a derivative of endless jumping games, many of them have lots of obstacles and whatnot. I see no creativity there to be honest with you.
If you, I or other nobody indie devs made the EXACT same game as Swing Copters and released it, nobody would give a shit (pardon my french). But the reason we all know about it and many want to play it ASAP, is because of the press and what it has given Dong Nguyen, fame.
I don't make a clone out of malice, to me, its riding the press wave. All the press want to devote themselves to cover the search term Swing Copters and so the potential free publicity is just waiting, if you don't do it quick, the opportunity is gone. Once the wave dies down, the press moves on to something else.
It took me 5 hours to make starting to online on the store, most of that time was spent hand drawing my own assets (stealing art assets is definitely crossing the line). If it can make me a few hundred $ for that 5 hrs, great, that's another device I can test my big games on. If I did not make any money with the Flappy clone, I would NOT have been able to afford porting games to iOS.
Your point regarding the profile of developers, I speak as a gamer, I don't care about what you've made that nobody plays. I care once you manage to make a hit, for many reasons (a good game itself is not a guarantee to success), and after that, your later games already have a good foundation/fame to start with.
Edit: Do you care that Noodlecake did multiple Flappy clones? I doubt it.
Edit2: Also let's not forget, a new game with a few copy cat is being cloned, but a lot? It's created a new genre. Think Endless runners, jumping, match 3, etc. I had some funny comments from Steam regarding my big game Star Nomad, they were saying "it's just a Space Ranger/SPAZ/Drox Operative clone!".. really, it's a bloody SPACESIM, all the games of this genre are similar.
Edit3: Lastly, regarding your creativity concern, here's my own take on a unique quick tap/puzzle game: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... rewallfree
I came up with the idea out of the blue. Is it a good game? I think so, as well as everyone who have tried it. The problem is I am a nobody, so no gaming site is gonna mention it (I've tried), so gamers out there don't even know it exists. Now if this game was mentioned and covered by popular youtube reviewers? I bet you it would have heaps of players. Thus, as much as its about creativity, talent and what else, marketing/publicity and pure dumb luck plays a major role. Which leads back to the other major point: Ride the press wave.