This weekend saw two apps land in the App Store which not only cashed in on someone else’s IP, but also didn’t look anything like the provided screenshots — which raises the question: are the App Store reviewers asleep at the wheel?
Every now and then on the app store, you’ll run across a title which claims to be part of a major franchise, but is often a cheap knockoff. A while back there was a run on Pokémon related games, all of which were fake — but two titles that landed this weekend were particularly egregious.
The first one just wholesale used the name of the popular indie game Terraria. The app, unsurprisingly also called “Terraria“, used screenshots from the official game, and a description that seemed more or less accurate. Unfortunately, the iOS game is not associated with the real title, and to quote one of the reviews, “Yeahp, this is a crappy fake game about a cheese man something and if I could I would get mah money back.”
The second title is a more obviously fake one, and even more brazen for it. MineKart 64 mashes up MarioKart and MineCraft. The screenshots are from the latter with logos from the former — but the app itself is neither. One reviewer said of it “this is nothing as pictured and it is just a very poor top down racing game. DO NOT BUY. I am returning this ASAP.”
You’d think that Apple would pull apps like this pretty quickly, but the same company behind MineKraft 64 has had a thinly veiled Legend of Zelda ripoff in the App Store since May, which is apparently entirely non-functional after just one minute of playing.
So, if the apps are totally unstable and look completely unlike the submitted screenshots — how in the hell are these getting approved by Apple? This isn’t some deep and weird bug, these are fundamentally flawed titles that would have sent up a red flag if they’d even so much as been launched.
Isn’t that meant to be the strength of Apple controlling the App Store so heavily? That horrible and non-functional apps like this don’t slip through?