Apple prides itself on their strict guidelines and screening process for the apps that can be sold in their App Store. They have a number of rules that cover functionality, quality, content, payment, and of course trademarks and copyrights. Suffice it to say that there are a number of reasons that the iPhone app you’ve been working on can possibly be rejected at any given time. So given this strict attitude towards software written by third-party developers, what happens when an app submitted breaks almost all of Apple’s rules? Generally, the app is rejected and the developer can file an appeal with the review board. However, certain apps somehow still fall through the cracks.
Recently available on the App Store (August 18, to be precise) was a game that marketed itself as one based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Now of course when one thinks of TMNT, there are a number of things that come to mind – turtles named after artists, heroes in a half shell trained in the art of ninjutsu, a healthy amount of pizza being crushed by said turtles, and an overuse of old surfer slang, i.e. “cowabunga” and/or “radical.” Sadly, much to the dismay and outrage of many Apple customers, this game included none of the above.
The game was made by Vietnamese developer Namphuong Star, who convinced customers with a $5 price tag that it was authentic and official, even going as far as to sport a licensed TMNT logo in its app description. Opening the app reveals a very different story. In addition to not having any turtles, there’s no functionality, and the game sprites and backgrounds are flat out stolen from other games. Look at the screenshot up there. Look familiar to anyone? Because it sure looks like Konami’s Contra to me. I remember a pop-out cannon in that blotched out region of the cliff there, and I don’t even know where to begin with those little army men (?) that must have taken all of 40 seconds to draw in MS Paint.
This game is horrible straight through to the core, not just on it’s ridiculous surface. You see, in addition to lying and tricking customers into purchasing it, the developer rewards their purchase with an app that simply does not function, as well as a support site shilling Apple accessories instead of fixing the issues. Reviews of the game reflected the plight of those who purchased it, but the following three seem to address all the problems present with this particular piece of software: