A game that appears to be in clear breach of several copyright and trademark laws has slipped through Apple’s notoriously strict screening process.
The iPhone manufacturer has allowed a Vietnamese developer, known as Dang Van Phuong, to publish a $5 bootleg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game (pictured) onto the App Store.
It is not thought Dang Van Phuong owns a Ninja Turtles licence. Customers have complained of being misled into thinking the game was official. One review said “there seems to be no way to actually interact with the game”.
Nickelodeon owns the rights to the TMNT brand and is making a new animation for 2013, said Licensing.biz editor Samantha Loveday.
It is likely a game will be part of that deal, Loveday added.
According to games blog Destructoid, Dang Van Phuong’s app also appears to using assets from existing games such as Contra and Metal Slug.
The game, which was published by Apple more than six weeks ago, brings into dispute the reliability of Apple’s App Review Board.
Apple was not available for comment when contacted by Develop.
The game’s logo is an exact replica of the official Turtles emblem and displayed next to its App Store description.
One customer review read:
“I bought this game for my grandson, he loves the TMNT!! This game has no directions we can't figure out how to play, or even how to restart the game. There aren't any turtles in the game. A total waste of $5”
“The character immediately slides off the side of the screen. There seems to be no way to actually interact with the game. And there doesn't seem to be any way to start a new game. The use of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters on the splash screen are almost certainly infringement; the blob that slides off the screen during the actual game isn't identifiable as a turtle. Or much of anything.
“Visiting the developer website and the support site both go to the same spammy, Vietnamese-language website selling iPhone and iPod accessories. There doesn't appear to be any actual support. Deleted and requested refund.”