The indie studio behind an artistic title exploring the sensation of sexual pleasure has lashed out at Apple after it was told to drastically alter its game to be approved for release on the iOS App Store.
Lovable Hat Cult’s La Petite Mort is designed as a virtual way for players to experience bringing a vagina to orgasm. The app’s core ‘gameplay’ consists of a full-screen display of the pixelated sexual organ in question, which players must touch and rub slowly to reach the game’s (literal) climax.
While Lovable Hat Cult positioned the app as a tasteful exploration of sex, the game was flagged by Apple during its review process as containing potentially ‘objectionable’ material.
The studio told Kotaku that Apple provided it with a list of “what would be needed to make the application accepted, which was; the name ([the European Apple representative] was French and understood the meaning of the “La Petite Mort”, “the little death”), the 20x30 pixeled images should be changed, the sounds should be modified, so, well, basically the whole game”.
According to Lovable Hat Cult, its contact at Apple said: “‘You are actually touching a sexual organ in the app. It’s not what you show, but it’s what it is. Even if you are not showing it directly. It’s what is simulated, and that is the issue,’ he concluded.”
“So asking us to basically make a different game is what my takeaway was.”
The representative himself sympathised with the developer’s plight, indicating that the App Store’s global reach was partially to blame.
“For me, and for you as Europeans, we don’t find it objectionable,” he allegedly said. “We are probably very open-minded. But the application needs to be available for a very wide audience.”
Lovable Hat Cult refused to alter La Petit Mort, leading the game to currently only be available through Android’s competing Google Play store.
The studio is just one of many to fall foul of Apple’s tight restrictions on App Store games; titles including Papers Please, The Binding of Isaac and The Shadows of War have been blocked from release for factors ranging from nudity and violence towards children to making a perceived political statement.
In the case of The Shadows of War, developer Rasheed Abueideh was told to re-register his game under the ‘News or Reference’ categories to reflect its portrayal of real-life events set in war-afflicted Gaza.