Apple’s often baffling App Store ban hammer has fallen again.
Developer Rusty Lake has had all of its games pulled for supposedly being spam and “looking identical” — despite the fact that they are genuine (and popular) games. It has told fans that it hopes this is an automated removal and that its titles will be back soon.
Apple enforces strict App Store guidelines designed to protect its users from all kinds of abuse. In most cases, those guidelines are a good thing, and they really work. But in others, they lead to the removal of genuine titles that seem to confuse App Store reviewers (or systems).
Rusty Lake’s games are a perfect example of the later.
Rusty Lake games disappear from iOS
The puzzle adventure game Rusty Lake Paradise, as well as Cube Escape — another title from the same developer — were pulled from the App Store this week. According to Rusty Lake, Apple says they are spam and that they look “identical” to other titles.
Of course, the games aren’t spam, and though they may look similar, that’s simply because they are set in the same world. They are entirely different games, with different characters and puzzles; they certainly weren’t created to dupe players into coughing up for the same title.
Obviously Apple has messed up (again) in this case. Rusty Lake hopes that the removal was automated — not carried out by an actual human — and that the problem can be rectified quickly. But as things stand, we have no idea if or when its games will return.
What about the actual clones?
What’s ironic and frustrating about this ban is that, as Touch Arcade notes, there are plenty of actual clones in the App Store that seem to survive Apple’s rules. Search for a popular title like PUBG Mobile and you’ll find a ton of games that are identical, but not the real thing.
It’s unclear how these slip through the net, while Apple continues to ban genuine apps and games for confusing and nonsensical reasons.