Early this morning, an inauthentic copy of Cuphead appeared on the iOS App Store, and was promptly removed hours later. Listed as $4.99, this version looked to be an official port and was playable, but came with a host of bugs and featured hastily put together virtual controls.
Studio MDHR was quick to notify fans on Twitter this morning that this app was a ripoff, and not the work of the studio.
There is a Cuphead imposter app on the iOS store — this is a scam. We are working on removing the fraudulent app ASAP!
— Studio MDHR (@StudioMDHR) December 18, 2017
Fraudulent and copycat games are frequent on the store, often slipping through Apple’s approval system unnoticed. But what’s interesting about this ripoff is that it went to even greater lengths than most, with the perpetrator creating a developer site mimicking Studio MDHR’s official website and using the game’s instantly recognizable logo. With the app listing Studio MDHR as its creator, many fans were duped into believing it was an authentic port.
Studio MDHR co-founder Ryan Moldenhauer gave the following statement to Polygon:
We constantly find Cuphead ripoff games on the iOS storefront, but this is the first time someone has tried to directly sign up under our actual company name and sell a fraudulent version of our game. It’s unfortunate because it’s time consuming for us to have to keep contacting the storefronts to get them to remove these frauds. We don’t want fans to think it’s our stuff — because it isn’t and it could possibly be malicious.
According to iOS developer Benjamin Mayo, who noticed the copycat app and contacted Studio MDHR, the criminal behind this fraud is a repeat offender on the App Store. Mayo posted a lengthy blog post today about his findings and gives evidence towards this claim.
You can read our review of (the real) Cuphead by heading here.
Apple was quick to take this down, but it’s unfortunate that this slipped through the cracks in the first place. Apple is notorious for approving fraudulent or copycat games onto its storefront, and it hasn’t gotten any better through the years. This is just another example of how creative and sophisticated some of these scams can be.