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A fake Cuphead makes it to iOS App Store (update)

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Clearly not a game meant for touch controls

Cuphead’s glitchy title screen on the app being sold on the iOS App Store.
Owen Good/Polygon

Cuphead’s maker is the victim of a forged iOS port of the challenging run-n-gun shooter. It showed up on the App Store early this morning, listed at $4.99. It’s still on the store. Update: It’s been taken down already.

It seemed hard to believe that this could be a legitimate product, considering it had no announcement preceding the launch, and there has been no word that Studio MDHR was bringing Cuphead to platforms other than Xbox One and Windows PC, where it launched on Sept. 29.

Polygon bought and downloaded the purported Cuphead port to two devices to try to verify its authenticity and understand how touch controls would perform with the notoriously difficult game. The answer is, not well at all. The game is a straight lift of Cuphead, which is given a virtual joystick and buttons (which are often obscured by the artwork on the screen). The title screen is also torn and glitchy, and the game crashed repeatedly.

As iOS users expressed confusion about the port on social media, a fan in Germany posted a screenshot of an email they said was from Ryan Moldenhauer, co-founder of Studio MDHR and co-director of Cuphead.

Benjamin Mayo, an iOS developer from the U.K., went to the support website included on the game’s App Store listing and noted that was a forgery, too. (The url is “studiomdhrgames.com.” Studio MDHR’s real site is studiomdhr.com.) Mayo called the owner of that URL a “repeat offender” for getting scam ports of popular games approved and listed on the App Store.

Polygon reached out to Studio MDHR for additional comment on the matter. We’ve tried to contact the owner of the fake Cuphead game’s site, too.

The iTunes App Store is notoriously bad for accepting forgeries, rip-offs and other illegitimate apps that crib off popular games of the moment. Cuphead’s fake seems especially elaborate, however, given the fake website and that site’s announcements of an iOS listing.

Update: Studio MDHR tweeted this after the app’s listing was discovered.

And Studio MDHR co-founder Ryan Moldenhauer gave this 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.