Sony’s pulled a PlayStation 4 game designed to both give players a near-instant Platinum trophy and advertise its developer’s theme business from the PlayStation Store. The 98-cent ★★★★★ 1000 Top Rated was made available for download this Tuesday, only to be removed less than 48 hours later — but that an obvious ploy to redirect buyers to another storefront has led some PS4 owners to question just how Sony gave it the OK in the first place.
“How would you like to win a platinum trophy in just one hour?” asks Top Rated, maker of the cheap downloadable title, in the game’s YouTube description. But it’s possible to complete the game in a fifth of that time, according to the video, which shows a player racking up a slew of trophies in seconds.
The game worked by having players complete a series of 1,000 simple sliding puzzles based on some 4K wallpaper images. The connection to Top Rated’s primary work is clear: The company sells PlayStation 4 themes, most promising some glossy 4K images to wallpaper your home menu.
Negative reviews for ★★★★★ 1000 Top Rated soon flooded the Facebook page (called Best PS4 Themes) heavily advertised in the game and its trailer. One user called it “a scam to pay money for non-earnt [sic] PS4 Platinum Trophies,” while another wrote that it was “a lazy cash-in on people looking to boost their gamer score, and it is disgraceful.”
Yet Sony appeared not to take issue with the unabashed promotional tactic during its first two days on the PlayStation Store. The developer updated its Facebook page to say that Sony was working to patch a bug with the game early Wednesday morning. Hours later, critic Jim Sterling published a video denigrating it as “a tile-sliding piece of shit.” (He’s made it a habit to highlight the worst games to make it onto PS4.)
Not long after that, ★★★★★ 1000 Top Rated was no longer on the PlayStation Store.
“Sony has pulled the game temporarily and asked me to change the game's name & not mention trophies in the Store trailer,” begins the latest Facebook update on the Best PS4 Themes page.
It’s unknown when that temporary removal period will end; it’s also curious that Sony reneged after ★★★★★ 1000 Top Rated’s release, as more people heard about it. We’ve reached out to both companies for more on why the game was pulled when it was, as well the process of getting it on the PlayStation Store in the first place.
What’s troubling is that this is just the latest in a string of low-quality downloadable games, themes and avatars on the storefront. Sony’s promoted promoted several astoundingly weird, broken and unattractive on the PlayStation YouTube channel in the past, from the garish Life of Black Tiger to the allegedly plagiarized Solbrain: Knight of Darkness.
Sony does have a certification process for any game a developer attempts to put on one of its consoles. But the comments on Jim Sterling’s videos criticizing these poor PS4 games have questioned how thorough that process is for months, with ★★★★★ 1000 Top Rated just the latest, most blatant example.