If you fire up your favorite iOS gadget and take a trip over to Apple’s App Store, you’ll find that the digital distribution service offers not one, but two separate version of 343 Industries’ blockbuster hit Halo 4. Both games feature official artwork, seemingly legitimate splash screens and even trademark notifications from the developer, yet neither of the $5 games is anything remotely resembling Microsoft’s latest entry in the fan-favorite Halo franchise.
Instead, those who opt to purchase either of these faux Halo 4 titles will be left to enjoy either an objectively terrible racing game or a bare bones Chess game that only escapes our “objectively terrible” descriptor by virtue of Chess’ relatively simple, universally familiar gameplay. That said, as Kotaku points out, the Chess game is titled “Chess 4 ” (despite the lack of a Chess 1, Chess 2 or the inevitable Chess 3) in what appears to be a further attempt to link the otherwise unrelated game to Microsoft’s title.
Such linguistic trickery appears to be the sole strength of these games. Both are described using 343 Industries’ official text for Halo 4. “Halo 4 for iPhone/iPad is the fourth installment in the Halo series where Master Chief returns to battle an ancient evil bent on vengeance and annihilation,” the games’ descriptions claim before serving up a list of bullet points likewise swiped from the same PR blasts that gamers and game critics alike have been offered for the Xbox 360 incarnation of Halo 4. As you’d expect, these fraudulent iOS games don’t include wide-ranging online multiplayer game modes, nor an army of vicious alien invaders waiting for a stoic hero to fill them with lead (or whatever day-glo pink element the Needler fires).
So why do they exist? Kotaku believes that the problem lies in the relatively small team Apple has put in charge of policing the legitimacy of App Store programs. That said, it seems strange that Microsoft would have made no attempt so far to squash these imposters. Even if Apple is going to be slow on the draw in its attempts to suss out faux games like these, we have to imagine that Microsoft’s lawyers would be very keen to take every possible action within their not insignificant power to have these imposters removed. In that light we have to assume that Microsoft has simply not yet noticed their existence. Hopefully this article can clue in someone at Redmond that they’ve got a cease and desist order to send out tout de suite.