Apple tells developer to reclassify iOS game highlighting war-torn Gaza as 'news app'

A screenshot from Liyla and the Shadows of War

"Liyla and The Shadows of War" is a game created by indie developer Rasheed Abueideh, who resides in Palestine. The game, rated as "Mature 18+", in the Google Play Store, won an award for visual excellence at Reboot 2016. Liyla tasks players with navigating through the war-torn strip of Gaza to a "safer place".

While the game currently enjoys a rating of 4.9 stars in the Google Play Store, Apple has notified the developer that it should be removed from the "games" category and relocated to "News" or "Reference", with its description modified to remove all instances to it being described as a game.

Currently, Liyla's description reads:

When you live in war zone and death is hunting everyone, things will look different and choices become harder. Face your fate in an unjust war to survive with your family from the shadows of war.

Time is running against you, your family is in danger and there is nowhere to hide or to do but to get them out of home through a hero journey to a safer place.

Shooting and bombing everywhere and it will hunt you unless you make fast decisions as you progress through different events. These events are real and they will make you choose the hard way. Live or die!​

Given the unstable situation in the region, it is not entirely surprising that Apple has issued a notice to the developer. However, the company is facing backlash on social media and gaming forums from people who are accusing Apple of double standards by allowing an Angry Birds clone; that replaces birds with rockets, named "Israeli Heroes" free rein in the store, while issuing a warning to Liyla.

While the game (app?) is not currently available in the App Store, interested users can download it from the Google Play Store for free, where it has garnered a rating of 4.9/5 and is praised by users as "extremely impactful".

Source and image: Rasheed Abueideh via EuroGamer

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