UPDATE 4/8/22: War Gods Zeus of Child, the God of War rip-off which Eurogamer spotted on the Microsoft Store this week, has been removed from sale.
Eurogamer spotted the game had been pulled from the Xbox shop yesterday. When contacted, Microsoft declined to comment on the matter.
"Dinasaur Falling Survival", another game by the same developer which we noted below looked like a rip-off of Fall Guys starring Nintendo mascot Yoshi, remains online at the time of writing.
ORIGINAL STORY 2/8/22: A cheap and god awful God of War rip-off has been made available to buy on the Xbox store.
It's called War Gods Zeus of Child, is priced £3.39, and lets you jankily control God of War hero Kratos.
Having bought the game and played it myself, I can tell you it is a worthless, minutes-long experience where you make Kratos slash aimlessly at a never-ending stream of enemies in an arena environment, until you give up or Kratos dies.
Developed in Unity, the game's geometry is easily broken by going out of bounds. It lacks any kind of in-game music or sound effects. Kratos also does not have a backwards walking animation, so simply glides when placed in reverse.
When Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently said his most anticipated game was God of War, it's unlikely he was talking about this.
War Gods Zeus of Child looks to be part of the Xbox Creators Collection, an area of the Xbox Store designed to sell games without Microsoft's usual certification and approval, and without support for Achievements.
In essence, the Creators Collection is a Wild West for game development, usable by anyone from small studios to students. (Older Xbox fans might remember the Xbox Live Indie Games programme from the Xbox 360 era, which was an earlier version of the same idea.)
Still, the store listing for War Gods Zeus of Child - which remains on sale at the time of writing - makes it appear like any other Xbox game. There's no reference to the Xbox Creators Collection on this page, and it displays a PEGI 18 rating for "Extreme Violence" despite no listing for the game appearing on PEGI's website.
And then there's the very obvious issue that it uses a PlayStation mascot - both in-game and front and centre of its promotional artwork.
So, who is behind it? War Gods Zeus of Child is listed as being developed by Dolaka Ltd, a company which online records suggest is a one-person operation based in Bromley, in South London.
The game was published to the Microsoft store last week, on 27th July. Just two days later, Dolaka Ltd published another: "Dinasaur Falling Survival".
Priced at £3.29, Dinasaur Falling Survival is another title that will likely raise the eyebrows of copyright lawyers. It appears to be a rip-off of Epic Games and Mediatonic's Fall Guys, where you play as a character in a suit that looks like Nintendo's Yoshi.
Perhaps it's to be expected that such games will sometimes sneak onto this area of the Microsoft Store, where the gates are open to any and all developers. But what is still surprising - to me at least - is that these listings seem identical to the marketplace's Microsoft-approved titles, and that after almost a week, you can still buy a game starring Kratos on Xbox.
Eurogamer has contacted Microsoft for comment.