Why Is Apple Allowing Mario Clones on iTunes?

Trademark red cap and white gloves, big mustache and floating coins. There's no confusing this iPhone game: It's Super Mario Bros. Only it isn't. [Update]

Monino by developer FeYingInfo popped up on iTunes for a penny shy of a dollar earlier this week begging the question: Why in the world did Apple approve it?

This isn't the first time Apple's game approval process has been caught asleep at the wheel. Earlier this year two games about fighting rabbits wound up on the Mac App Store. Lugaru and Laguaru HD were made by two developers. One was the official game, the other an unsanctioned knock-off. A week after Kotaku reported that story, Apple removed the offending, lower-priced copy.

Monino seems like another case of one developer ripping off another, with Apple either not catching it or not caring.

Monino appears to star Mario's slower brother Monino. Jumps, float, turns are all a bit sluggish as the squat little plumber plods his way through a world of edible mushrooms, glowing stars and breakable brick flooring. In the fiction of the 99 cent game, Monino's brother has been captured by a monster named Bowler and he is on the road to the monster's castle to rescue him... stop me if you've heard this one before.

The game uses virtual controls in the bottom corners of the iPhone and seems to feature randomized maps, some of which appear to include game-breaking dead ends. As pirated ports go, Monino is not the game I'd like to see come out of the Mario world.

As of this morning about 80 people have rated it, with an average score of three out of five stars. Most people seem to be complaining about the sub-par controls and crash issues. Everyone seems to recognize the source material.

We've contacted Nintendo and Apple for comment and will update when and if we hear back.

Update: While we haven't heard back from Nintendo or Apple, the game is no longer available on the U.S. iTunes.

Get your fake Mario iPhone game before Apple pulls it [video] [Electricpig]