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‘Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ for iOS and Android game review

Rockstar has been porting old Grand Theft Auto games over to the mobile platform for the past two years. Back in 2011 they ported over the popular Grand Theft Auto III, which was followed by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2012.

Last year, Rockstar ported over the much awaited Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed games in the series, over to iOS and Android (with a Windows Phone 8 version arriving later). Today we will be taking a closer look at this game.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Rockstar Games
Release Date
December 12, 2013
December 20, 2013
Content rating
High Maturity


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on mobile is a direct port of the original, which means all the original story and gameplay content is present as is. The game follows the story of Carl ‘CJ’ Johnson in the fictional city of Los Santos in San Andreas. You control the character in a third person view and you can move around freely in the city. You can walk, run, jump, drive a car or ride a bike, punch, shoot and run over people just as you’d in any other GTA game. San Andreas even added the ability to swim for the first time in the series.

You can either choose to roam around the world freely or take part in one of the missions in the game. Once you finish a mission, you can choose when you start the next one or just continue roaming around. To save the game, you will have to go to CJ’s apartment and then save it to one of the save slots (the game also supports two cloud slots if you login with a Rockstar account).

As you play the game, you also level up certain abilities, such as swimming, combat, cycling, etc., which makes you better at them (for example you won’t fall off easily from a bike). You also have to keep a tab on what you eat and how much you eat. If you don’t eat enough you will be running low on enerygy. If you eat too much, you get fat and slower. You can also go to the gym in the game to workout and stay fit.

As a player you can also go to stores and purchase clothes for yourself or go get a haircut. You can switch between purchased clothes from your house. You will also find other characters commenting on your personal appearance.

Now coming to the mobile port, Rockstart has once again done a commendable job in optimizing the controls for the screen. You have a set of buttons on the right for functions such as getting into a vehicle, driving, and attack. On the left, you can either have a virtual joystick or arrow keys for moving around. You can control the camera by swiping on the screen.

The gameplay is obviously very good, which is why it was so well received when the game released on the PS2 back in 2004. The gameplay stands the test of time well and even today you can expect to have good time with it, assuming you are fan of the GTA gameplay. The game is not without its share of violence, racism, sexism and general political incorrectness, which has been a longstanding tradition of the series. If you’re fine with that sort of thing then you will love this game.

Graphics and Sound

Visually, Rockstar has updated the game with dynamic and detailed shadows, greater draw distance, richer color palette, enhanced character and car models, which makes it the best looking version of the game till date. Not to mention, it also runs at native resolutions on high resolution displays such as the Retina display on the iPad and the Nexus 10.

But even with the improved visuals and higher resolution you can’t really make up for the low polygon count. The game still does look quite dated, which is understandable for a game that came out ten years ago. It would be wrong to judge the game’s visuals by current standards but if you remember how old the game is it doesn’t look all that bad. The framerate though, oddly, was never particularly smooth, despite running on an iPad Air. The game was playable but you’d expect a game as old as this would be a lot smoother than it is.

Sound-wise, San Andreas wins you over completely by its superb voice acting. The game features the voice talents of the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, David Cross, James Wood, Ice-T and William Fichtner, who all do an amazing job. And then there is the superb soundtrack that plays through the in-game radio stations, along with the hilarious and ridiculously offensive advertisements and radio jockey commentary. The sound effects in the game in general are also quite impressive considering the age of the game.


Many of you already know Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas by now and are aware of how good a game it is. As for the mobile port, Rockstar has done a decent job of that as well and the game is quite playable on the small screen even without a physical controller and even better if you managed to connect one for your device. Overall, there is not much to complain about here. If you played the original, this is worth getting again for the nostalgia factor.

Rating: 9/10
Pros: Entertaining gameplay, superb voice acting and dialogues
Cons: Framerate could have been smoother

Download: iOS | Android

This game was reviewed on an iPad Air.


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