Gangstar Rio Review – The vulgar sandbox series hits the City of Saints

On March 26, 2012

App Type: Uncategorized

Gangstar Rio Review – The vulgar sandbox series hits the City of Saints

Our rating:

By: Gameloft

Version #: 1.0.0

Date Released: 2011-11-10

Developer: Gameloft

Price: 6.99

User Rating:

The Gangstar series has become something of an iPhone gimmick, releasing a virtually identical game every year or so albeit set in a different city. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as they provide some of the best ultra-violent sandbox fun available for the format.

Gangstar Rio: City of Saints is, as the title suggests, set in a pseudo-Rio de Janeiro. The city is sunny, pretty, and populated by minimally clothed guys and gals strolling its long stretches of beach. The city is reasonably diverse, offering a range of indoor and outdoor areas, and you won’t get bored too quickly of wreaking havoc in it.

The main problem with Rio is its unintelligent plot, dialogue, and general sense of thuggishness. Part of what makes the Grand Theft Auto games so great is their wit, humour, and likeable characters. In Rio, you control a thuggish scumbag who is dislikeable in just about every single way. This makes the single-player story feel like a bit of a slog.

The various missions and side-missions in Rio are good, simple fun. Since there is no human interest in the story or characters of this game, you can have plenty of fun by just going on rampages using a plethora of heavy-duty weaponry and vehicles.

There are several different options to choose from when it comes to the game’s driving mechanics; just as well since the default ’tilt’ controls are abysmal. Once you set it up right, driving feels relatively stable. The combat and shooting mechanics of the game feel like a poor man’s GTAIII, a bad sign seeing as that game’s recently celebrated its tenth birthday.

Gangstar Rio doesn’t move the series forward, but it’s still a blast to roam around in. The distasteful characters are made up for by plenty of mindless fun to be had on the mean – but pretty – streets of the city. That being said, the series could pick up a few pointers from GTA III, which has recently been re-released on the iPhone and iPad, and even now remains head and shoulders above this game.

Quick Take


Would I Buy Again:No

Learning Curve:Medium

Who Is It For:Advocates of thuggery and mindless violence

What I Like:Big, pretty city to explore

What I Don't Like:Awful scripting and dislikeable characters

Final Statement:An violent and fun, if unimaginative, sandbox shooter

Read the Developer's Notes:
The acclaimed Gangstar series is back on iPhone and iPad to offer you a whole new place to have criminally good fun!
You’ll never experience a better way to discover Rio de Janeiro!

For the first time ever in a sandbox game, explore the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Discover 5 different neighborhoods including the favelas, business district, beaches and jungle.
Also, for the first time in the Gangstar series, explore indoor environments fully realized in 3D.

Over 60 varied missions to complete, plus dozens of random events to give you hours of fun.
Kill corrupt politicians, protect witnesses, deliver special packages, steal cars and find out who tried to kill you and leave you for dead.

Access a wide range of weapons like handguns, rifles, bazookas and grenades plus a new local specialty: the Explosive Football.
Also drive dozens of vehicles including planes, helicopters and a tank, and of course, you can rob, purchase and collect dozens of cars or motorbikes.

You can now customize your character. Unlock numerous shirts, pants, hats, glasses and more that you can collect and use to customize your character.

The realism has been pushed even further thanks to various radio channels broadcasting hip hop, electro and funk music with several licensed tracks:
- World Town - M.I.A.
- Office Boy - Bonde do Role
- Lingua de Tamanduá - MV Bill

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I'm an up-and-coming freelance writer (or so I like to think) specialising in film, apps and gaming. Aside from writing app reviews on what sometimes feels like a mass scale, I've also contributed work to The Independent and, and am on the writing team of the popular Lifestyle blog, Like what you see? Follow me on Twitter @Rob_Zed and get in touch!

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