Cutting straight to the chase, Gangstar Miami Vindication 'borrows' heavily from the Grand Theft Auto series. But since that series isn't yet available on Android, this is currently the only way to get your gangster kicks on your 'droid. Miami Vindication is the second in the series, following West Coast Hustle and continuing the guns, cars, bikes and crime theme from its predecessor. In this instalment, you must rescue your little brother from the, frankly dastardly, Armada gang.
Gangstar MV is a true sandbox game with a vast, sprawling city map comparable to those of the early GTA's on console - made all the more impressive considering the limitations of your Android phone. You begin the game on foot, although you own a car that, sadly, gets blown up almost immediately. Thankfully, as in the GTA series, stealing a car is child's play. Just walk up to a parked vehicle, hit the 'enter icon' and you're in. Should the vehicle you're after already be occupied, it's simply a case of forceably removing the current incumbent and driving off. There are cars, trucks, motorbikes, boats and even helicopters to choose from, provided you know where to look for them.
The gameplay takes the form of multiple mini-missions. These are short enough that you can squeeze a couple in on the commute to work without having to abandon them halfway through. Should you choose to forget them altogether and turn to a life of petty larceny, police chases and gunning down innocent civilians, then that's fine too, although you'll never actually finish the game. But perhaps that's the point... In any case, Gangstar MV is a gem of the genre and a worthy substitute for GTA, at least for the time being.
Miami Vindication has received criticism in some circles for its control method, particularly when driving cars or riding motorbikes. The tilt to steer mechanic is
tricky but there are two other options on offer: dual joysticks to steer and accelerate and our personal favourite, the on-screen wheel and pedals option. Our advice is to go straight for the wheel and pedals option - the other options are very
sensitive - and with a bit of practice, you'll be power-sliding through bends and performing handbrake turns like your name's Ken Block.
Admittedly, on occasion the standard controls can get a little confusing, particularly when in the midst of a massive firefight, but by and large it's nothing that can't be overcome with a bit of practice.
And if there's one more criticism we can level at MV, it's that at points on the map you can get yourself thoroughly stuck, so much so that the only option is to jump to your death of restart the game. It's an irritating glitch but there really aren't that many points where it happens and it can usually be avoided, so we're going to give Gangstar clemency here. It really is forgivable, trust us.
As for weaponry, you can loot guns and ammo from Police and armed civilians/paid thugs, or you can pop along to a local gunstore and purchase everything from 9mm pistols to RPG launchers, provided you have the necessary cash.
With the minor control issues taken into account, mitigated by the enormity of the maps, and the huge amount of longevity on offer, Gangstar Miami Vindication is officially our new favourite Android game.
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The Bottom Line
GTA-alike that still manages to shine in its own right. One of the most involving games available on Android and with absolute acres of longevity on offer. At £3 - an absolute bargain.
Gangstar Miami Vindication HD isn't available on Android Market. Download the game here