Gangstar Miami Vindication Review: The First Great iOS Sandbox Game

I remember waiting for Gameloft to release the first Gangstar episode (Gangstar: West Coast Hustle), but I found the game to be a little ahead of its time on the iOS platform.  This was evidenced by the very short draw distances and the overall lack of a very important factor, fun.  Well, I have good news for those of you that felt the same.  I have had a chance to play through nearly all of Gangstar: Miami Vindication, and I find it to be everything that Gangstar: West Coast Hustle was, but it has improved graphics and is a lot more FUN!

In a lot of ways, Gangstar: Miami Vindication reminds me of the fun I had playing GTA: Vice City.  It has a decent (although stereotypical) storyline, and the missions are varied enough to keep almost any gamer entertained for hours.  To get to the point, Gangstar: Miami Vindication is now one of my top three most played games on my iPhone.


Gameplay: This is the first ‘Like’ I look for in any game.  Is it fun?  Does it keep me engaged?  The answer is a resounding yes to both questions.  Gangstar: Miami Vindication has varied missions (and a lot of them) as well as a fun, lively city.  The first Gangstar seemed a little weak on that front, but this episode of Gangstar makes up for that and then some.

Cars: I have read complaints about the driving controls, but I do not have that problem myself.  There are three schemes total (accelerometer, a wheel, and a bar), and if you can’t find one that works for you, then you should probably practice.  I prefer the wheel driving control, and I really like that Gameloft programmed the cars to remain aligned to the road.  The biggest thing they got right: driving is fun.  I love the physics of driving and find myself taking a motorcycle or race car on a spin just for fun.  You can slide around all over the place with a remarkable amount of precision.

Price: For a game with this depth, I think $6.99 is a steal.  Most $3-$6 games on the app store don’t have nearly as much content.  There are a variety of missions, side-missions, races, and achievements.  If that isn’t enough for you, then you can also roam freely and wreak havoc on the city of Miami.


Glitches: I read one review that claimed Gangstar: Miami Vindication was ‘too big for itself,’ and I see where they were coming from.  There are occasional glitches that pop up throughout the game.  Sometimes the voice-overs may cut out, or text may appear that doesn’t belong, or a texture may randomly change.  While these glitches are not common, they are more prevalent than I would like.  I would like to see Gameloft polish the next rendition a little more.

‘King Factor’: Gangstar (both episodes) still lacks one major element that I look for in a sandbox game: you never really achieve taking over the city.  That is one of the most fun parts of any sandbox game.  As you progress, you own more properties and slowly take over the city.  I don’t feel that Gangstar leaves the player with the same feeling.  If you could collect properties and store cars, the game would be even better than it is.

Gangstar: Miami Vindication is a fantastic sandbox game and is one of my most played iPhone games.  I would recommend it to any fan of sandbox games.  More than that, I would recommend it to any fan of games in general.  One warning; the game does have mature content, so it is not for kids!  This is the first sandbox game that I have rated a ‘Must Have.’  I hope you enjoy it as much as me!

Gangstar: Miami Vindication was developed by Gameloft, and I played through version 1.0.0 on my iPhone 4. The price is $5.99.

5 thoughts on “Gangstar Miami Vindication Review: The First Great iOS Sandbox Game

  1. I liked this game when I got it, but the lack of gamecenter achievements discouraged me since gameloft released dungeon hunter 2 and star battalion. Although this review has made me want to reload the half gig of a game that is gangstar: miami

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