Grand Theft Auto San Andreas – Everything you need to know

by: Joe HindyDecember 21, 2013
17 35 47

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas has finally arrived on Android. The game was highly anticipated, especially after its release on iOS. The release day went pretty badly but Rockstar eventually straightened things out. If you’d like to watch our review, click the video above.

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

Game Play

If you’ve played Grand Theft Auto before then you know what kind of game play you’re in for. For those unfamiliar with San Andreas, it’s an open world game where you play as an ex-gang banger named Carl who returns home after the death of his mom to get some vengeance on the people who killed her.

The game is mission based and it is open world so you essentially just cruise around until you’re ready to do things, and then you go do them. You’ll have cars, bicycles, motorcycles, guns, and sometimes some NPCs at your disposal as you go through the game. You can also buy houses, visit businesses, pick up hookers, and all the other things that give GTA its unique charm.

In the Android version, nothing has really changed. The graphics were given a slight bump to suit the resolution of newer displays and, of course, the controls have been adapted for touch screens but we’ll touch more on that momentarily. Aside from the adaptation to mobile, this is the same game everyone enjoyed in 2004.

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas mechanics


The touch screen controls take a little bit to get used to and they are a tad clunky. You can choose between analog, flick controls, and on-screen buttons if you so choose. Eventually, you get used to the touch screen controls but it never quite loses that clunky feel.

The left side of the screen is dedicated to movement while the right side is dedicated to action buttons. You can also control the camera with the right side if need be. According to the support page, any Bluetooth or HID-compliant controller, including the Moga controller, should also work fine.

If you’re experiencing frame rate issues or if you want to really push your device, you can also tweak things like resolution, frame limiter, targeting mode, visual effects, draw distance, shadows, reflections, and more to either help boost the performance or make the game look better. It’s your call.

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas the good and bad

The good

So here’s what we liked.

  • The game itself is long and huge. It is open world with a lot of side missions along with the regular story so there is a whole bunch to do. Way more than your average Android game.
  • We really liked the flexibility with the game controls and settings. Having three kinds of on-screen controls plus full controller support is nice and giving the gamer the ability to tweak settings to their taste is always preferable.
  • The mobile specific tweaks really help make the game more enjoyable. Things like the updated graphics and cloud save support hit most of the required marks for what makes a mobile game good.
  • There are no actual in app purchases in this title. Some speculate that the reason it carries the tag in the Google Play Store is because it takes you to Rockstar’s website where you can buy merchandise but we assure you, there are no in app purchases in this game.

The bad

And here’s what we didn’t like so much.

  • There are no Play Games achievements or any Play Games support at all. It doesn’t hinder the game all that much but it is a big name Android game and we would’ve liked to have seen it more integrated with the growing Android gaming culture.
  • There are points where the game loses frame rate even on the latest flagship devices so you will likely have to play this game on something other than max settings to keep it running smooth all the time.
  • The on screen controls are clunky and while you do eventually get used to them, there’s never that 100% totally comfortable feeling. If you have a controller, we recommend you use it.

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas final thoughts

Final thoughts

Rockstar really put a lot of work into this port. With the graphical settings, all the various control settings, the updated graphics, and more, they’ve done pretty much everything a developer can do to make a console game look and play great on mobile. It has a few problems, but nothing we would consider to be a deal breaker.

We’ve seen people balk at the idea of spending $7 but you have to remember that this isn’t 200 levels of Angry Birds, it’s a full console title with side missions, a long campaign, and a full, open world for you to explore. It’s the kinda stuff we’ve been asking for since gaming started being a thing on Android. This game was once $60 brand new and all they’re asking for now is $7. We simply can’t imagine a scenario Get it on Google Playwhere that isn’t a good deal. Have you played the game yet? Let us know what you think of it in the comments. If you want to get it, use the button!

  • MasterMuffin

    Compleeetely off-topic: CyanogenMod just hit 10 million installs!

    • Jayfeather787

      I saw that on XDA. Hooray Cyanogenmod!

      • JosephHindy

        Thread jackers :P the lot of you!

        • MasterMuffin

          Sorry :P

    • Ishaan Malhotra

      I wanted to know what are the advantages of cm over stock android. Im using a nex7 2 with root. Im also using modules like gravity box that give all the extra features. Then what are the advantages of cm?

      • MasterMuffin

        Tweaks, themes, other customizations (most of them can now be done with Xposed though), screen recording, I don’t know, try it out and see :)

    • Ian Dimare

      sorry, but OmniROM>CyanogenMOD, the features and smoothness on Omni are really great on N4 and n7000 (:

      • MasterMuffin

        I think so too, but this is great news for Android and custom development!

  • venorme

    Game is great. I am happy I havent sold my Z Ultra – cant even imagine playing this on something less than 6 inch.
    They still need to fix controls in vehicles (esp bikes) and manual shooting mode, but other than that – game is a dream

    • JosephHindy

      It’s something they can’t really fix. Driving and shooting require a little more finesse than most other things in mobile gaming and touch screens simply don’t offer that kind of tactile response like you’d get from a joystick. Hence why I recommend that everyone uses a controller :)

    • 86123maxxi

      Well it isn’t all sweet roses for you: your Z Ultra doesn’t fit into a MOGA Pro so I will still enjoy playing GTA San Andreas more than you with my comparatively puny 4.7 inch Nexus 4 paired with a MOGA Pro.

  • Not compatible with sgh t889 tmobile note 2 as well as vice city which is a shame. Well it’s their loss. A lot of compatibility issues.

  • Jacques Hragar

    Terribly optimised for adreno gpus but fly on Mali ones

    • Jayfeather787

      Which adreno(s)? All of them, or specific ones?

      • Pushkar Kurhekar

        My 320 (nexus 4). Snapdragon 800 (Friend’s Nexus 5 lags on High), and more…

    • 86123maxxi

      Its probably the way the GTA III game engine works. Just like every GTA III era game released on Android, it will lag more on Qualcomm GPUs than ARM GPUs.

  • Ishaan Malhotra

    Cheat codes dont work. Wtf rockstar??

    • Mozaik

      And how will you type

      • Mozaikisgay

        Game keyboard fool, ever heard of it?

        • Mozaik

          But there are no game keyboard fool.

          • Ishaan Malhotra

            Search for game keyboard apk

        • Ishaan Malhotra

          That user

          • Mozaik

            yeah that what internet need.

  • Arturo Raygoza

    exactly Joseph, this game was 60 freaking dollars now people are crying about paying 7 dollars for it. no wonder developers prefer to develop for iOS first.

    on a side note is it possible to hook up a ps3 controller to it? I’ve downloaded it but the controls are hard for me to learn. I like it so far

    • leo98918

      Download Sixaxis and you can sync your PS3 controller via USB OTG. It will act as an HID controller.

      • JosephHindy

        What leo98918 said. You have to have root to use Sixaxis though. You should be able to directly connect a PS3 controller to your device with a USB OTG cable. I think that may work. OTG cables cost like $2 on Amazon so even if I’m wrong it’ll only cost ya a couple of bucks :P

  • Santiago

    Hey do u guys know what controllers can be used instead of on screen controls

    • Stink

      Did you get an answer to this. ive tried SONY PS3 SixAxis controller, but not working.

      • Thecelticwizard

        Ps3 sixaxis controller should work fine with otg cable for android devices with version 4 upwards(as long as they support usb otg). I’m using it with my s3 and it is epic! Just plug and play, need to make sure the controller is connected before you start the app for some reason though.

  • Dan

    I can’t understand why is this game not compatible with the note 2 but is compatible with the s3 …

    • guest10

      It new wasnt compatible with my cat b15 either but I installed it anyway works fine with only a 1.2 ghz cpu and 512mb ram same with my galaxy tab 3 lite 7.0 1.2ghz and 1 gb ram both “incompatible” but work

  • ööööööööööö

    Someome that mnaged cheating on it yet? I tried ps3 sixaxis and keyboard, none worked to cheat with…..

  • Christian Harris

    Excuse me, but how do you cycle fast? I keep getting stuck going slow. Been trying to do this all week!!

  • BTY

    Where is support for MOGA, Nvidia Shield, or OUYA?

  • dreamkiller

    GTA San Andreas is now available for download on Android.. i just downloaded the cracked apk .. and i m playing it continuously.. jst getting addicted to it.. i got the cracked apk from windroidblog.. n the apk 100% works.. a must download guys

  • Silver

    This is really useful! Gesture Control ! Super easy multitasking using gestures, works over other apps as well.


  • Prem Halani
  • Stink

    Cant seem to get controller support with sixaxis app. controller works fine for other games (even GTA III) but not for this. oh well.

  • mrmilbe

    I use ps2 controller + usbconverter + usb otg, works perfect, just copy the .kl file of the ps3 controller, change pid & vid to the one of your controller and remap keys , so your controller will be recognized as ps3 and supported by nearby every game

  • Adrian Clark
  • Adrian Clark
  • Fat Cat Ritz

    If you are having controller compatibility issues then watch my video on YouTube that shows how to make any keyboard or Bluetooth controller work with the game!

  • jack

    Playin this wit a ps4 controller but the buttons are all over the place any ideas how to change configuration ??

  • ineedaname

    there is a land up north and it doesnt let us go to that land and one time i went to the land i had 4 stars! how come we cant go in the area ?

  • Jack

    When will it be available on the Samsung SGHt889 or T-Mobile galaxy note 2

  • Cool gta San Andreas fan22

    Gta San Andreas is good I have nearly completed the game on ios and PC. My girfriends are Babra and Michelle. It is cool you get money by delivering things. I

    I kill the sluts with blond hair red skirt black jacket and long white socks I shot them get a long sword or go to the bomb place drive them into the water they drown set the car on fire whack them or get a charge and Evan throw tear gas . Best ever games gta and minecraft

  • Nick
  • rick

    This game is nearly impossible to control. I hate the controls and of course i can’t use a controller because there’s no app for it. Smh somewhat of a waste

  • Sam Shirley

    Does not support cheats? WTF! That’s what made the game fun! I can’t root my device with Android 6.0 Marshmallow being released in a couple of weeks, so “Cleo sa” is NOT an option! Why remove the cheats when they KNOW people will mod it anyway? The cheats don’t actually damage the game like they claim other than punishment glitches for not completing the game without cheats, so they just didn’t want people to have fun on this game… Why take away the flying cars or moon jump bunny hops when the game won’t let you charge up bunny hops anymore which makes bmx unenjoyable?