Last week I scribbled some words about the first Grand Theft Auto V companion app, namely Grand Theft Auto V: The Manual, a 100-page guide to Los Santos with the headline feature being an interactive map.
Today I’m looking at the other app, the one that actually ties in with the full game, Grand Theft Auto: iFruit.
The Grand Theft Auto V iFruit brand is clearly a p*ss-take of the Apple iPhone, as evidenced in the design of Michael’s mobile telecoms unit. Franklin has a Samsung-style handset, incidentally, while Trevor is stuck with Windows Phone.
As is stands, neither of the Grand Theft Auto V companion apps is available for Android just yet. Rockstar says: “For those asking about the Android version of the free iFruit companion app, we are working very hard to get that out as soon as possible. We will of course update this post as soon as it’s available at Google Play and we thank you for your patience.”
With iFruit, what you're missing out on is a) Los Santos Customs, and b) Chop the Dog, both in-app apps effectively, which link in with the console-based Grand Theft Auto V experience.
Los Santos Customs, as the name suggests, allows you to customise your car from your smartphone or tablet. Place your order on the small screen, and you’ll receive an in-game text inviting you to process the upgrade on your Xbox or PS3. Just take the relevant vehicle to the nearest branch of Los Santos Customs.
The range of upgrades is fairly limited (only 3 in the app for Franklin’s bike, compared to 15 in the game; 10 out of 20 for Michael’s car), though the ability to customise your license plate is pretty cool. I should warn that you can only change your license plate once, so choose carefully.
As for Grand Theft Auto: iFruit’s other in-app app, Chop the Dog, it allows you to teach Chop tricks (sit, beg, paw), give him food and drink, and participate in three minigames.
Said minigames are all much the same (check out the screenshot above), with top-down Chop chasing rival dogs away from his “bitch”, defending a car from gang members, and removing bikinis from ladies on the beach.
Hilariously (ahem), Chop the dog poops around his home, and you’re tasked with popping the poop in the trash. Except I can’t for the life of me figure out how to do it, and – worse still – managed to pull poop out of the trash. It’s pretty poor.
If you fully train Chop in iFruit he’ll help Franklin sniff out secret items in Grand Theft Auto V, but I’ve no intention of persevering with it.
Both Grand Theft Auto: iFruit in-app apps are pretty shallow, and Chop the Dog in particular feels almost broken. If it didn’t tie in with Grand Theft Auto V, it’d rightly wallow in App Store obscurity.
I actually wondered if Grand Theft Auto: iFruit was almost intentionally bad, like maybe it’s supposed to be ironic, an attack on smartphone apps. The App Store description says: “Apps can transform your mobile device into essential tools like a harmonica, disco ball or convincing moustache. Somewhere out there is the perfect storm of touchscreen technology to fix everything that’s wrong with your life. And maybe all you’re missing is the iFruit app. Maybe not.”
With regards to Chop the Dog, the description adds: “Because who doesn’t love tending to a virtual pet?” Hmm.
On the whole, it’s pretty cool carrying out stuff on your smartphone or tablet and seeing the results on your console (I’m thinking of the license plate in particular, and maybe Chop’s, er, pink collar to a lesser extent), but Android users really aren’t missing anything.
- Cool linkage between smartphone and console
- The Los Santos Customs license plates
- It’s free, I guess
- Los Santos Customs options are limited
- Chop’s poop; is it actually possible to put it in the bin?
- Is it supposed to be ironically bad?
Summary: Grand Theft Auto: iFruit is a strange, strange app. It’s worth playing about with simply for the interactivity between smartphone and console, but it almost feels like a joke at the expense of apps.
Developer: Rockstar Games
Price: free @ App Store
Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.