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Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD App Poster Image
GTA mob game comes to iPad with violence, sex, and drugs.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Unlike some apps that you can pick up and instantly understand, Chinatown Wars HD has a learning curve. Mastering driving in the game takes some time, as does using the GPS map. Once you've done so, things begin to get easier. The onscreen instructions are somewhat helpful and attempt to hold the player's hand somewhat in the early stages of the game.


Using a variety of weapons including pistols, machine guns, flamethrowers, and grenades, players regularly shoot, beat, and kick others onscreen -- both enemies and (should the player choose) innocent bystanders. There's no penalty for carjacking vehicles. And users are sometimes rewarded financially when they drive speeding cars over people who are walking on the sidewalk. The game also has numerous intense car chases. It's not as violent as console versions of GTA, but blood can be seen. 


There are several references to strippers, hookers, and porn films in the game. Players can also have sex with prostitutes in a car and hear moaning, as the car rocks rhythmically - but there are no graphic acts shown in game.


Pretty much any obscenity you can imagine is used in the game -- though it's read instead of heard. (The game does not feature any voice acting.) "F--k" is used regularly, as are "s__t," "asshole" and "prick" -- along with much milder swear words like "damn" and "hell".

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drugs are mentioned in the game as a recreational habit for a now-deceased character. And drug use and selling occur in the game, though there is little detail visible on screen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD is a violent action game that is centered around the world of organized crime - and is entirely inappropriate for children. It is filled with gang violence, murder-for-hire, drug use, and prostitution. Players can kill police officers, civilians and other gangsters - often with no negative consequences. (It's possible to drive down the sidewalk, running over dozens of people without ever seeing your 'wanted' level increase - though if you happen to tap a police car as you drive, you'll find yourself under hot pursuit. ) Obscene language is regularly used throughout the game and sex is simulated.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 year old Written byabrahm January 31, 2011
To be honest, its no that violent
Parent of a 18+ year old Written byteacher of harvard January 5, 2013

GTA experienced Review

In my opinion, Grand Theft Auto ChinaTown Wars is the perfect game for 12+. As a retired game designer, who taught at Harvard University... I know that the LI... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byKiPunk11 February 16, 2011

Violent, Cartoonish, Absolutely Delightful.

It's a GTA game. That being said, it's in the same style as the older (rated T for Teen) GTA games for the PS1 and PC. Violence is moderately bloody,... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 February 20, 2012

Very good,not for people who don't like blood,gore,swearing,sex and drinking.


Is it any good?

While GRAND THEFT AUTO: CHINATOWN WARS HD is absolutely not a game you want children to play, it's a very good game for adult action fans. The world is lush and filled with interesting characters and has over 50 challenging missions. Like most GTA games, it's filled with sidequests that extend the amount of playable hours considerably. An iPhone version of the game has been available for a while - but the graphics are notably better on the iPad version. This is, arguably, the best looking version of the game to date. (It has also been published for the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP.) Players can also use any iTunes music they have on the iPad as one of the in-game radio stations whenever they're driving in the game. Even better, the iPad version does not charge extra for these features.

Because the game takes place over a large area, you'll need to quickly learn to drive using the iPad's controls, which are adequate, but hardly intuitive. The learning curve is a bit steep -- and that's frustrating when one of your first missions involves escaping from the police.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Price: $9.99
  • Release date: September 9, 2010
  • Category: Action Games
  • Publisher: Rockstar Games
  • Version: 1.0.0
  • Minimum software requirements: OS 3.2

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