It would be easy to simply label Payback as a Grand Theft Auto clone, sure there are similarities and the game does borrow heavily from that game, but Payback does enough to stand on it’s own merits.

Remember the first time you played Grand Theft Auto and you were walking down the street with a baseball bat in your hand and started thinking, “I could totally hit that guy with this bat!”?  Even if you don’t admit it, you know as well as I do that the thought was there.

Google Ads:

Well, that feeling is back&#8230- back with a vengeance!

“Payback” by Apex Games is exactly the type of game that iDevice owners have been waiting for, it offers 3 cities of missions, with different sets or types of missions on each level- Freedom City is very reminiscent of Liberty City in GTA, Los Francos appears to be in some cold eastern block country like Russia, and Corona city is based around a harbor and a prison island.

picture-41You begin each level with a message telling you how much money you need to complete the level and from there you’re off to the pay phones where you will be given instructions and details of your varying missions.

Graphically the game looks pretty good on the iPhone and for basically being a straight port it still manages to rank up there as one of the better looking games currently available.

There are a few flaws with the graphics though. The top down perspective caused me some frustration especially where driving and fences were concerned.

I found myself consistently running into what seemed to be invisible walls around the city. However upon zooming in I was able to see these were in fact fences, but having it zoomed in enough to tell this would mean sacrificing needed screen space.

The other flaw is there are times when you get “lost” in the screen. Not many, and not often thankfully but running under bridges and down certain alleyways you can’t always see where you need to go, and in dark areas of the map you can feel a little lost.

Audio wise payback hit’s a grand slam. There is an outstanding soundtrack, with varying licensed music, good voiceover’s and a city full of sound effects.

The Controls are very easy to pick up as well. You simply press the forward or backup arrows located on the right side of the screen and turn the iDevice left or right to move your character. Additional moves are located along the sides of the screen that will allow you to enter vehicles, fire and select weapons, and punch unsuspecting victims.

Vehicle control is done in the same manner, albeit at a much faster pace! Driving is going to take a little getting used to as some vehicles actually feel too fast for the tight surroundings.

Located in the top right of the screen is the map. Which shows your and the mission location on the screen. Honestly its a waste of time and space. It’s to small and to cluttered to be of any real use except to tell you your heading in the right direction. I would have preferred the game to pause and a map button that zoomed out to this one.

Gameplay wise “Payback” is very reminiscent of the early version of the GTA series, but with more of a next-gen attitude. You can attack citizens, steal crash and burn vehicles, toss grenades into the busy intersections, and spend a good amount of time trying to out-run the law.

picture-54However one thing players will have to come to grips with is that when  “Payback” was designed the genre did not have missions that were repayable. That means if you failed a mission you simply move on to the next one ego in check this condition carries over to “Payback” as well. This will not effect your ability to progress in the game as there are plenty of missions available, but it does make the game feel a bit older as we have become accustomed to in the newer play styles in more recent versions of the genre.

Another complaint I had was the time given to complete these tasks especially early on when your still learning how to control the vehicles and the layout of each city. I would recommend you drive around for a while and learn the city prior to completing any missions. This will help immensely. I wish the game could have started off by giving you more time at the beginning of the game and slowly take it away from you as you progressed and got more comfortable with the feel and logistics of the game.

When your done playing the single player missions, there are two additional modes of game play included out of the box. One is called challenge where you simply try to collect the targeted amount of points doing odd missions, but if you’re more into wreaking violence on the unsuspecting city populace you might try your hand at rampage mode.

Overall I came away from Payback with a very positive impression, yes there are some flaws, and it wasn’t designed with the iPhone in mind, but flaws aside this is as close to a GTA game as the iPhone has or is going to see for the foreseeable future, and it does enough on it’s own to not be considered a poor mans GTA.

It comes highly recommended to fans of these type of open sandbox games. Most of you are differently going to want to grab this title as soon as possible. However if your offended by senseless murder, mayhem, or queasy at the sight of blood there is always some new gem game for you try, but for the rest of us it’s time to grab that baseball bat and get some “PAYBACK”

click here to [BUY IT NOW] (Not Live till the 28th!)

After this review was posted I got word from the developer on a few changes coming to “PAYBACK” in the next update. Here is the scoop no other site has..

I’m planning to angle the view forward a bit in a future update (it currently already does this in replays) which should help make fences more visible.

The map will be getting a fix to make it more usable for iPhone users.

As for the failing missions  I will address this in an update, but the failable missions do have knock-on effects sometimes (unlike the earlier GTA IIRC) which is in some ways a more interesting structure I think. however I will make this an option.

I’ll see what I can do to make the beginning of the game easier for new players.

So it looks like the developer is listening, and Payback will become an even better game in the future!!

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Leave a comment
  • Super

    It is out i have it :)


    The video dosen;t show it in its full glory- you can have BOATS TANKS AND RC CARS WHICH EXPLODE :)

  • Jesserg

    cant wait to be causing unessecary and nessacary chaos on the bus and on the train

  • jdude95

    hey im new here. you guys have a pretty cool site. anyway i might get this game it looks pretty cool. the only quesrion i have is about how long does the game take to get through and does it save every mission or when you leave the app etc.

  • keefin17

    thanks for the great review I like the amount of depth. Many iphone app reviews are short and only skim the surface but you actually take the time to really show us the game.

  • Nato94

    Hey guys this is my first post really liking the reviews they are very in depth which i like and they tell me whether or not to buy the game or not. I like the Posting system it looks very slick and simple which is good. Just keep the reviews up there great!

  • Glenn

    thanks we are working on it, were going to be doing better reviews soon :)

  • ssk6161

    Hey, I’m new to this site, what is it all about? I read some forums and comments here but I dont understand how to get free apps. I love your reviews but I am very confused. Can you help me out?

  • ZildjianKX

    Any word on how the battery life is? Seems like it might be kind of harsh on the iPhone’s resources, especially if it is using software rendering. Thanks.

  • nateH

    This game looks really good and I hope it is really similar GTA. If it is even remotely close I think ill love it.

  • Glenn

    its very similar albeit on a smaller scale! You will enjoy it.

  • Matthew

    i very new here

    so this is my first post….

    first of all i like your site

    its simpel but interesting

    you made a lot of reviews

    and i want to thank you for this

    i dont like those ‘popular’ sites

    of course i hope yours will get popular

    but in the beginning of this site i hope you could

    probably help me a bit and so on

    now the app…

    i was very excited when i heard that an gta-similar game will be released

    i played gta a lot and i liked the gameplay

    until now i havent buyed it but one of my friends

    and in my opinion its really cool

  • Glenn

    Welcome Matthew. Where are you from? Thanks for the comments and welcome to the family we got a good group of people on here so far!

  • Matthew

    well im from germany^^

    i know nearly all here are americans

    but i hope thats not a problem for you ?

    what else do you want to know?

    im 17 years old go to school

    i have an ipod touch 2g at the moment but probably i will buy an iphone

    im interested in pc, sport, iphone or ipod touchs( firmware , apps etc)

    hmm thats all i think

  • kill3rgam3r

    great review!

  • floob

    Whoa its out already?? ANdd you posted and gave out codes already? Where the heck was I? hahah anyway this looks great.. the first gameplay video i’ve seen of the app

  • bow

    Oh the disapointment

    Oh well

    Tell me how it is (wondering if it’s worth buying)

  • Glenn

    Well I will end the suspense and let a few of you start playing earlier.

    Congrats to Silent Rider, Javi, and Ghost Rider you are now the proud owners of PAYBACK before it even release :)

    email incoming

  • The Game Reaper

    Um… I thought you had six?

  • Glenn

    Five actually, I had to give one code away to someone who got a bad promo code as a token of my regret, but I found one more copy I will give away this am..

  • The Game Reaper

    What does am stand for?

  • Glenn

    Morning. Check the forums as one winner of the codes is going to be giving his copy away as he was impatient and bought at 11:30 right before I gave codes away :)

  • The Game Reaper

    As a matter of interest, which user is it?

  • SilentRider

    Thanks Glenn.

    Check your email. I sent you one just now. I think you will laugh when you see it. :)

  • mek

    i’ve been waiting for this, but trying not to out hype myself like i did for Rolando, so hopefully my passive waiting has paid off and this game will be awesome

    Love the Site Glenn..Amazing Reviews and constant updates, its a nice addition to my RSS reader :) and even though i haven’t won anything yet, that extra edge of possibility gives AppVersity that Zing..Keep it up

  • Glenn

    thanks I will be changing those RSS feeds soon so you might need to resign up!

  • Rocketman919

    This game is really fun, i cant wait to get it tonight!

  • Javi

    Sweeet. This game is the answer to all my iPhone prayers. I love GTA, and this game looks similar. Can’t wait to try it.

    Thanks for the review Glenn.

  • orioin7868t

    cant decide weather (no not the sunny weather) to buy this or wait for carjack, please help me decide!

  • taran420

    i heard carjack city everything 2D except the building, so it depends on your preference of 3D or 2D

  • orioin7868t

    maybe carjack will be cheaper because of the less time put into it

  • jmh11

    It comes out tomorrow! Woot!

  • orioin7868t


  • bow


    now all we need it a 3rd person shooter and the itouch will be my favorite game system

  • taran420

    regardless of 3rd person, Metal Gear Solid would make it INSANE!!!

  • bow

    nooooo man

    have you seen the demos?

    maybe its fake but on toucharcade they had a video and it looks really lame

    you stay in one spot and just shoot the bad guys that pop up….they could have made it a game instead of a piece of crap

  • taran420

    no way, are you serious? wow thats super crap….hopefully its fake

  • bow

    yaa i was super hyped about it…then saw the demo and almost cried because it looked so bad

  • Rocketman919

    just so you know thats probably not a legit demo, but yes, it is an “on-rails” shooter, meaning you dont move.

  • orioin7868t

    yeah, they made it a on rails shooter so it would be more “accesable”

  • taran420

    cant wait to try this out….i was bummed out when they took it down, then the long wait got me thinking if i really wanted it, but now i cant wait, lol

    love the review, especially your video reviews. They add a very nice touch to the review, so keep up the good work.

    I love the controls, since they are very simple. I agree with you about giving more tutorials to get used to the game, but with any GTA games, i like to fool around before stating missions, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

    i like the graphics, since they are 3D, unlike car jack city, which is supposed to 2d everything except 3d buildings.

    Love that the audio is great, but can you play your own music??? if so then it would be awesome, but i can see some problems with it.

    I was bummed out that you cant replay missions, but i guess i can live with that, lol

    the rampage mode looks very very interesting and it would give endless hours of fun, so another plus is the hours of gameplay, which hugely justifies the price, actually i price is very very good for this game

    overall the game looks solid, the gameplay, graphics and sound makes it a good buy

  • hidiho

    I can’t wait–I’ve been up everyday since they pulled the game due to the glitch waiting for this game to arrive. It should be fantastic.

  • watever486

    Wow sounds really polished. I can’t wait for it to come out; the iDevices could use some more large, high-quality games like this.

  • SilentRider

    Great review Glenn. I’m starving for a GTA-like game for the iPhone. This games looks like it will satisfy my hunger. :)

    Hopefully if I win this the code works. The Jaadu VNC one that you sent me appears to have expired (Anyways, I left a comment in that review and also sent you an email).

    Looking forward to more reviews from you. They are coming fast and have more information in them than another site which I’m not going to say the name.

  • Glenn

    I’m sorry about the code I will try to correct that for you. Seems once developers post updates the old codes are no longer viable, so Im going to be getting them out to you guys faster from now on!

  • Disorder

    Love GTA!! Been so excited for this release and although possibly dated, still sounds like a lot of fun!

  • inogard

    Fantastic review Glenn!

    This is my most anticipated title without a doubt. Fantastic Contraption would have been except it was out days after it was announced it would be coming!

    The iDevices need a GTA clone for sure, so hopefully this will live up to everyone’s expectations. I know this is likely to be one of the most scrutinized games on the system.

    I have to admit I’m very interested in the missions that you can fail and not re-do. I’m on the fence about it and it might be a nice change. In any case it’s nice to see the developer listening to the public about this sort of stuff and in the end it should produce a very well received game overall.

  • GhostRider

    Awesome review Glenn. Been looking at this game since the day it was released in some countries first but never got the chance for the US release because of the bugs. Here’s hoping everything is fine now.

    This game will be my most played definitely.

  • Karl

    The same company that made this, made the best game on the amiga. Frontal Assault.

  • Bessamy

    Wow. This game looks totally cool! GTA on the iPod Touch!

    I would definitely need the slower start you were talking about. I know I would get frustrated at first not being fast enough to get through a mission.

    Thanks for the great review!

  • The Game Reaper

    Thanks so much for the in depth and thoughtful review, it’s up to the same calibre of your other excellent reviews. I really think this game will be great addition to the appstore. Unfortunately I have no more money in my account :( so it might be a long time until I’m able to get this. It’s pity because I’m a huge fan of GTA like games and the graphics look amazing. I’d really like to try this game out.



  • Glenn

    You might get lucky and win a free copy I’m giving them away faster now!

  • Chumbake

    Great Review Glenn. Thanks for the pros and cons. I like to know what to expect. I was looking forward to this game, and now your review really makes me want to get it. I can’t wait.

  • MacGyver

    This look absolutely incredible. I’m a HUGE fan of GTA 2, in fact I almost enjoyed that more than the subsequent versions, and I’ve been waiting for something like this forever!

    Excellent review by they way, I got really annoyed by sites like STP and Toucharcade because they review these really “stupid” apps, you know, the ones you wouldn’t even want for free. Looking at the reviews here, they seem fairly relevant – you guys “get it”. Bookmarked :)

  • Glenn

    Comes out on the 28th!! Ive had it for a few days. It will be here soon!

  • a020206


    I cant wait!

    Do you know how much and how big it will be?

  • Glenn

    225mb and I think $6.99 don’t quote me..

  • a020206

    Is Payback out?!

    Ive been waiting so long for this, but I cant seem to find it on the Appstore :[

    I cant click on the Buy It Now either !


  • Chumbake

    28th dude.