You get a companion app, and you get a companion app! You in the back? You get a companion app! Everyone gets an companion app! Game studios have been releasing companion apps at a lively pace recently, and I’m not necessarily sure I like it. They seem to think I want to play their games when I’m not in my comfortable chair with light from my TV glowing on my face. If they cared to hear my opinion, I’d tell them no one wants it in several languages, but they didn’t, and the game industry continues with its antics. The studio that usually bucks trends and does their own thing, Rockstar, jumps on the companion app bandwagon with their iFruit app that coincided with the release of Grand Theft Auto V.
The iFruit app is obviously Rockstar’s satirical take on the cult of Apple. Get it? iFruit. They even included a fruit bowl logo with strategically placed fruit to make the logo resemble the male genitalia just in case you didn’t already get the iFruit reference. Ya know, the real high brow gags Rockstar is known for. Sadly, Rockstar has struggled with releases that require an online connection. GTA V Online had hiccups -that’s an understatement, more like convulsions, and their companion app also ran into similar troubles upon it’s release. Luckily, thanks to Rockstar’s hard work both are up an running at the moment. Alas, poop cleaning, whip pimping and stalking folk on Life Invader can begin.
The iFruit app surprisingly resembles an iPhone home screen. GTA III and GTA: Vice City apps are links to the iOS versions of the games, which is a clever piece of marketing. A Life Invader app, GTA V‘s version of Facebook, even allows you to stalk citizens of Los Santos. There is a GTA V app in iFruit complete with screenshots, trailers, news and some other in depth info about the game; I can only assume it is there to sell curious iFruit app downloaders GTA V. Chop the Dog and Los Santos Customs are the hearty offerings of the app, allowing you to customize your car, and take care of Chop; Franklin’s beloved Rottweiler. And last but not least, the Rockstar store and Social Club apps. Both the Social Club and Rockstar store are gateways to the websites, and are functional for what you would need to use them for.
While the Life Invader app provided a couple chuckles the majority of my time was spent with Chop, and tricking out my rides.
The Los Santos Customs segment of the app allows you to customize Franklin, Trevor and Michael’s cars, and or, motorcycles. Most of the customization that are available in GTA V‘s Los Santos Customs are available in the iFruit app. Once your customization’s are made jump back into GTA V head to the garage, and your modifications will be present on your vehicles. I chose to put some 20s on Franklin’s whip, paint it matte black, and jumped back into GTA V just to park in front of Lamar’s house and let him hate from his window. In addition to customizing your car, you can set personalized license plates in the app. These personalized plates show up in GTA V, and GTA V Online
Chop the Dog is a satirical look on pet ownership, and the turmoils and importance of such activities as picking up feces, and walking your pet, I think. The point of Chop the Dog is keeping Chop happy, which will lead to him finding you secrets items in GTA V if Franklin takes him along on car rides, or walks him. In order to keep Chop happy you have to feed him, make sure he has water, and clean up his poo poo. You also have to take Chop on walks, but walks take the form of mini-games, which include stealing bikinis on a beach, keeping Ballers away from Franklin’s car, and keeping other dogs away from Chop’s “bitch” -literal use of the word. Each mini-game is complete with a score system that will reward you with credits you can use to buy Chop collars -that will show up on him in GTA V, better food, water and even teach him tricks. You can also play fetch with Chop, but Chop is a simpleton, and brings back severed hands instead of the ball at times. If you have your push notifications enabled you’ll get wonderful messages like, “Chop has taken a dump; go clean it up.” It is all about as compelling as a Tamagotchi, and that is not meant to sound dismissive; I owned several Tamagotchis as a child.
I suppose I should get used to companion apps, and once my initial cynicism faded the iFruit app was perfectly practical as a time waster, and who can argue with the frugal price of free? iFruit isn’t that robust, and the majority of the app is irrelevant to GTA V, but Chop the Dog alone makes iFruit worth a download. The app is currently only available on iOS devices here. Sorry my Android brethren you’re going to have to wait just a bit longer.
But now my iPhone is buzzing and I’m assuming Chop just left a steamy one for me, so, I’m gonna go clean that up.