I’ve been a pretty big fan of the Joypad Game Controller [Free] ever since we reviewed it back in February. In a nutshell, Joypad allows you to display a selection of different virtual controller types on your iPhone or iPod touch. You then pair the Joypad app with a desktop client via Bluetooth or WiFi which remaps keys on your computer's keyboard to the virtual buttons of the Joypad, and remaps mouse movement to the accelerometer. This allows the Joypad to control games on your Mac or PC, and makes for a very capable substitute controller when you don’t happen to have a real physical controller handy.
While that’s pretty cool in and of itself, the team behind Joypad have taken things a step further and released an SDK which allows any developer to implement Joypad support into their games natively, bypassing the need to pair with the desktop software. This also means that Joypad support can be baked right into iPad games, a feature we saw demonstrated at WWDC a few weeks ago.
And now we have the first actual implementation of Joypad support in an iOS game with Lars [$1.99], a retro-style platformer from Icarus Interactive. The short video below shows just how quick and easy it is to get Joypad working with Lars:
I’ve been playing around with Lars using the Joypad for a couple of days now, and it works just as flawlessly as it does in the video. The connection between the two devices happens automatically and near-instantly, and there’s literally zero lag when playing. One thing I do wish however is that developers putting Joypad support in their games would offer the ability to remove the onscreen virtual controls when the Joypad is in use for a more seamless experience.
Also, Lars isn’t exactly the greatest platformer in the world, although it’s certainly not the worst. In fact, it’s pretty fun, but it does feel a bit bland and repetitious. If you’re curious about trying the Joypad support though, then it might be worth the two bucks to pick up Lars and check it out.
The developers of Joypad hint that there are more games with Joypad support coming out soon, and I'm really curious to find out which games will utilize the functionality. It’s such a great experience playing an iPad game with the Joypad that I hope a lot of developers give the Joypad SDK a look for their own games. For now, at least Lars is a start.