c26-B0096L2SJ0-moga-logoPotential. Potential is the word that kept ringing through my head throughout the entirety of my last week with the MOGA Ace Power controller. From our very first whiffs of new of iOS 7 game controllers to now, the potential that these devices could have on the iOS gaming landscape seems almost unfathomable. I'm not sure we're there yet, but the MOGA Ace Power is a very promising first entry into an ecosystem that I'm sure will be just as vast and varied as the rest of the iOS accessory world. My week with the MOGA was filled with some surprises, a few disappointments, and a whole lot of playing games that I didn't previously enjoy that were given new life with a controller.

To back things up a bit, the MOGA Ace Power is a controller exclusively for non-iPad iOS devices with Lightning ports. It looks just like the leaked photos, and has all of the buttons we've come to expect through previous rumors. When not in use, it contracts via a sliding mechanism to be just a little bit smaller than your typical Xbox or Playstation controller. Using it is as simple as pulling the slider apart, lining up your iPhone or iPod touch with the Lightning connector, and stretching the left piece a little farther to lock the top of your iPhone or iPod touch in place. Since it connects via Lightning, there's no configuration or other screwing around required. Once your device is in, it works in any game that supports it.

Throughout the drip cycle of rumors of iOS 7 controllers we've discovered the additional functionality of these controllers that they're also battery packs. The MOGA Ace Power works just like similar cases from Mophie, and has enough juice onboard to keep your iPhone charged while playing. There's even a switch to enable and disable the charging functionality. This allows you to intelligently balance the battery between the two devices, letting you keep some juice in the controller to keep playing if your iPhone is already at a decent battery level.

The biggest initial surprise of the MOGA Ace Power is that nearly all of the buttons are analog. Following rumors, and just how controllers typically work, I think we all expected the only analog controls to be the actual dual analog sticks themselves and maybe the outmost triggers. It turns out all of the buttons are analog. All of the triggers, the face buttons, even the D-Pad. In fact, the only non-analog gaming control on the whole thing is the pause button.

However, with surprise comes disappointment, and the main source of that disappointment is how incredibly obvious to us that all of the developers out there releasing updates to add iOS 7 controller support are doing so without actually testing on a controller. For instance, Dead Trigger 2 [Free] comes with default sensitivity settings that were so high there's no way any human could play that way. Similarly, LEGO Lord of the Rings [$4.99] has controller support, but you can only move using the D-Pad, not the analog stick. Strange little inconsistencies like that are everywhere, and I've yet to find a game that recognizes analog button presses.

ACE POWER 1

There's also an odd divide between games that can use controllers and the platform they were originally designed for. Oceanhorn [$8.99], for instance, uses the controller but it seems like a vast majority of the game is played just using a single button and analog stick- Leaving the rest of the controller feeling weirdly unnecessary, especially when Oceanhorn is a game that worked so well on the touchscreen anyway. Games like Bastion [$4.99] that were originally built for controllers, however, are amazing when played with the MOGA Ace Power. All the clunkiness of the virtual controls fades away and you're actually having fun instead of being frustrated that your right thumb migrated off a virtual button. Tactile feedback means so much in games like Bastion that it's hard to go back playing it "normally" once I took my phone out of the MOGA Ace Power.

Additionally, I've found myself actually enjoying playing first person shooters on my iPhone for the first time I can ever remember. All the frustration of having your thumbs all over the screen desperately trying to look and move while avoiding and/or hitting a plethora of virtual buttons just totally fades away. If you're a huge fan of iOS first person shooters, consider one of these controllers an absolute must-have accessory.

Even in the best games, rough edges are everywhere when using an iOS 7 controller. Virtual buttons still persist on screen regardless of whether or not you're using a controller in most of the games I've tried. I've been the most excited for the potential of Bluetooth iOS 7 controllers, and having one that uses the Lightning port is vaguely disappointing because of the limitations it imposes.

ACE POWER 4

First off, the MOGA Ace Power only works with devices that can fit inside of its sliding mechanism, so iPads are out. Secondly, it eats up the Lightning port, and while this might not seem like that big of a deal initially, it kills the potential for using your iOS device as a game controller on a TV. The latency introduced through AirPlay is substantial, and I can't imagine anyone playing a game on their TV via AirPlay using a controller for anything past the initial "Huh, well that's neat," sensation. It's "playable," in massive air quotes, but isn't a great experience by any means.

The MOGA Ace Power also has the annoying problem of not feeling like a $99 accessory. It's very possible to make the argument that the functionality of the device vastly exceeds products like the similarly priced Mophie Juice Pack Air but our brains are already trained by console manufacturers who sell official controllers for half that when it comes to what to expect out of how a controller should feel and how it should be priced.

The hollow feeling of the MOGA Ace Power, the clicky buttons, how little it weighs, the texture of the plastic and the loose rattle of the sliding mechanism when it's not fully extended with an iPhone or iPod touch inside all work against the device feeling like a $99 piece of kit. It's pedantic and nitpicky to be pointing out the texture of the plastic as "not feeling worth $99," but the point remains- It's a lot like the impression a car leaves on you by the sound and feel of its door closing. Does the solid thump of a Lexus door closing make it better than the light weight feel of a Kia's door closing? Probably not, but it all goes into the value judgement.

ACE POWER 3

Things get even worse when you compare the MOGA Ace Power to a Xbox 360 or PS3 controller, as both feel lightyears beyond the MOGA Ace Power in overall build quality in your hands- Doubly so when the MOGA Ace Power is in its limp and rattly closed form. Is it fair to make these comparisons? Probably not, but these sorts of controllers are the benchmark that we as gamers have been used to over the years, and while the MOGA Ace Power provides a step forward in functionality for iOS gamers, it feels like a step back in controller build quality.

If this sounds overly negative, I really don't mean it to be. iOS 7 controllers are in their infancy, and this is the very first one we've seen. Just like iOS devices themselves, these products are going to evolve and iterate over time, so it's not much of a surprise that the MOGA Ace Power isn't totally blowing my mind. It also doesn't help that the software support isn't really there yet aside from a few specific titles.

Despite all this, the potential still feels enormous. The MOGA Ace Power has the standard button layout that all future iOS 7 controllers are going to have, so it's not like there's even many drawbacks of being an early adopter picking one up when they launch tomorrow at Apple Stores and online. It's going to work with everything moving forward, although the hard Lightning connectivity and form factor requirements don't have me very excited for the inevitable iPhone 6 refresh next year in the event that it doesn't fit into the first wave of iOS 7 controllers we're going to see. These are exciting times, and even though the MOGA Ace Power feels like a baby step into the iOS 7 controller world, it's an important one, and I'm glad it's here.

  • nicoper

    Does it work for the 5th generation of iPod touch?

    • Mauiwoweee

      Yes it works for itouch 5th gen and iphone 5/5s, maybe 5c also. But yes 5th gen itouch and iphone up are supported. Except the ipads. 4th gen down isn't because they dont have the lightning port charger. Did that help you?

  • t0panka

    I go through whole article to read at the end that they are avalaible TOMORROW!!!!! Shut up and take my money!

    • Lucavious

      Why on earth would you want one if you read the article? You're paying twice the cost of a console controller for almost zero support in iOS. You'll barely get to use it even if you want to.

      • t0panka

        look in forums for thread about controllers ... there are also lists of games that are supported :)

        also that time i can actually buy it there will be more controllers so i can choose but i like this one because of that charging .)

    • zombierevolver

      I ll take your money :)

    • zombierevolver

      Btw u sound like one of the makers of this junkware. 99 bucks for this crap? I could get a replica for 20 dollars in china

      • t0panka

        :D tell me how much cost charging case PLZ ... and this is also a controller so :)

        And as i say above when i can actually order this there will be more controllers so i can choose one (i like GameCase most) but we waited too long for this sh1t so i don't care.

        Also if you like replicas from chine or crap like that i don't mind but keep it to yourself plz .)

  • speedyph

    Well doesn't seem like he had a blast WIF it but 99$ isn't bad but I'll wait for da blue tooth ones hmmm but it is kool we have controllers now

  • Gamer1st

    Pass.

    I want a good iOS controller, but this doesn't seem to be it.

    Especially since I want one for an iPad.

    It doesn't help that I have a Shield either. It's solidly built, feels great in my hands, and has a heft that says "play me". It's like using the large first-gen Xbox controller, (not the smaller S one). This offering from Moga has none of that, so I say NEXT!

    • Mauiwoweee

      Its better than your thumbs on the screen!
      So yeah I'll definitely get it.

      • Gamer1st

        Probably true.
        I should explain that I use a stylus for all my iPad gaming when possible.
        So fingerprints, blocked views, and some other problems aren't as big of a deal for me as they may be for others using a smaller device and their fingers/thumbs.

  • defunct32

    This is what dreams are made of!

    • dariusjr98

      Hey now, hey nooow!

  • Deixa

    What is that racing game on the screen?

    • Noam Rathaus

      I want to know too, I fear its a "fake" image

    • shieldser99

      Real racing 3

      • Dammster

        Rally? So what is the name of that car in your opinion?
        Doesn't seem so.

  • Robot:String

    The design looks nice. It's a pitty that it's a bit flimsy.
    In the end, it all depends on the type of games you like to play. FPSs will benefit greatly from this controllers. While other games gain nothing from it. Oceanhorn could benefit from it (assigning buttons to bombs, arrows or spells would be great). But most important, reducing the visual clutter from virtual controls will really make a difference, as smartphone don't have a lot of screen real state.
    Yep, potential is great.

    • Gamer1st

      Driving and racing are also helped a lot. I actually stopped playing games like Asphalt and the other recent racers after playing them on the Shield. Eventhough it has a much smaller screen, the tradeoff is worth it to have triggers and sticks for controls.

      • Robot:String

        You're absolutely right. Driving and sports game would benefit from phisical controls.

  • the fish

    I'll have to wait till I have something to compare it to. Would love to play Bastion like its supposed to :(

    • Ph0lly

      You mean on your PC?

      • the fish

        I played it on xbox with the controller and it was great! So I looked forward to this but was disappointed because of the touch controls.

      • Ph0lly

        Then you've already played it the way it's meant to be played.

      • psiboy

        So what was the point of your post...

    • http://www.silentrocco.com/ Silent Rocco

      Found the touch controls to be perfect! One of the few games I couldn't put down until I finished it.

  • scamper

    "The MOGA Ace Power has the standard button layout that all future iOS 7 controllers are going to have." The thought strikes fear into my heart — please tell me that not all future controllers will feature Microsoft's beloved asymmetrical sticks. As an Apple aficionado (and I imagine not the only one here) I have trouble believing a rather Xbox configuration would rule the day. I hope to see symmetrical sticks from competing controllers, or I'll happily live with screen smears.

    • ChilLama

      I like the wii u pro controller layout the most.

    • chief78

      It's a preference thing. I prefer asymmetrical. If they made one with swappable analog/dpad, talk about killing 2 birds with one stone. I'd be all over that...

  • RayZZoo

    Another disadvantage is the fact that you cannot use a headset when using the MOGA. I play a lot in the train, and it will be not possible to play with sound and MOGA.

    • Manfred

      It appears to have a headphone jack in the photos on the Apple Store.

  • hourglass

    While this is really cool, it's still too pricey.

    Seriously, you could get a used Xbox 360 with games for that much (at least in my area).

    • chief78

      We're talking Apple pricing ;)

  • shieldser99

    Hopefully developers start adding controller menus to there games that allows the player to customise the buttons functions when connected to MOGA. Also an option to fade or remove on screen buttons as the are not needed when connected to MOGA. If anyone has one yet, does it work with emulators?

  • Estagmar

    Logitech ... your turn.

    • Boris Nguetie

      Did you even see that stickless logitech upcoming controller?? What in the bloody hell would you be able to play with that?!

      • Site Untitled

        LEGO Lord of the Rings apparently

  • zergslayer69

    When the rumored 5.7" iphone 6 is out, this controller will no longer be compatible. But I imagine they'll have had a new design planned by that time. Shame no emulators on ios unless jailbroken (or gridlee but that probably doesn't have ios 7 controller support)

    • Juroku

      A couple weeks ago, TA made an article specifically for non jailbroken emulators that are still possible to get.

      • zergslayer69

        Yea I saw that, only tried SNES one, it was definitely more for novelty than playability. UI was rather horrid compared to stuff like snes9x on android/ios.

  • addicted2games

    So far all the iOS 7 controllers iv seen are controller-case gimmicks. Which obviously all have restrictions on different devices. I just want a decent feeling Bluetooth controller that's not attached to the device!

    Also the prices for these controllers are going to be way too high than they should be. Compare them to an Xbox 360 controller price? (Which has more tech and better craftsmen ship)

    How many of you guys tried a tweak called bluetrol on a jailbroken device?
    Basically it allowed Bluetooth controllers to be paired with the device and buttons assigned to touches on the screen.
    It worked well for some games but not so well for others. Either way it was a step in the right direction. And may possibly be an answer to perfect ios 7 Bluetooth controllers!
    If the developer Matthias Ringwald can somehow hook into the iOS 7 sdk like he has Bluetooth. We would have instant ps3 dualshock controller support :) maybe worth dropping him a message.

    • swatbot

      Yes, my PS3 controller runs GREAT on my jailbroken iPad, at least for games that natively support controllers. (I haven't tried mapping controller buttons to the screen)
      (I should also mention my PS3 controller runs great on both my Mac and my PC).

      It's too bad this is still even an issue when the support is there. -Edit- Oh, and a PS3 controller costs what, $40?

  • renzy18

    People quit sooking about the price, $99 is nothing compared to everything we buy worth more $200ish people buy more then one stuff and they cost more then some controllers,

    at least we have decent controller to enhance disadvantaged touch screen and help us enjoy better pleasure with FIFA, NBA, Real racing/Alphats 8, role playing games like Zenonia, oceanHorn, Lego games, modern combats, etc etc i always wanted controllers
    And those complaining about battery

    Games drain faster then any apps we use 10-15mins playing they are from 100-70 to 30% we charge our device more then once occasion

    Lastly to those complaining bout case controllers, either you are stupid and cant read and haven't done any research there are TWO type of Controllers one with bluetooths which are standalone without CASE and other with CASE you will get two choice and there are 3 other 3RD party controllers so be patient and shut your whining we haven't even recieve them yet

    • WarMachine

      Corporations must love you and your beautiful logic.

  • jin choung

    Pffft... That thing looks like if I even tried to deliberately break it, it would come apart.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Isn't that the case with... Literally any product ever released, ever? If you try to deliberately break it, you probably can.

      • jin choung

        why yes it is. yes it is indeed... (i was just being facetious :) )

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Sorry, I NEVER KNOW WITH INTERNET COMMENTS! ;)

      • jin choung

        heh... indeed. cheers!

      • dariusjr98

        Ever had an old Nokia?

        You could drop a nuke on one of those, and it would work just fine.

  • Mhunt190

    $100 for a controller? There out of there mind!!!

    • Mhunt190

      First off cheap plastic! It should be $50!

      • zombierevolver

        It should be 20

  • octopus

    Well, I own a Wiimote and an iControlPad, they are both not that convinient to use with iOS devices but they are universal. I also would like the controller to be wireless. So, two clickable sticks, d-pad, ABXY, select-start, L1 R1, L2 R2 (optional) and I’ll buy anything. I think Logitech will make it right.

  • Ph0lly

    Well there goes portability, for a bit more you could just get a 3DS or Vita and play REAL games. Besides, would anyone really use this in public, you'll look like such an idiot.

  • HansKaosu

    bleh. I just want a iPad controller.

  • Kane

    Like Goldberg used to say - Who's Next? On a serious note, I think the price is too high for a pad that looks like a fisher price toy. Design is not great, and the buttons make a click sound. I will pass this abomination.

  • grammatonfeather

    Real shame they restricted use to tiny screen phones. I have an iPad and so of course have no interest in playing games on a phone. My phone is now android based but since I own iPad that is where I want my games to be. These phone only designs are pretty lame.

  • Hampus Jensen

    "all of the developers out there releasing updates to add iOS 7
    controller support are doing so without actually testing on a
    controller."

    Well, that is kind of to be expected at this moment isnt it? It's not like the controllers are yet widely available.

  • salvee

    Please review the tactslider!!! I wanna use my iOS device and airplay to my tv with no lag...it seems to be what I'm looking for. TACTSLIDER!!!

    • psiboy

      Tactslider has nothing to do with reducing airplay lag.

      • salvee

        Of course, but I could imagine there'd be less latency if I could use an iOS device airplayed to my Apple TV with buttons like thumbees and a tactslider...instead of an external controller. Just saying. I just wanna see touch arcade do a review on it.

  • Birth1118

    shut up and take my money!

  • crunc

    That looks to me like it would be very uncomfortable - would cramp up my hands pronto.

  • Mike

    This hot mess is a Kick Me sign waiting to happen.

  • Mike

    This would be a great holiday gift for anyone trying to repel women.

  • DMan2385

    FINALLY!!! Can't wait to try these babies out

  • staraffinity

    Question: is the analogue stick really analogue?

    I remember playing Limbo on Playstation 3 and there there was an acceleration to the characters movement speed depending how much you angled the analogue stick.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Yes, it's analog. :)

  • bilboad

    Thanks for the review. Not sure why you made such a big deal about how the controller feels when it's not connected to a phone. It seems like when it's actually connected to a phone it works quite well. It sounds like the main substantial problem/limitation is that it won't work with iPads. For me personally that's a fatal flaw, since my iOS gaming is almost exclusively on my iPad, but for people who already game a lot on their phones this seems like a great option.

    You made a good point about how the controller covering up the Thunderbolt port means people won't be able to use their phone as a game console connected to their TV. I wonder how many people that would really be important to though. As good as iOS games are getting, they're still not the same quality as console or PC games for the most part. The main advantage of iOS games is the fact that they're mobile. I'd guess the people who want to play iOS games on their TV are a small niche.

    Most of the review seemed to be about the current state of app support, rather than about this controller. Obviously game developers will need to catch up, but that's to be expected given that most developers who have added controller support probably didn't even have a controller to test with. Now that one is available I bet most developers will get one and release updates to their games soon with better controller support.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      This isn't a review, there's really nothing to compare it to. We will start doing reviews of controllers once there's more than one to compare it against.

      • bilboad

        Thanks. Sorry, I did realize this wasn't a real review, that was just a poor word choice on my part. Please substitute "article" for "review". I really appreciate the heads up information on what it was like using this controller. On reading the article I initially had the impression that you were being a little gratuitously negative about problems that are just to be expected at this stage, kind of like writing an article about a beta test of a game and spending most of it detailing the bugs you ran into. On rereading the article though I think my initial impression was off, and you wrote a well balanced and informative "first impressions" article.

      • shieldser99

        Does it work for the SNEZ emulator that came out a few months back (remote file manager)? Also modern combat 4?

  • thestapler

    Rad! Wonder if anyone will do anything for the iPad.

  • mutts

    It cost $99 ?? Talking about overpriced piece of plastic!

  • benjzadro

    Will there be an iPad version of the controller

  • spike17spiegel

    I want an ipad version.

  • gldoorii

    99 bucks?! Lol

  • GenerallyEpic

    Would you still suggest this controller? I want to buy COD Zombies, and I have Dead Trigger 1 and 2. And also since Christmas is coming up, should I suggest this to people wondering about gifts?

  • http://www.silentrocco.com/ Silent Rocco

    Can't wait for the comeback of physical keyboards on my touchscreen devices. /s

  • PlannedObsolescence

    Thus far all these controllers are for iPhone 5+ which is kinda stupid not supporting 4S as i have a 4th gen iPad so games/etc run great leaving me no reason to buy a newer iPhone, esp since iOS 7 works fine on 4S. between this and the fact these are hardware items it seems a bit gougy to me as there have been plenty of app based controllers for iPhone to use w/iPad games but they mysteriously disappear or get no support and now there's $100+ accessories to do the same thing. esp with the burgeoning freemium/ipa model of game distribution, it's hard for me to justify investing any additional monies in a controller for an iPad, esp one tgat would require a new phone. just sell a controller, it would be cheaper and make more sense. greed ain't always good.

  • Chris Chaffin

    So no Bluetooth? That sucks so I can't use it with my iPads? FAIL!!!!

    Apple should just support ps3 dualshock.

  • renzy18

    Does anyone know when MOGA ACE POWER controller comes to Australia apple store or retail? since they out in UK and US?

  • Eric Dunn

    I bought the controller and it is awesome. Gaming is so great now.

  • Loke1988

    Reading this makes me want to fire up the old XBOx and PS3. Ill wait for Blue Tooth that's future proof.

  • Chris Jaramillo

    This site needs to fix how my iPhone 5s can comment on here

  • apollo

    This would truly be an excellent controller if it had Bluetooth comparability for ipad and ipad mini.

  • apollo

    This would be an excellent controller and more worth $99 if it were to add Bluetooth comparability for iPad and iPad mini.

  • chief78

    It's a great controller for the games it works on. So far, that is Sky Gamblers: Ace Squadron, Battle Supremacy, Asphalt 8, Final Fight Trilogy, GTA: SA, King of Fighters i2012, Real Boxing, and CoD: Strike Team (that I can personally testify to). All have pretty well integrated controls minus a few quarks.
    ***BE WARNED*** After less than 7 days of owning and extensively using this controller, the damn thing just literally stopped working last nite. It's as if the internal battery fried or something critical just broke. It won't power up, and if I hook up the USB to charge it, nothing happens now. So, I have a total hardware failure. I had read reviews of others saying the same thing, so they've def built an inferior quality product.....it's a total shame because this controller is legit once u have it hooked in and use it.

  • chief78

    Note about the prev post, not once did I drop the controller, or bang it, or do anything at all that would cause the controller to "break." In fact, knowing it was a a fragile piece of "hardware", I babied it.....and it still broke....

  • andres payan

    Does it work for call of duty:black ops zombies on ios ?

  • andres payan

    Does it work for call of duty:black ops zombies on ios