Category Archives: Controller Support

'Ys Chronicles 2' Review - Adol's Back, And He's All Fired Up

Last May, DotEmu surprised us with an iOS port of Nihon Falcom's Ys Chronicles 1 [$2.99], a PC remake of one of the best action-RPGs of the 1980s, Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished. Aside from a rough job on the English translation, the port came out surprisingly well. While the lack of an attack button has always caused some misunderstandings on other platforms, body-checking enemies into oblivion makes an awful lot of sense on a touch-screen device with no buttons to speak of. The game itself is just as great as it has ever been, with a blistering fast pace and amazing soundtrack that few other action-RPGs can match. The biggest downer of Ys Chronicles 1 is that it ends on a cliffhanger that leads directly into Ys Chronicles 2 [$4.99]. The two games are frequently packed together due to their tight continuity and are best enjoyed as one complete adventure. DotEmu quickly confirmed the second game would be coming to iOS as well, and here we are...

'Adventures Of Mana' Review - The Secret Is Simplicity

Adventures Of Mana [$13.99] is a remake of a classic Square Enix game, something that could be said for more than half of the company's iOS releases. Yet it's quite different from the usual Square Enix remake in that it's positively restrained in how much it chooses to change from the original game. It's especially interesting in light of the fact that said original game, Seiken Densetsu/Final Fantasy Adventure/Mystic Quest (henceforth Final Fantasy Adventure), was a 1991 release for the original Game Boy. On top of that, there was already one high-profile remake of the game, 2003's Sword Of Mana for the Game Boy Advance, which changed and added in a lot of things. Seeing Adventures Of Mana essentially present an early handheld action-RPG without doing much more than re-rendering everything in 3D and cleaning up the translation is certainly unexpected, but it's also most welcome...




The Gamevice for iPhone, rolling out to retail now, is a device that's both very functional, even showing some improvements on the earlier release of the model for the iPad Mini. It's a great controller, and its folding design makes it extremely portable. But it's held back in part by its high price, and by several functional trade-offs mandated by Apple requirements, not to mention the non-working Handoff functionality. It's a tough sell for the general consumer, but the Gamevice for iPhone is a solid controller if you're in for the $99.99 price, and you know exactly what you're getting...

The world of MFi controllers is still struggling to find its way more than two years after being introduced to iOS. There are quite a few controller options available nowadays, some quite good, some that are pretty terrible, and none that are absolute stand-out, must-own devices. However, one of the better MFi solutions to come along is the Gamevice from Wikipad. ..

The first couple years of MFi game controllers has lead to some uninspiring results. A controller I'd rate 4/5 in the MadCatz C.T.R.L.i has been by far the best, and is probably still the best, if only because it is a jack of all trades with no serious glaring faults or omissions. Yeah, that's how low the bar is. But for those who need just a controller for a specific circumstance, in comes the Gamevice. Born from the Wikipad, a 7" Android tablet that came with an attachable gamepad component, this is essentially the same idea but for iOS devices. While iPhone and iPad Air models are on their way later this year, the iPad Mini model is the first one up. While this is a pricey proposition at $99.99, and really only usable if you have an iPad Mini right now, it's a great controller if it is right for you. ..

'Super Happy Fun Block' Review - It's Super Fun, And That Makes Me Happy

Even though I should know better by now, I still frequently make judgements from the names of games. An evocative title will catch my attention and get me curious enough to at least give a game a try, while a generic one might leave a game lost in the shuffle. It's especially a problem on a platform with as many on-going releases as iOS. Super Happy Fun Block [$1.99] has a pretty plain name. It's so plain that even after it was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I really respect, I downloaded the game and left it unplayed for a while. When I finally did get around to it, I found a pretty amazing puzzle-platformer with a nice sense of style that few people seem to have noticed. Well, hopefully the old adage about late being better than never has some truth to it, because while the name might be bland, the game is fantastic and more people ought to be playing it...

'Minecraft - Pocket Edition Version 0.12' Review - You've Come A Long Way, Stevie

In the world of gaming, four years is a long time. In the specific corner of the hobby that is mobile gaming, four years might as well be twenty. It's long enough to turn the greatest of apps into digital dust, to add 1200 levels to Candy Crush Saga [Free], to see a new iPhone model launch and be discontinued, and certainly long enough for a diligent developer to turn around a disappointing launch release. Minecraft - Pocket Edition [$6.99] was a shell of its proper self when it debuted on the App Store back in November 2011, something we made note of in our original review. And while I don't want people to get in the habit of expecting a new review for every game that gets a significant update or two, Minecraft - Pocket Edition has come so far that almost nothing in our original review applies to the game anymore. With the release of a significant new version of the game, now is as good a time as any to revisit it...

'Oraia Rift' Review - The Good, The Bad, And The Dull

There's a surprisingly competent action-adventure game contained within Oraia Rift [$1.99]. There are lots of abilities to collect, most of which will be used to solve puzzles here and there throughout the game. The puzzles themselves are engaging enough, though fans of games like Legend Of Zelda will find very few new ideas among them. Lots of block-pushing, torch-lighting, switch-pulling, and that sort of thing. There are plenty of enemies to fight, including some bosses, though the combat isn't terribly satisfying on the whole. The world itself is a big, semi-connected maze that will have you backtracking to use keys or new-found abilities to open the way forward. It's a reasonably attractive game, too, particularly considering it's an indie effort. There are a few hours of solid enjoyment to be found here...

I've been putting the iPad Mini Gamevice through its paces – it was in my bag while I was traveling for two and a half weeks, and I'll have a full review of it soon. But for those who don't have an iPad Mini, there's going to be Gamevice hardware for both the iPad Air and one for all 4 iPhone 6 models: iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhones 6 models are going to be actually quite different, in that the rubber part that connects the two parts of the controller will fold together for easier storage and portability. Apparently this will support both the regular 6 and 6 Plus sizes in one size of hardware. Meanwhile, the full-size iPad model will require a new set of hardware. Here's what the iPhone Gamevice looks like:..

Not quite mentioned at the Apple TV keynote but worthy of mention is the new SteelSeries Nimbus MFi controller. While features-wise, it adheres to the standards of most extended MFi controllers, it has a few notable aspects. It boasts a large Menu button – presumably identical in function to the singular pause button on MFi controllers – and it's same in function as the Menu button on the Apple TV remote. SteelSeries and Apple are positioning this as the controller for Apple TV, which makes sense, particularly considering the unification with that menu button. But don't fret – the controller will support all other iOS devices that support MFi controllers. It won't have an iPhone clip, though...

'Final Fantasy 7' Review - Square Enix's Classic, With A Few Clouds In The Sky

With the exception of some of Nintendo's Pokemon games, there is no Japanese RPG more famous and high-selling than Final Fantasy 7 [$15.99]. That might be the only non-controversial thing a person could say about the game. It's the JRPG's Star Wars, a game that changed the course of the genre in many ways. It proved there was an audience for RPGs in the Western market, but it was also a bold statement for consoles adopting optical media and perhaps even Sony's entire mission with the PlayStation. Here is the future, its commercials screamed, and though they were pretty deceitful in one way, those commercials helped pave a new road for console gaming's future. For many people it was their first JRPG love, and the passion it drove in its fanbase pushed Square into the limelight worldwide to the extent that they could push a ridiculously-budgeted CG movie into wide theatrical release. It spawned spin-offs, sequels, prequels, and merchandise galore. And now, in 2015, you can play it on the phone you keep in your pocket...

Which MFi iPhone Game Controller Should You Buy?

The world of MFi controllers is still a bit of a crazy one at the moment. The first few months were rough: limited support from games, a dreadful selection of controllers, and even iOS issues that practically ruined the first good controller, the SteelSeries Stratus. Now, time has led to a greater number of games that support MFi controllers to where I have a huge folder full of them, and while the controller selection is full of ones with flaws, there's at least one controller I can wholeheartedly recommend as a great all-around package. Still, MFi controllers are still not a fantastic proposition on iOS...

'Nubs' Adventure' Review - A Tale Of Home Ownership In The 21st Century

Poor old Nubs. He had defied the odds of the modern economy and purchased a nice house with a great view and plenty of land to build on. Sure, the land taxes were a bit tough to manage each year when tax season came around, but he had things sorted out nicely for the most part. Then one day, a couple of guys swing around, kick him out of his house and off the nearby cliff, then burn the whole thing down. I mean, are debt collectors getting rough these days or what? Luckily, a fairy offers to help you rebuild a home in a new, even better location. You're just going to have to grease the wheels a bit with some fairy dust, which can be extracted from crystals that are just laying around the world, protected by deadly monsters, cunning traps, and treacherous terrain. All things considered, it's probably still safer than a bank loan...

With the iPhone 5 models fading into the past as the iPhone 6 takes over, and MFi controllers shifting into Bluetooth controllers with clips instead of Lightning-connected devices, it's not a surprise to see the Logitech PowerShell getting deep discounts. We're seeing some huge price drops on one of the first MFi controllers out there: Amazon sellers have it for $12.95, and discount sellers like LivingSocial have it for under $20. While this lacks joysticks, it will still work with many games that just use the d-pad and buttons...

'Ys Chronicles 1' Review - How Much Is That Dogi In The Window?

In my personal experience, I'm not sure if there's ever been as strong a case of sounding awful on paper but being outstanding in practice as Falcom's action-RPG Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished. I'm actually something of a latecomer to the series, though it was always in my periphery. During the old console wars, there were plenty of ads in game magazines for the SEGA Master System version, and later the TurboGraphx-16 collection of the first two games. It certainly got its fair share of positive press in reviews. In those naive years of my youth, however, I was a one-company boy, and my chosen team was Nintendo. Basically, that means my first experience with the Ys series was with Tonkin House's port of Ys 3: Wanderers From Ys on the Super NES. It was a bit of an odd duck in the series, but I didn't know that at the time. I wouldn't touch another Ys game for more than 20 years...

The Crissaegrim NES30 Pro isn't 8bitdo Tech's first portable iOS gamepad, but it's certainly the flashiest. Normally, I'd be skeptical that the NES30 Pro actually exists—the internet is littered with vaporware accessories gussied-up to look like old Nintendo products—but the Hong Kong-based company has other gamepads at a reasonable price on honest-to-goodness retailers, so I'll play along...

One of the unfortunately-missing features from Space Marshals [$4.99] was MFi gamepad support. This was quite unfortunate because Pixelbite has released games with controller support in the past, but alas, not this. Well, Pixelbite has just remedied the issue, adding MFi support to Space Marshals. The game works pretty well with touch controls as it is, but there's nothing quite like aiming with actual joysticks. As well, being able to switch weapons while aiming comes in handy during combat, if you need to switch from a rifle to an SMG, for example...

10tons' Crimsonland HD [Free] has just gotten an update with a feature that not a lot of folks may be able to use, but should be pretty fun to play with for those who have it: local co-op with multiple MFi gamepads. The co-op mode was available in other versions of the game, but wasn't on iOS – until now. While MFi gamepads are still a bit pricey, if you and a friend have the game and an iPad or at least the ability to hook up to a TV, you can go through the entire game in co-op mode, with support for up to four players, all using their own gamepads...

At about this time last year, Wikipad announced a new controller solution for mobile device gamers called the Gamevice. It featured a cradle design where your device attached between two controller parts and originally was intended for Windows 8 and Android tablets, with an iOS version being something Wikipad hoped to provide in the future. Then in June of last year, Wikipad unveiled a redesigned Gamevice, this time solely targeting compatibility with Apple's iPad. Well it looks like the Gamevice has undergone another slight redesign and is finally going to be available this March, as noted by Polygon. ..

I don't think a person needed to be a fortune-teller to see this outcome, but going back to my review of Tomb Raider 1 [$0.99] from last year, I ended it by expressing little hope for a potential port of Tomb Raider 2 [$0.99] fixing the control issues with the first game. It wasn't hard to guess because the problem is neither with the unorthodox and somewhat fussy controls of the Tomb Raider series, nor was it with virtual controls, but rather the marriage of the two that the mobile version offered. There's simply no clear way to map virtual controls to these games in a satisfying way. Tomb Raider 2 only makes that problem clearer with its increased challenge and greater emphasis on pulling off non-stop sequences of moves, particularly in timed situations. It's the kind of situation where I don't feel good about giving it a score, because if you have an MFi controller, this game is an incredible experience at a ridiculously low price, but if you don't, it's just about pointless to buy. Consider the number at the end of this review to be the middle of those two scenarios and apply it to your own situation accordingly...

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