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.
Two things immediately stand out about the: its slick design and its highfalutin’ name. In a blurb on the company’s site, designer Weilin Li explains that his gamepad’s smooth edges and rounded corners were inspired by the Crissaegrim from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the game’s strongest weapon. Li thought that a curved design would make a portable controller more comfortable, and the NES30 Pro’s blue LED display is an homage to the Crissaegrim’s attack animation.
The NES30 Pro features your standard issue face and shoulder buttons, directional pad, and analog sticks and connects to iOS devices via Bluetooth. From what I can tell, 8bitdo claims that their device natively plays all iCade and MFi games. With a bit finagling, i.e. downloading 8bitdo’s app to a jailbroken device, the NES30 Pro also can also emulate touchscreen gestures and, assuming you have two gamepads, allows for local multiplayer, even on games without official controller support..
Lastly, this thing also doubles as a USB controller—OS X and Windows—and, strangely, a remote for the Nintendo Wii but not the newer Wii U. An internal CPU can be updated with firmware to support more devices in the future, 8bitdo says.
According to 8bitdo’s website, the Crissaegrim NES30 Pro should be available this month, but I haven’t found it at any of the company’s American retailers yet. In the meantime, it’s chunkier, blockier, and more authentically retro predecessor, the NES30, will run you $35 at Amazon and seems to stack up fairly well.