MOGA Pocket Controller Review

Technology

Moga-Pocket-review

MOGA Pocket Controller Review
Manufacturer: PowerA
Compatibility: Bluetooth enabled Android 2.3+ smartphones and tablets
Price: $59.00 AUD (Available here)

Mobile gaming has become a force to be reckoned with. For those who may disagree, check out the millions of downloads in the app store, or how many speculate the failure of the PS Vita due to the rise of mobile gaming. If not, just look at that aunty you hate who thinks video games are a waste of time yet still sends you all those annoying Candy Crush requests on Facebook. Mobile gaming is bigger than ever and the hardcore gamers and continuously trying to find new ways to take it to the next level. Hell I recall back in 2011 plugging my iPhone into into my car while playing Dead Space just so I could use the speakers as a lame attempt at surround sound. So you can imagine how rewarding it felt while holding the MOGA Pocket Controller in my hands. Although I have heard that the MOGA Pro Controller is slightly more comfortable than the MOGA Pocket, I haven’t had the pleasure on getting my hands on it, so as it stands the MOGA Pocket Controller is the most engaging mobile gaming experience I’ve had to date. In many cases gameplay is improved quite considerably and with the convenience of it being ‘pocket sized’ the MOGA Pocket Controller is an easy recommend to all hardcore mobile gamers.

Moga-Pocket-review-3The main selling point of the MOGA Pocket Controller over the Pro is of coarse the size and it doesn’t disappoint.  The controller is about the same size of an Android phone, so when they say pocket size – they really mean it. As for the design it has a very similar layout to an Xbox 360 controller, except with only two triggers as opposed to four and the start & select buttons replacing the d-pad. The controller connects via Bluetooth, and as a result there are two different ways the player can take control. The typical way is to flip up the centre piece upwards which the phone clips in place like a Nintendo DS. It seems to hold the phone quite firmly and with the grooves in the back of the controller there shouldn’t be any problems with anything falling out or slipping. Alternatively players can also choose to rest the phone somewhere else (up against a wall, down on a table, etc) and just play without the controller connected which is fine too. Gameplay is for the most part responsive, with generally little to no delay. Sometimes there can be a few issues on the odd occasion, but restarting the device generally fixes any issues. Batteries (two AAA) fit into the back of the grips which can be pulled apart which is convenient too. Ultimately the controller feels like a home console controller which is exactly what MOGA is about – bridging the gap between mobile and console gaming.

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Unfortunately the support for MOGA is hit and miss at the moment as some titles are clearly better than others. The best cases like AVP Evolution the swipe commands are translated into actions on the controller. However in other games like Dead Trigger some of these touch screen commands are ignored, and the player will still need to occasionally touch the screen like it of a 3DS title. This could perhaps be a conscious effort, but it’s something that should be noted. But like all ports it all comes down to the developer. That being said, the controller actually improves some titles. First-person shooters are easily the best example, as holding a controller makes the action feel more engaging and responsive. Furthermore you don’t have your hands covering half the screen so you’ve got even more of a fighting chance against hordes of enemies. Playing retro titles like Sonic the Hedgehog and Pacman with the MOGA controller really helps tap into that retro feel, with the light-weight controller keeping the gameplay feeling nostalgic. After playing various titles I couldn’t help but find my mind racing with excitement over what other awesome titles would benefit from MOGA. Personally, my fingers are crossed for Street Fighter IV Volt!

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In order to get the most out of your MOGA Pocket Controller it’s recommended to download the free MOGA Pivot app. This handy little app greatly assists in connecting the device as well as navigating through all the apps on your phone which are compatible. It even goes as far as also showing off other titles available on the app store compatible with MOGA as well, with the option to purchase them. This way gamers know all their options of MOGA enabled game and let me tell you most of these are pretty tempting! With even more and more titles becoming MOGA enabled the library is only getting bigger, which is very exciting for hardcore mobile gamers.

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If you’re the type of gamer who’s eagerly waiting for the day mobile games rival console titles, the MOGA Pocket Controller is a must-have. Mobile gaming has never seen a controller like this before, balancing both comfortable and responsive controls with it’s convenient size that fits right into your pocket. The pivot app takes it all a step further, making the library of titles more accessible and the option of having the phone connected or disconnected to the controller is also a nice touch. If that’s not good enough – it’s only $29.95 and it’s totally worth it. Admittedly it’s not perfect – the plastic looks like it could suffer from prolonged wear and tear and there are seldom connectivity issues may appear, but the positives greatly drown out these minor setbacks. The MOGA Pocket Controller is easy to recommend and personally I’m looking forward to more products from PowerA in the future.

Be sure to check out video review below

8-5-capsules-out-of-10
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

Matt Vella. Capsule Computers' Community Manager. I say 'Laters' a lot.

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