Thanks to the rise of mobile gaming and technology, advanced console quality games (such as Dead Trigger and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas) are being produced for mobile devices. While these games do their best with touchscreen controls, they are still a far cry from controllers you'll find on PS4 and Xbox One. That's where the Moga Pocket Controller comes in. Take one look at the Moga Pocket Controller and you'll know what to expect. It's downright sexy, with glossy edges and a matte finish covering the face of the device. A stylish, glossy stand lifts up to reveal an even more glossy, more stylish surface beneath, displaying the orange Moga logo with pride. When you hold the device, there is an apparent attention to detail. A matte finish that covers the face of the device prevents the spread of annoying thumbprints, and the dual AAA batteries are handily stored on both sides device's back end allowing for greater grip. No matter what angle you view it from, the Moga Pocket Controller looks fantastic.
But looks aren't everything are they? Thankfully, the controller feels as good as it looks. Its size and weight are comfortable without being to large. The controller rests nicely in the hand and the underside has a comfortable softness to it. The Moga Pocket Controller has eight buttons, four standard A,B,X and Y inputs on the right, a start and select button on the bottom left, and L and R buttons on the shoulders. More impressively, the controller has two analog sticks, situated on the top left and bottom right, similar to what you'd find on an Xbox controller. The A,B,X and Y buttons are small, but well spaced apart, preventing anyone from pressing two buttons at once. They have a suitable "clicky-ness" to them that works great and offers instant feedback. The start and select buttons don't fair quite as well, but their mushy texture is more than adequate considering their rare usage. If the A, B, X and Y buttons were perfect, the L and R buttons are a godsend, giving tactile feedback with little force required. If you've ever used a Nintendo 3DS before, you'll know exactly what to expect from the analog sticks. They have a decent grip, but have too much resistance to them, meaning you will find your finger slipping quite a bit. Still, its leagues ahead of its touchscreen predecessor. The stand is another positive feature of the controller, sliding up or down to adjust to your phone (up to 3.2 inches). The angle in which your phone rests is comfortable , and a pair of grips prevents your phone from slipping. There are also two LED lights, the smaller one on the right lighting up to indicate the power status, and the larger one on the left indicating Bluetooth connectivity. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the Moga Pocket Controller's structure.
While the Moga Pocket Controller has a host of buttons, you could argue it's missing a few things. Most noticeably is the lack of a D-Pad, which may disappoint some gamers hoping to emulate some classic 2D games. Still, the left analog stick does a decent job when playing Super Mario, Mega Man, Rayman, or whatever your heart desires. Another absentee is a second set of triggers, i.e. the L2/R2 or LT/RT keys. This did pose problems when emulating classic PS1/N64 ect. games, but it can be forgiven considering the size of the controller.
Setting up the controller is a simple affair. To power on the device there is an on and off switch. Once active, the controller searches for any device running Android 2.3 or high via Bluetooth (it isn't compatible with iPhones). Open up the Moga Pivot app included with the controller and you're ready to go. Unfortunately, the Bluetooth connectivity can disconnect for no apparent reason, but this happens so rarely that it doesn't become a constant annoyance.
Included with the controller is a handy leather pouch, useful for long commutes, an instruction manual, and, more importantly, two free games: Sonic CD and Pac-Man. Sadly, the Sonic CD redemption code didn't work, but Pac-Man worked just fine. As I mentioned earlier, the free Moga Pivot app is needed to run the device, but it also serves another purpose. The app also has a store that displays all the Moga-enhanced games available, many of which are free. Keep in mind that only Moga compatible games will work with the Moga Pocket Controller.
In practise, the Moga Pocket Controller performs well. In my opinion, touchscreen controls can ruin an otherwise great game, either by painful control schemes or by the obstruction of your thumbs on the screen. One of the games I tested, Dead Trigger 2, was a testament to this and put the analogs in particular to good use. I would highly recommend it to the gamer that wants a console quality shooter on the go (It's free too!). Part of my decision to purchase the Moga Pocket Controller was to be able to emulate the PS1 games from my childhood. Thanks to physical controls, I can now play these games the way they were meant to be played.
The Moga Pocket Controller is a must buy for the hardcore gamer who wants to play console quality games the way they're meant to be played thanks to its comfortable shape, fine tuned look, and responsive buttons. It's not perfect, but it turned my Flappy Bird/Temple Run infested phone into a portable PS1, N64 and Gameboy to be proud of. For $15.00 on Amazon, the Moga Pocket Controller is an easy device to suggest, or for those who want an even more functional controller on the go, there is the Moga Pro Controller.