One of the biggest pitfalls of mobile gaming is obvious – touch screen control. For some games, it’s a welcome augment and offers a wealth of malleable options that work well within the confines of design. For others, it’s a frustrating reality and reminder that mobile platforms may never live up to the benefits of tangible handheld alternatives. That’s where a device like Power A’s MOGA controller fits in. While the company released a decent, boxy original concept last year, their new and considerably improved MOGA Pro Controller is here to fix the design niggles.
Meant to solve the dilemmas that touch-centric games create for themselves, the MOGA is a comfortable handheld controller with a heft to it that does a great job of acting as a surrogate for on-screen touch mechanics that can sometimes hamper your fun.
The MOGA Pro Controller is a sturdy, attractive option for anyone who’s ever wished they could play a classic RPG with an “A” button with the satisfaction of actually mashing the button, or anyone who’s ever gotten tired of fogging up a touch screen with unsightly fingerprints. This heavyweight adds a digital d-pad, two analog sticks, large buttons, and allows players to configure their games to work best with the controller without complicated software. It also rocks a special arm that acts as a cradle for your smartphone or other handheld mobile device, as well as a tablet stand. The biggest downfall? iPhone and iPod Touch/iPad owners are out of luck once again. There’s no iOS support for the MOGA.
Despite that unfortunate pitfall, however, this accessory is still well worth your time. It resembles a shapely Xbox 360 controller with a company logo emblazoned tastefully in the middle, acting as a menu button. It’s also got slick triggers and bumpers. The rubberized grip is an arm in the middle of the pad that telescopes and holds your device snugly, unless you’re using a tablet. You’re still covered, with a plastic stand included with the package. No matter how you choose to play, you’re covered with this set. Charging is done via MicroUSB on top of the controller, and orange lighting can be turned on and off via switch on the underside of the controller as well.
HID mode and default mode are toggled on and off via switch, located under the smartphone arm. Default is what the controller is setup to use when you turn it on, but HID is useful in that you can map your own controls with it much like that of a keyboard. If you don’t want to use the games up for grabs in the built-in MOGA store and have a menagerie of Android games that you need a real controller for, HID is undoubtedly what you’ll gravitate to, especially since customization is simple and quick.
The MOGA Pro Controller is not only slick and great-looking, but it feels nice too. It’s got a “richness” to it that makes cradling and using it feel luxurious. Unlike last year’s original version’s boxy plastic body, the Pro version looks and feels like it exudes quality, and is definitely a contender for one of the best options in an already-crowded market of Android controllers. It’s just a shame that iOS owners have few alternatives as rugged or attractive as the MOGA. It’s well worth the asking price (free game of Pac-Man included) and makes an invaluable accessory for anyone who’s made mobile gaming a priority in their busy lives and touchscreens simply won’t due. This blows the iCade out of the water.
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