iCade 8-Bitty Retro Wireless Game Controller

The Good The iCade 8-Bitty Retro Wireless Game Controller is cute, not too expensive, and works with a decent batch of iCade-compatible games. It's also Android-compatible.

The Bad It's not a universal controller. Some compatible games end up with awkward button layouts. The old-fashioned lack of analog pads means it won't work with many iOS games. Android compatibility limited to an emulator app.

The Bottom Line iCade succeeds in shrinking last year's arcade cabinet down to a clever pocket size with the 8-Bitty controller. Even though it won't work with many iOS games, the price is low enough that some people will want to buy it anyway for the novelty.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 5.0
  • Performance 6.0
6.0 Overall

Review

Retro iOS game controller with a handful of quirks

No, you don’t need a dedicated iPad/iPhone game controller. Let’s just settle that right now. I used to think it would be a fun idea, and sometimes I still do, but iOS games are too fluid, and too few use button schemes that make sense in a physical controller format.

An screwed-on back cover accepts two AAA batteries, and an on/off switch keeps battery drain down. Pairing is easy, although as CNET's Rick Broida pointed out, once you're paired you can't use the iPad's onscreen keyboard anymore. The 8-Bitty is even more portable than the Duo Gamer. It’s more comfortable, too. You can even you use it with your iPhone, though I'm not sure why you would: it's larger than the iPhone 5.

This isn't the perfect iOS game controller. It's an awkward, feisty little gadget that won me over with charm, not usefulness. It might do the same to you, if you keep your expectations low.

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