by Brent Dirks
April 21, 2012
While I've been thrilled to see the influx of old-school console games, like Max Payne Mobile, hit the App Store recently, there has been one drawback – the controls. Rockstar Games did a great job transferring the console experience of one of my all-time favorite games to the iPad. But compared to holding a console controller, trying to navigate around the game with virtual joysticks was a difficult chore at best. Instead of paying attention to the game, I was making sure that my thumbs were exactly where they needed to be to move around the environment. So, instead of blasting bad guys and advancing to the next level, I spent time falling off window ledges and dying many needless deaths. But then I found Logitech's Joystick for iPad.
The GoodAt its heart, the solution is pretty simple. Compatible with all generations of the iPad, the joystick is anchored by small suction cups. To use the joystick, the suction cups attach to the iPad's bezel, whether in portrait or landscape mode. I was a little hesitant, at first, to believe that the suction cups would provide a strong enough hold while playing games. But, my fears were unfounded as the joystick never moved while using it. It was also very easy to remove the suction cups when needed. Composed of clear plastic, the joystick part of the solution is very unobtrusive. While playing Max Payne Mobile and other games on my iPad, I never felt like the joystick blocked or covered up any of the on-screen action. In a well-lit room, you should be able to see right through to the action. Being composed of rings, the joystick also automatically returns to the center position after using it, which is also very handy during intense action situations.
The BadWhile the joystick does improve the experience playing some iPad games, it's not perfect. Like many console gamers, I'm used to gently placing my thumb on the joystick while playing in anticipation of the next move. But if anything, Logitech's solution was too sensitive. Even the slightest touch of the joystick at an inopportune time caused on-screen movement. Once I figured that out, I made sure to keep a thumbs-off policy until I needed to move around. I also question how long the joystick would hold up with normal wear and tear. Even though Logitech thankfully includes a small carrying pouch, I wouldn't define the joystick as sturdy. But I was glad to see that Logitech offers a three-year warranty for the solution.
VerdictIf you have problems playing iPad games that feature a d-pad or joystick, Logitech has a great answer with its Joystick. Even though there are some downsides, I found it to be the perfect companion for virtually any game that uses a controller. The Logitech Joystick lists for $19.99, but can be had at Amazon for less than $16. You might also look at your local Target. I snagged mine for $5.98 on clearance. What other iPad gaming accessories should we take a look at?
Max Payne Mobile