Mobile Add-On that Works.
As the smartphone market continues to grow exponentially by the minute, gamers are leaving their PSP/PS Vita’s and 3DS units at home. Games on iPhones and Android devices have become widely popular and have received a huge amount of support from game developers such as Sega, EA, etc. and now we are starting to see a trend of accessory manufactures moving into the smart phone gaming business as well.
No matter how cool it can be to play your favorite RPG, First Person Shooter, or classic arcade game on your smartphone, the experience nowhere near matches the gamepad on your console, or even your PSP. There have been a few solutions out there such as the iCade, Nyko’s PlayPad controllers or even something as ridiculous as putting rubber thumb pads on the screen but the gaming experience isn’t the same.
The MOGA by Power A is a Bluetooth enabled device that connects an Android device such as a Samsung Galaxy S3 and allows you to play games with an actual console style controller. The MOGA is one of the very few successful attempts in bringing the console gamepad experience onto a smartphone.
Design / Build Quality
When I first heard of this device, I had very low expectations given my experiences with other peripherals making similar attempts. However, the second I took this out of the box and held this in my hand, I was immediately impressed on how well this is designed along with the solid build quality of the MOGA. The MOGA feels like a cross between the Xbox 360 Controller so it Nintendo Wii’s Classic Gamepad so it feels natural in my hands.
There are dual analog sticks, a standard four-button configuration, and two shoulder buttons. The front section has a clamp that opens up which cradles the smartphone or tablet. The control itself has rubberized grips with a counterbalanced design for comfort. It is powered by 2 AAA batteries so it doesn’t drain any power off your phone.
Initial setup was an easy 1-minute process. Power on the device and hold the Power A button to enter pairing mode, and accept the device on your phone. You also have to install the MOGA Pivot app software onto the Android to take care of all the required software configurations and to download the MOGA Enhanced games.
Once that’s done, you lift up the adjustable arm from the front of the controller and you place your phone into it as it acts as a stand, which is angled for a comfortable view.
One of the few things you have to keep in mind with the MOGA is that it will officially only work with games that support the MOGA controller which is sort of a bummer but the device already has a good lineup of developers that include the big players such as: Atari, Gameloft, Namco Bandai, Remedy Entertainment, and Sega and that list continues to grow. On the device launch date, there will be 40+ titles that will be compatible with the MOGA including Dead Trigger, NOVA 3, Duke Nukem 3D, Sonic CD, Sonic 4, and a whole lot more.
The first game that I played was Sonic CD and with the MOGA gamepad, I felt right at home as the controllers were natural and responsive. I was also surprised at how well the force feedback on the game can still be felt when using the device. All the jumping, spinning, and the spin dash were all effortlessly performed.
Next title I tried was NOVA 3. The Moga performed beautifully. I actually started to enjoy playing FPS games on a smartphone again. Playing with the touchscreen alone was very cumbersome and I could never get used to it. With the MOGA, moving, aiming, shooting and switching weapons were all pulled off with ease.
The MOGA is a very well thought out device and I am very impressed with how much detail and effort Power A put into this from the design, build, and even gaining the support of game developers for their controller. The only issue is that it doesn’t support all Android games or emulators and the challenge for Power A is that they need to stay on top of the developers for its long-term success.
At $50 with Sonic CD and Pacman included, Power A’s MOGA is an excellent value for smartphone gamers.