We review the innovative Gamevice controller, which snaps firmly onto your iPhone, iPad Mini, iPad Air or iPad Pro and adds joypad controls and buttons for all of your gaming needs.
We’ve reviewed a fair few mobile games controllers here at Recombu, which connect via Bluetooth to your iPhone, iPad or Android device and give you more precise, responsive and frustration-free controls than hopelessly mashing the touchscreen. However, the Gamevice is definitely our favourite iOS games controller so far, offering a unique and clever design that makes on-the-move gaming so much easier.
Here’s our full Gamevice review.
Gamevice review: Design and features
Most mobile game controllers for iPhone and iPad sport a traditional console-style design, connecting wirelessly to your phone or tablet using Bluetooth. This is perfectly fine if you’re sat at home with the device propped up somewhere, but if you’re travelling on crowded public transport it’s an absolute ballache and often an impossible arrangement.
That’s where the Gamevice offers a clear advantage. This controller actually snaps onto the left and right edges of your iPhone or iPad, holding it tight like a vice. When in use, your iOS device resembles Sega’s old Game Gear console, except with a battery life considerably greater than fifteen minutes.
On the left side you get a thumbstick and d-pad, while the opposite side holds a second thumbstick (perfect for most third and first-person action titles) as well as four action buttons (labelled A, B, X and Y, just like the Xbox controller). You also have four trigger buttons (two either side), and a menu button that can generally be used to pause a game and access the settings.
We tested the iPad Air Gamevice, which also works perfectly with the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro. I found that the controller snapped firmly into place, held there neatly by the spring action as well as the iPad’s Lightning port. You can shake this thing ragged and it won’t fly off. The iPad’s volume buttons are left exposed and easily accessed, although the power button is a little harder to reach as it’s partly covered by one edge. No biggie.
A nice touch is the secondary headphone jack, built into the base of the Gamevice. It’s not essential as I still managed to fit my earphones into the iPad’s standard jack, but this proved an easier option.
The Gamevice is very comfortable to use on the go, even when standing up, thanks to its easy-grip design and the way that it effectively becomes an extension of your iPhone or iPad. It’s also great for late night gaming, as you can lie back in bed and hold your device and the Gamevice up over your head. Just don’t do it when you’re knackered, or you might fall asleep and twat yourself in the face with the makeshift rig, like I did.
The only problem is that the Gamevice is pretty chunky, so not exactly easy to ram into a backpack.
Gamevice review: Game compatibility
Of course, a games controller can be as tightly designed as you like, but if it won’t work with any games that you like, it’s about as much use as a sex aid for tortoises.
Thankfully the Gamevice doesn’t have this issue. Support for new games is being added all of the time, including indie titles and big AA games from the App Store. Recently support was added for games like Never Alone, Heroes of Loot 2, Dungeon Time and Goat Simulator Waste of Space, while popular classics like Assassin’s Creed Identity, GTA, the LEGO games and Minecraft are all supported too.
For a full list of Gamevice compatible games, check out the Gamevice Live app on the App Store. It’s free to download and includes a full list of games that work with Gamevice.
Gamevice review: Battery life
The Gamevice charges via a microUSB port on the right edge, which is mildly annoying; you’ll need to carry two cables with you on trips rather than just the Apple Lightning cable that came with your iPad or iPhone. Still, that’s a minor quibble and the good news is that the Gamevice gives a good few hours of gameplay per charge.
You can check on the battery status at any time too, by tapping a hidden button on the bottom right edge. There are four LED lights above the Gamevice’s headphone jack that light up, showing roughly how much charge remains.
Gamevice review: Verdict
The Gamevice is a pleasingly comfortable game controller for iPhones and iPads that easily beats the competition, making portable play so much easier. You can grab a Gamevice for your iPhone, iPad Mini or iPad Air/Pro 9.7 right now from the UK and US Apple Store, for £80 ($100 US).