If you play games on your Android tablet—and don’t front like you’ve never pulled out your tablet for the specific purpose of doing so—Nyko wishes to make your mobile gaming experience truly complete with two new controllers: the Playpad and Playpad Pro.
Picking up the Playpad Pro at the demo station, the very first thing you notice is the same shape and feel that Nyko made us love with the Raven controller they released a couple of years ago. It’s very comfortable to hold, and the satin feel to the controller is something I wish the console manufacturers would pick up on.
The regular Playpad is smaller and more closely resembles the size of an old NES controller, but still manages to fit nicely in hand and squeeze in all the needed buttons. Perfect for anyone who likes to travel light, but still take their gaming seriously.
The button layout on the Playpad Pro is familiar to anyone who’s picked up a controller in the last ten years; two clickable thumbsticks, a D-pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, select, start, home, and two triggers on each side. On the more compact Playpad, you lose one trigger button on each side, and lower-profile circle pads replace the thumbsticks.
The Android tablets were loaded up with Dark Kingdom, a third-person dungeon crawler that had enough features to try out most of the controller’s different buttons. (The game itself wasn’t too shabby; but we’re talking about the accessories here!) My experience was mostly flawless. Both controllers connect to your tablet via Bluetooth, so there’s no lag to speak of. For some reason I expected a slightly noticeable amount of slowness, but everything was snappy and instantaneous.
The only issue I ran into between both controllers was with the circle pads on the Playpad. It just wasn’t as fluid with movement as the thumbsticks on the Playpad Pro; sometimes when moving my character, it would act more like a 4-direction D-Pad then the circle pad with it’s full 360 degrees of motion. In the interest of full disclosure; I was trying to stress test it to see if I could find bugs when I ran into that problem, so that tells you how well the controllers held up.
I guess there is one other slightly disappointing thing; these controllers are currently only compatible with Android tablets, so all of you iPad users are out of luck.
If you’re a serious gamer but want actual tactile controls for games on your Android tablet, Nyko has seriously made your wishes come true with both of these controllers. Both the Playpad and Playpad Pro work incredibly well; your main decision is just a matter of how portable you want your controller to be. Make sure to pick one (or both) up if you have a Droid tablet and would like to stop fighting the touchscreen controls and actually enjoy your games!