We get our hands on Gamevice for the iPhone – a classic-style controller that enables effortless gaming on your handheld Apple device
With handheld devices becoming ever more like mini games consoles, Gamevice have released a controller that aims to provide gamers with an improved gaming experience on their Apple devices. This controller attaches on either end of your handheld Apple device (versions exist for the iPhone, iPad, iPad Air, iPad Pro and iPad Mini), with a supporting strap along the rear, providing users with a classic-style controller that includes joysticks, a D-Pad, four action buttons and triggers along the top. We got our hands on a Gamevice controller for the iPhone 6 and took it for a spin.
The first step is to download the Gamevice Live app, which offers a vast variety of compatible games. Before readers sigh in dismay at the very fact that there are restrictive game options, let us assure you that this is far less limiting than it sounds. There’s a whole host of free games to choose from and there are even some very familiar games within the purchasable options too, including classics like Final Fantasy VII and Minecraft. After the user select’s their game of choice within the Gamevice Live app, the app links the user through to the apple store, where the game can be downloaded in the familiar fashion.
For the purpose of our review, we hand-selected two free games to trial. One driving game and one skateboarding game. It’s worth noting that the below content aims to review the controller itself and not the quality of the two games in question.
First we selected the classic gore driving game Carmageddon, which we used to play on the PC in our youths. Where driving games on consoles might typically be played using a steering wheels controller, it is undeniable that some console users still opt to use a classic controller. In this respect, the Gamevice controller can still be seen as replicating the console experience, despite the lack of a wheel.
With driving games, the handling of the driving experience is absolutely essential and we must say that the joystick made driving a far smoother experience than what we imagine it would have been like without one. We’re certain that if we’d discarded the Gamevice controller, we’d have felt like we were simply playing a cheaply made phone game. With the controller, however, it certainly felt more akin to a true driving game that you’d find on any serious console (bar the limited graphics).
Skate Party 3
For a second game, we opted to try Skate Party 3, for the simple fact that we used to love the Tony Hawks games back in the day and we wanted to see how a skateboarding game handled on the Gamevice controller. This one we immediately felt at home with. The controls themselves being almost identical to the Tony Hawks games, it felt very much like was had simply pulled our old PS2 out of storage and popped in one of our favourite skateboarding games.
This time, for the sake of comparison, we also tried this game without the Gamevice controller. With this particular game we found that the game flows just as well both ways, which does raise the question of whether there is any point having the controller at all. However, the Gamevice controller does provide you with that added illusory feel that you are playing a console and ultimately, this is where the controller’s strength lies – in that fabricated feeling, which is no small thing and which some gamers will no doubt actively crave.
When thinking in terms of travel functionality, the controller easily folds over on itself due to the bendy support band and can therefore be squeezed easily into any small bag. Whether users would actually take the time to the dig it out of their bag, remove their phone case from their phone (not an easy thing for many cases) and insert their phones into the controller remains the pertinent question, however. The actual application of the device is ridiculously simple – the device simply slots in like a phone charger – for us it’s merely the aggravation of removing our phone case that is the problem.
In all honestly we’d have to say that we probably wouldn’t see it as worth the effort, either when travelling or indoors, if we were undertaking a quick gaming session. For longer gaming sessions, however, we’d see the benefit and would probably be much more likely go through the process of attaching the device.
This is certainly a product that delivers on what it intends to provide. It grants the illusory console feel, it remains compact and it does function as a decent controller. The fact that these games play almost equally well without the controller does make the product a little redundant and far from a necessity. Therefore, we’d recommend it only to hardcore gamers who simply can’t go without that alluring console feel.
You can find out more about the Gamevice controller here.
Image credits: Gamevice, Ratrod Studio Inc, Stainless Steel Games Ltd