MOGA Mobile Gaming Controller ReviewJanuary 1, 2013
PowerA’s newest device, the MOGA, redefines Android gaming.
Mobile gaming has come a very long way in the past few years. It wasn’t too long ago that the best a phone could pull off was a Super Nintendo-esque side scroller. These days, Androids and iPhones are fast approaching console quality. The only thing really holding them back – and any mobile gamer will tell you this – is the controls.
Try playing a first person shooter on an iOS or Android device. It’s usually quite painful. Game developers do the best they can with what they’re given, but touch screens were built with a certain functionality in mind. Anything overly complicated requires the use of an on-screen simulated controller, and to say this method of control is unresponsive would be an understatement. Luckily, PowerA has developed the MOGA Mobile Gaming Controller – and man, is it awesome.
Essentially, the MOGA is a console-like controller that attaches via Bluetooth to your Android device (sadly, no such device is yet available for iOS). It looks like an amalgamation of the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Sega Genesis controllers, and it feels pretty great. It’s a bit light, and will feel a bit top-heavy once your device is clipped onto it, but you’ll quickly grow accustomed to it. The MOGA works with every Android device, even the big blocky ones- just keep in mind that the bigger and heavier the device, the less comfortable and more top-heavy the MOGA will feel. However, it must be said that this controller feels solid and comfortable to hold- it’s definitely not cheaply made.
So how does the MOGA actually fare in practice? It works incredibly well. I tested the unit on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, with games such as N.O.V.A. 3, The Dark Knight Rises HD, Sonic CD, Modern Combat 3, and Modern Combat 4 (which is the first game built from the ground up with the MOGA controller in mind). Every game felt about a thousand times better than when using the frustrating touch-screen controls. Strafing and aiming in FPS games was the most dramatic improvement, but third person games and even something simple (control-wise) like Sonic CD felt much more playable. Of course, Modern Combat 4 offered the smoothest controls as it’s the only title that wasn’t retroactively fitted for MOGA use, but every game I tested felt much more fluid, and fun. It’s like the difference between console controllers and keyboard and mouse precision, except about 10 times as drastic. It should be noted that there’s a MOGA Pivot App that neatly organizes all your compatible games into one neat list, and allows you to find more compatible games.
The only real flaws I can think of on the MOGA’s design is its lack of a D-Pad, and use of 2 triple-A batteries instead of a rechargeable one. Everyone hates batteries, but luckily the MOGA can be played for up to 18 hours on 2 batteries, so it’s not too tragic. Still, I hope that when the eventual redesign comes about, a rechargeable battery and D-Pad are included- even if it makes the controller a bit costlier than its current $50 price point.
With over 40 games currently playable on the MOGA device, and many more to come, PowerA’s newest device is definitely a worthwhile investment. You might actually find yourself having fun again with games you put down long ago.