With Razer’s stunning Kishi for Android, with GAMESIR and their X2 in both Bluetooth and USB-C form and with Nacon coming to the market with their brilliant MG-X controller, times have never been harder for the Rotor Riot team to make an impression. And as we know, it’s the first impressions that really count. With that in mind, a little bit of disappointment hits home here.
The Rotor Riot crew has finally been able to release their Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller in a form other than iOS, with their latest model now fully playable for those in the Android army, after a two-year wait. The problem is that two years is a long time, and while Rotor Riot was one of the first to market with a great small peripheral for mobile gamers – and those of us who use Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud — there is now a lot of competition in the market. Is this product ready to take on the competition?
The Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller for Android is an all-black piece of kit, very much designed in the same way as the standard Xbox controller. That’s obviously an immediate win, but upon first putting hands on this device, it does feel a little too plasticky to the touch. With little in the way of any textured surfaces, this scratchy plastic piece fails to really excite. Granted, it’s cheaper than much of the competition, but I live by the motto of the more you spend, the better quality of product you’ll get. That certainly seems to be the case here.
The same cannot be said for the D-Pad though. Again this just feels cheap to touch, clunky, chunky and rarely allowing for the precision you need. It sounds cheap too and isn’t a preferable way of gaming. Thankfully, aside from the likes of Boulder Dash Deluxe in which the D-Pad comes into its own, it’s the thumbsticks which will be the primary focus of many Xbox gamers – especially those making the use of the Rotor Riot for Xbox Game Pass and Cloud gaming.
But let that slide for one moment and you’ll find that the Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller actually belies that initial feel. It’s well designed, fits the hand decently and comes with a couple of thumbsticks that are an absolute joy to use. With a little bit of squish to the concave designs of these sticks, your thumbs will grip them like there’s no tomorrow, with them rarely ever giving off any form of slip. They are an absolute joy to caress and utilise in your gaming moments.
Back onto the positives though and the standard ABXY face buttons are nice enough, even if it would be preferable to have a bit of colour injected into these. Black with a white/grey ish font, there’s absolutely no issues in you finding and hitting the button of your choice, no matter how manic things may get. The bumpers and triggers are both decent to use too and whilst these again feel a little cheap when compared to the competition, they absolutely do the job intended of them, allowing for a nice forefinger flow between the two options.
As a non-Xbox branded product – and remember, the Rotor Riot is compatible with a host of Android games, not just those through our beloved Xbox Game Pass – the home button and menu/start options are covered by Rotor Riot’s own unique takes. Again, they are easy to depress and cover exactly what is required of these type of buttons.
The latter of these comes out of the back of the controller, with a short wire allowing for connection to your Android phone. Now, this is a USB-C cable, so you’ll need to ensure that your phone is covered in that regard (although the vast majority of newer phones will be), and when attached provides power to the Rotor Riot controller. Connection is immediate, an absolute cinch to engage and allows you to scroll through your phone by making the most of those brilliant thumbsticks – all with no lag. The cable isn’t particularly long (some 65cm in length when unraveled) and so it rarely gets in the way of what you are doing.