The Gamevice is a mobile controller created for the mobile iDevices of today. There are variants available for the iPhone, iPad mini, iPad 9.7-inch, and iPad Pro 12.9-inch. Here, we’ll go over the iPhone version, compatible with the iPhone 7 / 7 Plus, iPhone 6s / 6s Plus, and iPhone 6 / 6 Plus with perfect time to try the Gamevice being on a trip back home last weekend to visit my family. Claiming a seat in the train early on, I sat down and plugged in my iPhone 6.
My first impression was that overall the controller was well designed, in that they didn’t see a need to mess with what works. The layout mirrors common controllers for the most part and was a comfortable width for my hands, with the strap on the back snugly fitting around my iPhone. It was fairly compact although a little bulky for storage, which seemed unhelpful for making it convenient to travel with. This also translated into the device feeling solid and well-made with just the right amount of weight to feel right.
The first obstacle in my way was figuring out the initial controller mapping of the Gamevice controller. In order to do that, I had to go searching on the Gamevice site for the control mapping for the game I was playing, Soul Knight, which was the first game I decided to try out. Coincidentally, you can also download the Gamevice app to keep track of downloaded games.
The gaming experience, the main event, was a mixed bag overall. When the Gamevice worked, it worked great. It really brought an extra dimension to simpler games such as platformers, brawlers/button-mashers, and shooters where having a joystick made all the difference. I’m stating the obvious here, but the difference a joystick makes in movement and aiming in-game is tremendous. Particularly for me and my clumsy hands, it really helped with playing where I didn’t have to worry about fat fingering touch based controls. Another plus to being able to use the controller was having an unobstructed view of the screen. It actually frees up a lot of screen space, and saved my life a couple times when I had enemies coming from the edges of the map.
However, iOS games that have already been optimized to, or natively work with touch are actually often made less smooth when attempting to play them with a controller. Beyond that, my biggest gripe was that the control mapping sometimes didn’t fully work, or key actions weren’t mapped. Some games were basically unusable with the Gamevice due to having to touch the screen. This broke the immersion and was a little frustrating due to having to constantly switch contexts. Part of the problem they face is that with time developers have built around and adapted to the issues presented by touch controls, in many cases creating unique experiences only possible through touch. Attempting to co-opt that system in certain games simply creates a substandard experience.
Overall, as a replacement for a dedicated handheld console, I don’t think it’s quite there. However, what they’ve achieved is still impressive. If you’re simply looking to improve your iPhone gaming experience and don’t care about the price, or you’re obsessed with a game and you have the spare cash to throw around, then you should consider the Gamevice. Despite its flaws, when it does work, it shines.
You can check out the iPhone Gamevice, coming in at $99, for yourself by clicking here…