IPhone Game Controller: Rotor Riot offers a flowing mobile gameplay experience

With the launch of Apple Arcade, the number of great games to play on the iPhone and iPad has increased dramatically. And the lion’s share of Apple arcade titles work best when paired with a gamepad. Rutter Riot is probably the best third party option for the ongoing MFI game controller.

You can get Rotor Riot from Amazon or from the Apple Store.

First and foremost, the gamepad is well made. It has a soft-touch plastic exterior feature, which looks good to control and keeps the controller light.

Satisfied to press the initial input buttons and the analog sticks are humble. Interestingly, the sticks are clickable, which is not found in other MFI controllers. This is a welcome addition, but the ecosystem is not: most app store games do not provide action binding for L3 / R3 buttons.

The D-pad lowers it a bit. The rotor uses a circular design that you press on each corner for top-left-bottom-right inputs. To me it feels a bit light and indigestible. I like the more classic ‘plus’ layout, like what you find on PlayStation and Xbox controllers.

Market-leading MFI controller, stillsaris nimes, across Bluetooth. The rotor, however, uses a wired electric wire that extends from the rear of the unit.

Since the controller uses a wired connection, there is basically a zero delay. You press a button or hit a trigger on the controls and the game responds immediately. This can be important if you are playing high-action games like Mobile FPS. You don’t even have to worry about charging the controller because it feeds the battery of the iPhone or iPad to which it is plugged. (If you want to play and charge at the same time, the controller has an additional passstru port))

However, it is also moving to be wired. The lightning connection removes any compatibility with the Max or Apple TV. You just can’t use it there. It costs a bit to buy a controller that is only compatible with your iPhone and your iPad. You also have the practical disadvantage of leaving the controller outside. If you are connected to an iPad, you can only do this in a relatively short range. You are limited by the length of the cord. The rotor controller is really designed to go with the phone located in the included holster.

The angle of the halter helps the unit not to feel too heavy. I can’t go so far as to call it the ‘Zero-G Holder’, but I’m really surprised that the combination of the iPhone 11 and the gamepad doesn’t feel useless even for extended sessions.

This is a great configuration if you want to play some games with airplanes or travel by train. With the controller resting on your lap, the phone is only in the right corner for easy viewing of the screen. When you’re at home, playing on the sofa is fine … but not being able to play the big screen TV seems like a waste. And wired connection which makes it impossible.

The space for MFI game controllers has moved a lot since iOS 13 and TVOS 13 added built-in support for PlayStation DualShock and Xbox Wireless controllers. Many iOS users no longer need to buy a controller because they already have one. But there is a market because of the rotor riot design choices: on-the-go gaming-troubles

I’m not exactly sure how many people want to invest money for this experience. In a perfect world, the controller can be dual-purpose, sporting both Bluetooth and electricity, to make it compatible with Apple’s entire product lineup.

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