I’ve never been big on mobile games. Games like Candy Crush and Fruit Ninja have never been able to hold a candle to the console games I grew up on.
But it hasn’t just been the games. I need buttons — tangible buttons. And while there have been plenty of mobile-focused game controllers in year’s past, there hasn’t been a whole ton to do with them. Until now.
Two things have altered the field of play. First, my iPhone now has Apple Arcade, which includes a whole host of exclusive games, some more in line with my favs like Hollow Knight and Ori and the Blind Forest. Second, and the key to really unlocking their potential, I finally got my hands on the Razer Kishi.
The Razer Kishi is a gamepad accessory that effectively turns your smartphone into Nintendo Switch-esque portable console. It plugs directly into your iPhone’s Lightning port, which is great because it means no latency issues like that you’d get with Bluetooth controllers. The Kishi also adds pretty all the buttons and controls you’d find on an Xbox controller or Nintendo Switch. Heck, the two joysticks even click in.
That said, the coolest thing about using the Kishi with Apple Arcade is that the combo made me forget that I was playing a mobile game. No, really. The buttons, trigger buttons, joysticks and D-Pad almost feel like they’ve been taken directly off the Xbox and Nintendo Switch controllers that I’ve been using for years. And the games — surprisingly fun.
Of course there are plenty of other options to make use of Apple Arcade that don’t require a piece of specialized iPhone equipment. If you want a more console-like experience, you don’t have to an accessory like the Razer Kishi — you can pair a most wireless gamings controllers, like a DualShock 4 or an Xbox Wireless Controller, to any of your Apple devices (here’s how).
But with the Kishi, I rarely felt compelled to play games on any device other than my iPhone — it was probably the fact that I knew I was testing the Razer Kishi, which only works on your smartphone. Or maybe I just didn’t want to have to connect my Xbox controller. Or worse yet, try the Apple TV’s Siri Remote as a controller.
There’s very little, in my opinion, to dislike about the Razer Kishi. It doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack, but since it’s your iPhone you can just use your AirPods or any other wireless earbuds. Then again, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t even have built-in Bluetooth so I can’t even complain too much. Even the price has dropped. Once $150, Razer and Amazon are both selling it for $100 now.
And if you’ve been meaning to dive into Apple Arcade’s offerings, you couldn’t ask for a better companion.
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