With iOS7, Apple paved the way for the App developers to adapt their games to integrate and make provisions for accessory makers to come up with officially-certified accessories for iOS devices.
Apple’s MFi program authorizes the Apple certified official accessories and with the opening of the API for external controllers, now Game app developers can access and insert support for the game controllers. Apple also has a set of ‘framework’ for the developers outlining a two specific sets of controller types: a “standard” controller with a d-pad, four buttons, and left/right shoulder buttons, and an “extended” game controller with two analog pads and two sets of shoulder buttons. The mandate is that the Touch has to be compulsory part of the gaming experience and the ‘standard’ controller to be supported even if the developers opt for the ‘extended’ layout.
PowerShell Design and Buttons layout
Logitech PowerShell Controller is one of the first to hit the market as gaming controllers for iOS device and it has a ‘standard’ controller layout. So we get a Directional pad on the left along with a ‘Switch’ that latches up to the iPhone’s lock button. On the right side are four face buttons, named “A,” “B,” X” and “Y,” as well as a pause button. On the top on either sides are a two shoulder buttons identified as “L” and “R”. The bottom has a micro USB port for recharging the integrated battery. On the left there is a metal button switch to enable the battery and on the right side there is a port for headphone adapter. The adapter is quiet large and an eye-sore and sticks out oddly when connected. It is required if you have to connect connect any of your headphone with the controller.
All the buttons are analog and not digital which is good. More importantly, the buttons are pressure sensitive too which is again nice while playing certain games. For eg. a lighter press can make a character walk and a little more pressure can make it run. It again comes handy in racing games where applying a little more pressure on the button can burn the tyres on tracks.
The controller connects to the iPhone through the lightning connector and it can be spotted bending outward on the inside of the controller.
The Logitech PowerShell Controllers looks and feels sturdy. It definitely is very durable and should last longer. It also easy to tug the iPhone to the controller case and to remove it.
PowerShell controller has a built-in 1500mAh battery. The battery can be used to charge the iPhone thus doubling as a powerbank when in need. There is a metal button which when pressed charges the phone. The game controller keeps working even while it is charging the iPhone.
Logitech PowerShell Gaming Controller is compatible with only iPhone 5/5S and iPod Touch 5th generation devices.
The controller works with MFi certified games which are coded to work with the controllers. There are some 100 odd games to choose from currently with some 15 making for good picks. More games has to be gamer-controller supported if the accessory has to find more user base. Unfortunately, Apple has failed to categorize separately the MFi certified games that support the game controllers.
Logitech PowerShell Controller with its ‘standard’ set of layout requires a combination of buttons and iPhone touchscreen to get most games get going. At times I wished Logotech had opted for the ‘extended’ layout and included an Analog stick atleast. It would have made the PowerShell Controller truly power packed for gaming experience.
Still the PowerShell controller works neatly with the buttons on disposal. It takes a bit of time to warm up to get used to the controller after playing extensively the games on the touchscreen.
Asphalt 8: Airborne was a great game to play and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it with the controller. It synced well with the button layout and enhanced the gaming experience. Though it cannot be said with all the games. It runs down to picking the best compatible game that gives the optimum gaming feel with the controller.
Accelerometer works with the controller and the best gaming productivity comes with the combination of mixing tilt, touch, and buttons. Once you get the hand on the layout and how it works with the particular game, you start enjoying.
Logitech has made clear cutout sections to access volume, on/off, and camera access and so all the iPhone/iPod device functionality are retained and accessible even while you are playing.
There is a red color-LED indicator on the back that glows when the iPhone is charging through the extended battery of the controller. Though there is no way to know how much charge is left in the pack.
Logitech PowerShell Controller – To buy or Not
The PowerShell Controller comes at a MRP of $99.99 in US, though it can be found for as less as $66 in certain e-commerce sites. In India it comes at a MRP of Rs 8,995. It can be picked for around 6K at e-stores.
It’s still early days for gaming controllers but there are early birds who aim to strike the market. Logitech definitely is a company who looks dead serious to take the early mover advantage in this category. PowerShell Controller is very robust, has a good form factor and is very durable. Though the choice of ‘standard’ layout by Logitech does not provide the full gaming console experience but the buttons on disposal works neatly in combination with the touch and accelerometer functionality of the iPhone device. So is it worth picking? It depends on the kind of gamer you are. If you have a keenness for retro-gaming and an early adopter of technology, this PowerShell controller is worth a try.