One of the biggest deterrents to playing some types of games on iOS is a lack of a dedicated controller. The platform has developed into almost requiring dual analog sticks and triggers, it seems ridiculous that games come out that don’t have that method. Discovery Bay Games is looking to remedy that with their Duo Gamer Controller for iOS. This dual analog stick controller works with iPad and iPhone games, but as of this writing, only a handful of them.
Upon opening the box, I was reminded me of one of those old, generic PC controllers that you had to configure for hours before it worked. The plastic felt cheap, and the design was less than desirable. I mean we haven’t had square-corner controllers in years. The analog sticks felt stiff and tight, and holding it in my hands felt uncomfortable. Not a good first impression. The stand that comes with it however, is actually nice. It fits the iPad perfectly as long as you aren’t using a cover, and even with my Smart Case, it still managed to sit in there just fine.
Pairing the Duo Gamer with any device is simple. Pop in the batteries, turn it on and your device will find it. It is worth noting that it can only be paired with one device at a time, so if you play on multiple, you will need to unpair it each time. Once paired, all the games that support it quickly recognize the controller, the problem is that so few titles support it right now.
For this review, we tested Brothers in Arms, N.O.V.A. 3 and Asphalt 7: Heat. All three games worked well with the controller, and truly give you an edge in online matches, especially in first-person shooters. Having dual analog sticks, regardless of how stiff they are, is far superior to a touch screen. While the games have no issues accepting the controller, it doesn’t change the fact that it is poorly designed. Spending extended time with it is not comfortable, and I am not sure who still thinks the square design is a good idea.
The biggest crime of all though, is the price. Sitting at a whopping $79.99 this controller is highly overpriced for the mediocre design, and sheer lack of support. Yes, there are not many options when it comes to iOS controllers, but inflating the price like this is insane. It almost feels like they know options are limited, thus hiking up the price for those that need a controller. Of course, only supporting a handful of games also limits the appeal, so I really don’t see this controller making a foothold in the market for some time.
The bottom line here is that with the poor design, minimal game support and outrageous price tag, the Duo Gamer is not a solution to your iOS gaming needs. It simply has too many strikes against it for me to recommend picking it up at this time. I would wait for the price to come down, or for the game support to go way up over time. This still won’t help the poor design, but at least it is better than using a touch screen for shooters and the like. Duo Gamer is not something you should rush out and buy, regardless of how much you use your iOS device.
Works with: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Compatible games: N.O.V.A. 3, Asphalt 7: Heat, Order & Chaos Online, Brothers in Arms 2: Global Front and Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation
Review copy of controller by publisher.