In the last little while mobile gaming has come a long way. With the MOGA, which is a dual analog controller, gaming on a mobile phone has taken another great leap forward. We were given a chance to spend some time with the MOGA and discovered that the gadget definitely has a lot to offer. The MOGA is a step in the right direction for gaming on today’s gorgeous mobile touchscreen devices.
The MOGA is a controller attachment aimed to redefine gaming for those mobile devices that see cheap but quality game apps downloaded at record pace. With the Android operating system offering one of the largest markets for mobile games, the MOGA is right on target. So many great mobile-based games suffer from restrictions involving control schemes and the MOGA is here to change that. The first thing I noticed with the MOGA was its comfortable fit in my hands. Despite its compact build and small buttons, the controller still retains a feel of quality and comfort while gaming. The buttons will seem natural to all gamers. There are four face buttons, two analog sticks, a select and start button, two triggers, and a sync button. The only thing missing is a D-pad, but for most current mobile games it is not a huge loss. Beneath the rubber grips sits the battery compartment. The MOGA uses AAA batteries. When fully charged, the MOGA can be kept going for a total of 18 hours. Quite impressive.
As far as setting up the MOGA, your Android phone of choice clips into it via a retractable arm which is kept tight using a rubber banding mechanism. This design allows for almost any sized phone to fit snugly. Using the test phone (HTC One X) that was provided for our review I had no issues with the set up; however, when using my LG Optimus One I did encounter one problem. Due to how the MOGA fits with phones the arm would occasionally apply pressure to the volume button on my own phone. This was a bit of a concern, but there are ways around it if you fiddle with it enough. Most phones should not have this problem though, so all is good.
Alternatively, because the MOGA utilizes a Bluetooth connection, you don’t have to have the MOGA directly attached to your mobile android device. As far as connecting the MOGA your device of choice, it is very simple to pair it to either an Android tablet or phone for gaming. This is done using the sync button. To sync the MOGA to a device the MOGA’s Pivot app must be open. Once the app is open you turn on your MOGA controller and you will see a blue light flashing. This means the controller is syncing with your Pivot application. After a couple of seconds the controller will flash green once to display that it has successfully connected. There is also a small green icon in the upper left part of your notifications tray on your phone that confirms everything is synced up.
The aforementioned Pivot app is an app that organizes and filters all available MOGA-compatible games. This app acts as the desktop for the MOGA so to speak. The Pivot app makes it easy to play any of your currently owned games, all the while making it simple to purchase new ones too. The MOGA and app are compatible with all Android devices with Android 2.3 or later.
As a whole, the MOGA feels solid. If I had one complaint it was that I found the analog sticks to be a tad too resistant at times and I hope that in future versions Power A can find a way to make the analog sticks feel softer and a bit more responsive. Given the short turn over of my review, it may be that the analog sticks are not “broken in” so to speak and after more time they may loosen up somewhat. Regardless, it is clear that Power A has released a controller that isn’t meant to be a gimmick by any means. The MOGA performed incredibly well regardless of what game I tried. During my time with it, I played Asphalt 7, Dark Knight Rises, Pac-Man, Sonic CD, Sega Virtual Tennis and Dungeon Hunter 3 to name a few. All of them worked really well and I had a pretty smooth experience. In fact, I felt that my time with the MOGA really reminded me of when I sit down with my PlayStation Vita. It was a very portable console like experience for sure. Although mobile gaming is dependent upon what kind of phone you have for the quality of its visuals, most new phones have great looking screens and are pretty powerful in the area of gaming. Technically speaking, there was no lag and/or issues with the controller disconnecting in the middle of a game. It worked flawless with whatever game I was playing.
Being that gaming on phones via emulators is really popular, I did a bit of research and for the moment the MOGA does not support emulators. That being said, I am sure it won’t be long before that changes due to how popular emulators are. As for actual games, the MOGA already has 40 titles that support it, all of which are quality products made specifically for use with it. Not all games utilize every button on the MOGA, but in every title I tried the experience was improved when using the controller over using the touchscreen. The key here is that the games are made with the MOGA in mind. It is not an afterthought as the games made are made to incorporate the MOGA from the get-go. The MOGA is not an afterthought and does not just emulate the game’s touch controls, as the game is programmed in such that it knows you can play with the MOGA, so buttons are already assigned and analog control is supported. I would have to say that developer support seems to be good early in the life of the MOGA in regards programming games to utilize this new controller for mobile devices.
At this point in mobile gaming nothing comes close to the MOGA in terms of its quality and support. It is comfortable, has a long battery life, and it has a fairly wide selection of games supporting it which is encouraging at it has only just been released. Given that so many retailers are supporting it, it seems almost certain that the MOGA will see success. I just hope that it continues to get the early support that it has as it is a really neat peripheral. The design isn’t flawless, but if you want to maximize mobile gaming on your phone the MOGA is a necessity.