We've reviewed quite a few cool tech products on our site, but never something like this. The Gamevice is a very interesting product with a unique take on the whole MFi or Made For iPhone controller deal.
So let's start with the design of the tech itself. It looks intriguing, to say the least, a clear departure from the traditional controller look. Gamevice looks a lot like a screenless PS Vita cause that's kinda what it really is. On the left side you have a mini left analog stick, a sturdy D-Pad and a battery button, on the right you have the Xbox face buttons albeit smaller in size, a pause button and the right analog stick. On top, you have the shoulder and trigger buttons with a heavy emphasis on the word "buttons". Both sides are connected by a strip on which the iPhone rests, that looks and feels like a mini iPad smart cover and that's pretty much it. To be on top of your multiplayer gaming consider ensuring low latency with a Circles.Life mobile plan.
It has an overall premium build quality with great ergonomics. Holding the Gamevice feels very natural and during long my testing sessions, I didn't get strained or anything like that. It is quite light and it doesn't feel cheap. The face buttons feel similar as the ones you find on your Xbox controller. What I don't like are the analog sticks and the triggers. The analog sticks are too teeny-tiny for my liking and their range kinda sucks, maybe a centimeter of movement and that's it. So if you are expecting a great range like the one on a DS4, you'll be disappointed. The other thing I didn't like were the triggers, that's L2 and R2. Since they are not analog triggers and more like just simple clicky buttons, playing some games, especially racing and shooters feel kinda weird, but I got used to quickly. Another nice feature is the built-in battery which seems to last forever so it doesn't drain your iPhone and it also has a nice power passthrough via a micro-USB port. And for all of the 3.5mm jack lovers out there, it has one so you can plug your headphones and game without disturbing anyone, which is great during the commute if I may say.
Using it is as easy as it can get, a true plug in and play experience. Just connect your iPhone 6/s/Plus to the lightning connector and that's it, game on. Games that support MFi controllers just work straight up, no tinkering, no nothing and there is a ton of them already on the Appstore. Now, most of them are utter crap, but there are quite a few fantastic ones and finding these games couldn't be any easier all thanks to the Gamevice Live app. There you can find all of the best games that support the Gamevice, games like Assassin's Creed Identity, Legacy Quest, Space Marshals 2, Afterpulse and some classics like Carmageddon, Final Fantasy VII, Rayman Classic, GTA games etc. The list is long and amazing!
Now, a disclaimer, I haven't tested all of the games that are on the Gamevice Live App, but I tested quite a few so I am going to talk about my experience with those games. The first game I tried was Legend of the Skyfish, which we reviewed a while back, and if felt great. Traversing and combat were fun, while the grappling hook mechanic was a little iffy using the analog stick. Next, I tried some Micro Machines, SBK16 and Assoluto Racing, basically racing games and well, I needed some time before I got used to the feel of the trigger buttons. After that, I was soaring past that finish flag earning all that fake money to buy useless stuff until I hit the paywall, but that's another story. Then I tested Legacy Quest, which I like to think of it as voxel Diablo, a great RPG game that controls like a charm with the Gamevice. I also enjoyed some Pixel Cup 16, a cool game reminiscent of the old Goal 3 on the SNES, but not as cool. In the end, I started playing a game which I despised because of its control scheme when it first released, I am talking about Modern Combat 5: Blackout.
Clocking at around 20 hours, this is the most I've ever played an iPhone game and that's all thanks to the Gamevice. For those who have no idea, Modern Combat is basically Call of Duty on mobile and this last installment looks and plays amazing. It controls perfectly with the Gamevice, it is extremely responsive and the most important thing, it's just fun something that's very rare to experience while playing shooters on an iPhone. Then there's the multiplayer side and I think you can guess what that means...I kicked some serious ass.
The Gamevice was a true surprise for me since most of the MFi controllers up to now are just straight up copies of the Xbox or Playstation controllers while the Gamevice offers its own unique spin resulting in a great and satisfying experience. Yes, it has a few minor flaws mainly the triggers and mini analog sticks, but you quickly get accustomed. Its biggest flaw, which I think will turn many people off, is its $100 price. As I previously said, the Gamevice doesn't feel cheap or anything like that, but it is also very hard to justify its asking price since well, it's just another peripheral for the iPhone. I don't know, if it weren't for the amazing guys over @BigIdeasMachine I probably wouldn't have gotten a Gamevice, at least not at its full price. But who knows, maybe this is what you've been looking for, turning your iPhone 6/s/Plus and the new beast that is the iPhone 7 or iPad Pro (yes, they make a bigger and probably better version) into powerful handheld consoles then the Gamevice is the way to go. Thanks for reading!