Rotor Riot is best known for its drones, but obviously the tech designers at the company couldn't get hold of a controller for said drones that did all things they wanted and so they went and made one of their own. Enter the Rotor Riot, a newly updated made-for-iPhone controller that offers a console-like experience that easily connects to your mobile device for on the go gaming.
The first thing to do is download the Ludo Mapp app that supports the game. Players have access to an app where they can easily see supported games (although it's not quite clever enough to work out which supported titles are currently installed on your device). Clicking on Fortnite in the app, for example, will whisk you away to page that lets you download the game, and once that's done you can then play it with your controller and, for the most part, you can do so with very little fuss.
This being iOS, a lot of games won't have controller support, and games like PUBG Mobile still require you to use the old touch-screen, which is less than ideal. Still, there's a solid selection of titles available we had hardly any trouble with any of the games we tested.
The controller connects to your mobile via a lightning port, so those more modern iPhones without the port aren't supported, which narrows the field a little. One improvement that we really liked when compared to older model was the option to charge your phone while you play. You simply need to hook up your phone to your controller, then your controller to a suitable power supply, and you'll start charging. It's a fix to the battery life issue which affected the previous model, and it works a treat.
While the lightning port does pass-through power to your phone, audio doesn't go the other way, and with the lightning port being used and therefore unavailable for your in-ear buds, that may be an issue for some. If you don't have a mini-jack on your iPhone, a wireless headset is the obvious solution, but if you've not got one of those you'll have to rely on the tinny speakers that came with your device - and if you're playing during your commute, your fellow passengers might not be too happy about that.
While mobile games are hit and miss in terms of controller support, you might have more luck if you're streaming something from another platform. PlayStation streaming is an option, but we focused on the Steam Link app when testing this device. Your streaming experience is often going to come down to your connection speed and available bandwidth, but was nice to bust out of a few of our favourites on mobile, although we'd probably stay clear of extremely demanding precision-based games.
The controller itself is well built, but it's design isn't particularly exciting either and it doesn't come with the quality finish you'd expect from an Xbox controller, a DualShock 4, or even a Pro Controller for Switch. Another quirk is the buttons, which feel nice to push as there's a good action there, but the colour coding is all wrong, even in the Ludo Mapp app, and the on-screen representation of the buttons is different from those on the controller itself. It's a not a major flaw, but it's the kind of thing you'll notice each and every time you use it.
Like the face buttons, both sets of triggers are nice and clicky, and the analog sticks are well implemented and felt nice and responsive. The analog sticks have L3/R3 functionality, which is another solid attempt to bridge the gap between mobile gaming and console controls. Even the D-pad is solidly done, and apart from the fact that this isn't the most visually pleasing controller we've ever had our hands on, we have no real complaints about the build quality.
That extends to the clamp that holds your phone, which is detachable and robustly built. The rubber lining on the clamp is a nice touch, and we didn't notice any real instability or significant screen wobble while playing. It's adjustable so you'll be able to fit a larger phone, but it won't stretch to an iPad, at which point being tethered to a tablet starts to feel like an inconvenience, in part due to the shortness of the connecting cable.
Overall we were pretty impressed with the Rotor Riot. It's a capable and well thought-out iOS controller that lets you take your game to the next level - assuming your game of choice is supported, of course. There are still further improvements and refinements that can be made, to the controller itself and to the software that comes with it, but if you're comfortable with the controller's limitations and quirks, you'll likely be pleased by what it has to offer.
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