I finally got my hands on Duo Games new Dual Analog Bluetooth iOS Controller. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to test this device after seeing news of its creation a short while ago. It’s smart, it’s sleek, and it’s coming at a perfect time for the industry. With a mass of new iOS titles leaking into the market at an overwhelming basis, more and more “gamers” are starting to pop up on iDevices. Not to mention that lately the lines between casual and hardcore are starting to blur, with new titles hitting the App Store that have a lot more depth and playability than your traditional USD $0.99 release.

– Duo Games Controller Retail Packaging –

It’s for this reason that we are rapidly approaching the need for a cohesive, yet simplistic, controller. Many developers may not want to admit it, but there are just some game types and genres that don’t feel right played on a touch screen. You need the accuracy and the depth of physically holding a joystick in your hand. I love Super Mario Bros.; it’s one of my favorite games of all time. But if they ported it to iPad or iPhone I would be incredibly apprehensive about buying it, because it just wouldn’t feel right playing it on a touch screen. So imagine how excited I was to see that Duo Games was developing what the iDevice world needed, a comprehensive dual analog controller.

– Controller and Stand Un-boxed –

For this review, I loaded up a copy of Asphalt 7: Heat, from developer Gameloft.

Let me first start off by saying that I was very skeptical about this peripheral, for a few key reasons. For one, it’s Bluetooth, and my general experience with Bluetooth controllers has been less than favorable. Whenever you’re dealing with something wireless, it requires a lot of knowhow and research. Not because it’s difficult to develop, but because it’s so difficult to get a perfect accuracy. With a lot of wireless controllers (console excluded) there can be odd little quirks and delays between the button pushes and the reactions within the game.

             

– Controller and Stand, Featuring Fabric Protective Bag –

Thankfully though, and much to my surprise, this is not the case with Duo’s controller. It’s incredibly responsive, and I didn’t experience any delays between my actions and the game’s reactions. The car turned sharply, the breaks worked flawlessly, and there were no issues activating boosters and power-ups. There have been numerous times when I was playing Asphalt 7: Heat and would try to tap a power-up on the iPad only to “miss it.” It’s really nice having a physical button to press.

My second concern was the quality of the controller itself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered a peripheral offline at a “discounted price” only to find myself holding a piece of cheap flimsy plastic. It’s not just discounted items that have this issue either. I’ve ordered a few “big name” peripherals and come across the same issue. This is definitely not the case with the Duo controller. It’s sleek, streamlined, and easy to hold, yet made of a durable plastic casing with solid buttons and analog sticks. You can literally feel the difference between this device and those of sub-par quality just by holding it. It has a certain weight to it and a general feel that you won’t find with most other controllers. I’m very impressed with the quality here, and its something that really justifies the price point that Duo is asking for their peripheral.

– iPad HD Facing Backward and  Secured In Slotted Stand –

The other beautiful thing about this controller is its ease of use. It comes complete with set up instructions, but to be honest you don’t really need them. Activating the Duo for play is as simple as turning on the controller, turning on the Bluetooth setting on your iDevice, and tapping the “connect button” when the controller shows up in the list. This is awesome for those of you out there who aren’t as tech savvy as everyone else, but still want the ability to play games with a controller. I also noticed a sub-section in Asphalt Heat 7 that allowed me to better tune my controls and even let me map in-game actions to whatever controller buttons I wanted. It was all very reminiscent of a console-like setup, and I felt right at home.

– Complete Set Up Running Gameloft’s Asphalt 7: Heat-

To be honest, there isn’t a lot of negativity I can scrounge up for this device. Although, I do feel like there is one glaring issue that may plague the controller in the long-run. Currently, Duo Games creation only works with Gameloft specific titles (and only a certain number of them to boot; you can see the list in a recent article we did). That limits what you currently have to play. However, in their defense, most of Gameloft’s games are incredibly goodlooking and offer a huge entertainment value. And just because that’s how things currently are, doesn’t mean that Duo won’t branch out to support other titles in the future.

A lot of individuals complained, too, that the device was a little pricey for their tastes, due to its USD $80.00 tag. And while that is a little high for some income brackets, this is the type of quality product that is worth doing a little saving for. The point here is we have been actively searching for a good, solid, easy-to-use dual analog peripheral, and Duo Games has nailed the design and technology requirements spot on.

– Gameloft Games Feature Solid Graphics –

It’s going to be very interesting to see where the company goes from here. But from a personal standpoint they have gained a customer. I’ve been having a ton of fun with the iPad now, playing all the Gameloft titles I can, and that’s a big deal considering I’m a dedicated console and PC gamer. If you do a lot of gaming on your iDevice and you’re looking for a way to better enhance the experience, then be sure to grab this peripheral. Hopefully we will see more game options in the future that are compatible with this controller, because as it stands, it’s easily the best controller for iDevices I have used to date.