Play Android games with the Moga controller

Gaming accessory manufacturer PowerA’s Moga is a new Bluetooth-enabled wireless controller for Android devices. The controller attachment can play existing mobile games from a variety of publishers and developers–Atari, Sega, Namco, Gameloft, Remedy Entertainment and more–that have added Moga functionality. The Moga will be available for $49.99 starting Oct. 21 from retailers like Best Buy, Target and Walmart as well as from phone carriers such as T-Mobile.

The Moga features an adjustable arm clamp with rubberized cushions to support the phone from sliding and moving around while playing games. All the typical game controller buttons are present including two analog sticks (similar to the Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad and Sony PSP nub), start and select buttons, two shoulder buttons and four face buttons. The controller also features a button to initiate the Bluetooth to sync with the phone and a power switch on the front side of the device.

We were provided with a Samsung Galaxy S III and the following Moga-compatible titles for review purposes: Dungeon Hunter 3, Galaxy NGC3D, N.O.V.A. 3 Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance, Pac-Man by Namco, Riptide GP, Sonic CD, The Dark Knight Rises and Virtua Tennis Challenge. PowerA has said they plan to have around 30-40 Moga-enabled games at launch, with additional titles being added in the following weeks to come.

After play testing all the games, we can say that most, if not all the titles, played solidly with Moga control enhancements added on after the fact. Controlling felt tight when moving the blue hedgehog side to side in Sonic CD to charging the net for a drop shot in Virtua Tennis. It was also nice to see that most tutorials and button mappings recognize that the Moga is connected, which means the tutorial text prompts would change from “swipe to move” to “use the left stick to move,” for example.

Since the controller lacks more buttons such as a D-pad, it was little bit of a pain to execute certain actions in games that have a lot of control elements such as changing weapons by holding down select and then pressing the right trigger in Gameloft-devoleped sci-fi first-person shooter N.O.V.A. 3. Although most games controlled solidly for the most part, the controls still felt a little bit behind the controls found on consoles because none of these Moga titles were built from the ground up for Moga.

PowerA’s proprietary app store dubbed the Pivot app did its job as an app to house all Moga-enabled titles in one place. When a user quits out of a Moga-enabled game, the user is taken back to the Moga Pivot app, which made it very convenient to switch to different games on the fly without having to quit to a handset’s home screen and booting the Pivot app back up again.

After a few hours of continuous gameplay, we noticed that the smartphone did get pretty hot. If a user was playing games for a similar length of time, we can see how this can benefit the user to be able to play longer without as much discomfort.

The actual controller felt good in the hands and the rubber underbelly and grips definitely came in handy for extended gameplay experiences. Bluetooth connectivity also worked for the most part, with the controller only losing signal about two times during review. As advertised the Moga is portable and can fit in a player’s pocket.

Overall, for $50 and a suite of games from multiple publishers, the Moga is a more reasonably priced device for users who want console-like controls for their mobile games.

Consumers can grab a Moga on store shelves starting Oct. 21 that’s boxed with the controller, free Pivot app download, soft case for the device and Sonic CD and Pac-Man (free downloads for a limited time).