With any new console, there are always a host of third-party companies that bring out accessories. Even going back to the earliest popular home consoles of the 70’s, and 80’s you could guarantee there were joysticks, and game pads that claimed to do the job better than Atari, Commodore, Coleco, Sega, and Nintendo could. Even today, there are still a large variety of aftermarket controllers for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
PROS: Rubberized contours. Fancy artwork.
CONS: May work a little too well.
OCTO: May look like something you’ll want to use for that upcoming expansion pack.
With a Splatfest in Splatoon 2 just having ended as I write this, I can say this third-party grip has a lot going for it. First of all, it has a really slick piece of Splatoon 2 art on the front of it. Which is really nice for those of you with the Pink, and Green joycons. Power A doesn’t only make this with art from Nintendo’s squid themed shooter though. You can find this with art based on The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Super Mario Bros., and Super Mario Odyssey.
The grip has a nice amount of heft to it too. The texture on the grips is nice, keeping it from just sliding out of your hands. They have a comfortable indent where your middle fingers can rest easy. So the whole thing feels great in your hands. If you’ve used the grip that came with your Switch for a long period of time, the slight difference may feel weird at first, but over time it may be something you actually prefer.
The main plate in the center is nice. It feels a bit more solid than the one in the stock grip, and even sports the same player-number lights that the first-party one does. There’s just one problem, and it’s something you’ll need to pay close attention to. The brackets that hold the joy-cons in place work a little bit too well. If you’ve only got one set of them, and you frequently take them in, and out of the grip be careful. Because Power A’s version of this device holds the joy-cons in place very snug. So snug, that taking them out can be a bit trickier than taking them out of Nintendo’s grip. In either case you’ll need to hold the release button on each joy-con before, and during, the process of sliding them out. Nintendo’s solution allows these to very easily slide back out. Power A’s does not. It’s almost as if you have to break theirs in like a pair of shoes. If you only ever take your joy-cons out to charge on the Switch when you’re out of juice, this won’t come up as often. If you’re the type to go between TV, and portable modes multiple times per day, you really need to be aware of this.
No doubt the joy-cons will probably survive, it’s rare most of us break a Nintendo controller. Nintendo’s own controllers, and peripherals are usually of a high quality. However, if you get frustrated, and yank too hard, the rails on the grip could bend, or snap, rendering the whole thing useless. You may find you’ll have to gently wiggle your joy-cons until they’re willing to move. It’s a shame that my complaint has to be that they do their job too well, because it’s a lot better than what many might expect. Slipshod efforts from controller manufacturers have given many decent to great peripherals a bad reputation. Whether you started gaming with the 2600, NES, Genesis, or something else entirely, chances are you had at least one cheap controller. That one joystick or game pad that was shoddy, but your folks bought it because it was only ten dollars. That still holds true today. There are many aftermarket controllers that are made with the cheapest parts possible. This grip is not one of them. I put it through many hours of Splatoon 2 over the last several nights, and it worked great. It’s comfortable, light, yet sturdy, and you’ll never have to worry about your joy-cons falling out of it.
Just keep in mind you’ll need to be gentle, and patient when it’s time to take the Switch on the road. Power A’s grip is made fairly well, but it isn’t built like a tank either. It isn’t going to win any fights with the wall. But then not many controllers will. If you’re careful with your stuff this thing will be a fine peripheral, and you can find one based on one of your most-liked Switch games. If you’re hard on your controllers, you may want to invest in something heavy-duty like a Pro Controller, or even an arcade stick. But don’t throw any of these at your wall. They probably won’t win, and you’re not going to get the security deposit back for the holes in the drywall. Impatience, and frustration aside, I recommend this for those who need a replacement grip, and want something a little bit more personal.
FINAL SCORE: 8 out of 10