Disclaimer: Preview product was received from the manufacturer for preview purposes.
The Nintendo Switch is a remarkable console. Whether you consider it more portable than a home gaming system, or vice-versa, there’s a lot of power packed into the petite device. For some, this is both a good and bad thing.
When I unboxed my Nintendo Switch to play it for the first time, I noticed that the Joy-Con were a lot smaller than I had anticipated. This is, of course, mostly due to design, creating a slimmer profile when attached to the Switch console sides for the sake of portability. I also found that due to the positioning of the thumbsticks and the edge of either side of the Joy-Con, some games, like Rocket League, didn’t quite translate the same precision controls from an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller. This also led me to purchase one of the Hori wired controllers for docked use.
So, what about all the times I want precision and comfort but play it on the go?
The Satisfye SwitchGrip Pro offers something to those who have been looking for a fuller controller feel without having to dock their console or use the Switch Pro Controller. It’s currently on Indiegogo and available for backing. At the current time, the build for the SwitchGrip is still in its prototype phase. Even so, what the time spent with it has offered some satisfying options for gameplay, with a few small missteps.
From front to back, side to side
The current way to insert your Nintendo Switch into the SwitchGrip Pro is to slide your console (with Joy-Con attached) into the grip. At this point there isn’t necessarily additional tension to either side of the grip. But, in the future, different material will be housed on the interior of the grip to provide a more non-slip function.
Both sides of the grips are very filling for your palms. That is, it felt much closer to that of an Xbox One controller than anything. I wouldn’t say that I have large hands, but I do feel that the Joy-Con can be uncomfortable to use depending on the game.
For this preview, I was offered a set of Satisfye thumbstick grips along with the use of the SwitchGrip Pro prototype. These thumbstick grips made everything come together well. However, in some cases, due to the button layout of certain games, the thumbstick and grip spacing began to work against itself. This was mostly the case during Rocket League. But, removing the thumbstick grips alleviated that cramped feel.
The back of the SwitchGrip Pro has a bar that runs in the middle of your Nintendo Switch. The material used is currently polylactic acid (PLA) plastic. The final product will be made from a acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, with material on the back of the grips, and silicone on the interior to provide friction against the console when inserted. Even at this time, the prototype is comfortable, sturdy, and even has a small set of feet at the bottom for stability, even able to stand on its own when not in use. Although a neat feature, I did find these to seem somewhat clunky at times, taking away from the overall design.
Tensions will rise!
The only real gripe I have, which is more of a mild nuisance, came in tense moments of gameplay. A few times during matches in Street Fighter and raid mode in Resident Evil Revelations, I found that the grips would become unstable. I could hear and feel the sides unclick and the console not secure. When clicking the Switch back into place, I could feel the lip between the Joy-Con and the shoulders of the grip. I knew this was due to the lack of material inside the bay on either side of the Joy-Con. While this may be a problem now, I do hope that the material used in the future to limit/halt slipping altogether.
Honestly, I’m a little torn with the Satisfye SwitchGrip Pro. The Skull & Co. Switch Grip seems more sleek and compact in design. But, the Satisfye SwitchGrip Pro offers a more catch and release option, allowing you to take out your Switch much quicker.
The overall feeling of playing with a full controller set with the Joy-Con attached was comforting. It allowed for much better precision with games like Resident Evil Revelations 1 & 2, and the vibration from the HD Rumble was not inhibited or muffled by the design.
I think the SwitchGrip Pro could compete at the intended $21.99 price point, giving a small edge over the Skull & Co. design. The bundle will run $59.99. There is a sense of durability and fulfillment with the current model. However, that is hindered by the instability at times.