We went hands on with the new MULTI:PLAYCON controllers for the Nintendo Switch, available now from Snakebyte.
When you think of controllers for the Switch, the first thing your mind goes towards is the Joy Con – Nintendo’s innovative controllers that you can attach to the side of your Switch for handheld play or can be removed and turned into ‘standard’ controllers for local multiplayer action – with or without motion controls. You can even attach them to a grip to create a controller that looks a bit more like an Xbox one, making for one of the most versatile controller options ever created.
There are two downsides to the Joy Con that always come to mind for me though. One is that (depending on your choice of games) you’re constantly switching things around, the other being that the individual controllers are incredibly tiny in adult hands when you try to use them as a regular controlling, making for a less-than-comfortable experience.
As standalone controllers, the MULTI:PLAYCON from Snakebyte takes away the first concern, although the drawback is of course that you lose the versatility. You can’t play with them in handheld mode (tabletop and TV work great), and the motion controls you need in Mario Party also don’t work. For about 98% of the Switch’s catalogue, however, you’re good to go.
The biggest benefit, however, is that the MULTI:PLAYCON controllers are a bit bigger and bulkier than the standard Switch controllers. They’re not that much wider and I would have welcomed an ever bigger design, but it’s the height and depth that really make the difference. There are gamepad-like handles on either side which makes the controller twice as high in those places, and the fact that they’re bulkier there ensures they’re also more comfortable. They’re still small, but for normal gamepad use they’re a great alternative to the Joy Con.
Whether or not you should head out and buy yourself a pair depends on a few things. If you play a lot of Mario Party then it’s good to realize these are not compatible. If you mainly play single player games then you’re probably better off slotting your Joy Con controllers into a grip as well, but if you have a group of people around and want to play a few rounds of Mario Kart or Smash Brothers then this is a great option to have. In fact, in that kind of setting where everyone holds a mini controller I actually prefer the MULTI:PLAYCON over the Nintendo originals, which is a pretty big compliment for an affordable third party alternative.
The MULTI:PLAYCON comes in two color schemes: black and grey or orange and blue – both offer the same layout and playful looking design. The Switch can also support up to 16 of them at once, so as long as you have the games to support them there are some great options for local multiplayer fun with these. Maybe this is how I’ll finally play 8 player split screen Virtua Racing!