That is, until, I finally sat down with the Hori Split Pad Pro. I reserved playing these games until I could sit down with a big screen and a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, rendering the concept of having these games available to play portably entirely pointless.
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Even Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which I ordinarily abhor playing with a GameCube controller, was perfectly acceptable on the Hori Split Pad Pro. If I’m playing on a big screen, I’ll absolutely be using a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller or a GameCube controller for these games, but when playing portably, the Hori Split Pad Pro will be my new default way to play. It’s just more comfortable to play in handheld than ever before – the controllers even feel more tightly and securely attached to the console than regular Joyce usually do.
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Form factor and design
The form factor is much larger, which comes with all of the positives and negatives of a larger handheld console. It is far more comfortable, and although the controllers don’t entirely sit into your fingers as a larger console’s controller does, that seems to be for easier portability, as this does make the system slightly fatter and longer.
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The Hori Split Pad Pro is a pair of replacement Joyce which are much, much larger than your typical Joyce, and designed for games that require you to juggle both analogue sticks in addition to the shoulder buttons.
I tested many games with the Hori Split Pad Pro, including Astral Chain, Samurai Showdown, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, DOOM, Wolfenstein Youngblood, and of course the game that the Split Pad Pro was made for, Daemon X Machina. I picked these games deliberately, as they are all games that I dislike playing on the default Joyce controllers.
The pitch is, imagine if your Joyce actually felt like two halves of a full-size console controller. It’s as simple as that. More surface area, more comfort, a larger range of motion on the analogue sticks – and heck, why not even throw in a capable D-pad while we’re here? Essentially, give players all of the ergonomic satisfaction of a larger controller, but make it so you can still snap them onto the sides of your Nintendo Switch so you can play on the move.
The Split Pad Pro is twice the thickness of a standard Joyce, and very nearly twice as wide – which will be great news for anyone who has found their hands cramping up while playing on a Switch.