Compared with similar devices, the iCade Mobile is undoubtedly among the best. We had a blast through iPhone game MOS Speedrun and found the controls to be highly responsive, with a top-quality action in the butons and pad. The floaty D-pad may not appeal to all gamers, but the cheapo feel of some third-party accessories is completely absent here.
The Bluetooth connectivity could potentially cause problems, as some people have reported with the original iCade, but we didn’t experience any here. This is something we’d need to check out further in a full review.
What’s much more of a problem is the compatibility issue. The iCade Mobile has the best compatibility of any iPhone gamepad we’ve seen – thanks to the six months of indie development the iCade SDK has incited – but most games the average iPhone gamer might name aren’t there. The big titles on the roster include Super Mega Worm, Pix’N Love Rush and Frogger Decades, and retro Atari’s Greatest Hits, Elite ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 collections are also in on the action. Indie and retro gamers may be satisfied, but more mainstream iOS gamers may not.
Real-life practical is very important here too, because unlike the iCade, the iCade Mobile doesn’t have that innate desirability factor. It’s not something to give a prized place in the living room or bedroom.
What it does have is the quality build of the iCade, although it is matched with an equally-solid $80 price. This will likely equate to around £60 for us UK buyers once it arrives on shelves later this year. But if it behaves anything like the iCade, the price should start dropping a few months post-release.
More practical than the original iCade, but less desirable at the same time, the iCade Mobile is for serious retro gamers too obsessed with their iPhones to buy an emulator handheld. It’s a quality device, with good-quality buttons and a decent d-pad but we imagine the market for such a gadget is pretty small, especially given its limited support. However, it’s probably the best out there if you can stomach the expense.