Let’s face it, trying to enjoy precise aiming in games is a miserable experience on the iPad, or any other touchscreen device for that matter. The whole “Virtual Joystick” should be called “Virtual throw-my-iPad through the Window”. It’s even worse when you try to play First-Person Shooters or Twin-Stick shooters that require you to have both thumbs on the screen, frantically pretending to manipulate analog joystick controllers. It’s not fun, and even the best FPS players find themselves giving up and going back to their consoles pretty quickly.
To alleviate this problem, Logitech has released the oh-so-cleverly named “Joystick.” Yes, it’s a generic name, but a generic product this is not, and in a world of ridiculous add-on gadgets, this is one gadget that actually works.
The stick is a really simple, yet clever design – it’s a physical thumbstick mounted in a coil of plastic. You mount the joystick with the attached suction cups, which stay out of the way when you mount them on the bezel of the iPad. This stick easily attaches/detaches, since it’s just held on with suction cups, but it won’t move while you’re actually using it. In case you’re worried the stick might scratch your screen, it shouldn’t, since it’s mounted in a way that keeps it floating above the glass of your screen. You could, if you were using too much force, cause it to press against the glass, but let’s hope you’re not that aggro when playing.
The big question, of course, is “does it work?”. Yes, yes it works very well. I tested it with several shooters, including GameLoft’s Modern Combat and N.O.V.A. games, both of which are FPS’ that rely on quick aiming, and it worked great. I also tested it against some twinstick style shooters, such as Darkside, and it worked great. Mind you, I only used one stick for these games, so I was still using the “virtual” joystick to aim, while moving with the Logitech ‘stick, and still, this worked wonderfully. Case in point – Skygamblers, a jet-fighting game, which I’m normally terrible at, and lucky to score 3-4 kills in a 15 minute session. With the stick attached, I was racking up kills, and had at least 10 in the same amount of time, as now I had actual control of my jet!
The Logitech Joystick is definitely awesome, there, I’ve said it. Now, is it worth the price? That depends on two things: 1) How often you play games that would use it and 2) What the retailers are discounting it at. In the first situation, it’s really all about what you like to play. The ‘stick is obviously useless if you’re playing matching games, or stuff like Temple Run, that rely on swipes, and not actual movement. As for the second item, the joystick is priced at $19.99, however, a quick search on the day this review was posted found it for between $5-10, which is a steal if you’re the kind of gamer who would use this.
The Logitech Joystick is one of those products that, honestly, you look at and wonder who would ever use it. Then, you get your hands on one, and are amazed at how well it really works, and you wonder how you ever played virtual stick-based games on the iPad without this.
Final Score: 5/5