MOGA Hero Power and MOGA Pro Power Hardware Review

MOGA Hero Power and MOGA Pro Power Hardware Review

Nov 28, 2013

MOGA’s first generation of controllers are ones that I continue to swear by for their comfort and versatiliity. The Pocket’s lack of HID support and buttons hurts it, but it’s still a great portable controller, and there’s plenty of MOGA API games to justify it. But the MOGA Pro is perhaps the strongest of the lot – with its HID support and excellent ergonomics, it’s the gold standard of Android controllers.

Well now MOGA is back for round 2 with a new generation of controllers, both in pocket and full-size versions, but with a new feature: the ability to charge a phone attached to them. Unfortunately, the new designs with these new features just introduce new problems. The Pro only takes a minor ding, but the Hero proves to be greatly flawed because of it.

MOGA Hero Power

MOGA Hero Power

First off, the MOGA Pro Power only makes slight changes to the formula: its design has been seemingly modified to fit better with the look of the Hero, and perhaps to accomodate the battery inside. Both controller scome with a standard micro-USB cable for charging in the contorller’s female micro-USB port, and a short micro-USB cable for charging from the female full-size USB port on both controllers, used to charge a phone connected to the device.

The MOGA Hero Power is a total overhaul of the MOGA Pocket. Where the Pocket lacked analog triggers, clickable joysticks, and a d-pad, the Hero contains all of these, while still maintaining a small size, and now supporting both MOGA API and standard HID gamepad modes. The joysticks are no longer the flat discs of the Pocket, they’re convex standard analog joysticks, just very small.

MOGA Pro Power

MOGA Pro Power

The portability factor is mixed: the controller certainly would fit in a pocket, but I’d be nervous about those joysticks breaking off just by their nature. It’s the same reason I don’t really pocket my PS Vita. Perhaps they would stick on there, but it makes me nervous. If it came with a little bag like the Pocket did, I’d feel better. Otherwise, if you’re throwing it in a bag, then it’s probably best to just go up to the Pro Power, eh?

The other reason to just go with the Pro Power? The triggers on the Hero are terrible. They are incredibly stiff, and absurdly uncomfortable to use; I just couldn’t find a comfortable position to place my index fingers on the triggers. A first-person shooter like Neon Shadow is okay with the triggers; a racing game like Asphalt 8 is practically unbearable.

MOGA Hero Power: the triggers are stiff and very, very comfortable.

MOGA Hero Power: the triggers are stiff and very, very comfortable.

In comparison, the MOGA Pro Power, with more traditional full-size triggers.

In comparison, the MOGA Pro Power, with more traditional full-size triggers.

The power recharging on both controllers leaves something to be desired. They really only put out enough power to keep the phone from draining too much of its battery, and only while the screen is on and the controller is connected via Bluetooth, even if the little 6″ micro-USB cable is connected. While some battery power is likely needed to keep the controller itself working longer than it can recharge, it’s really not that useful of an addition, more of a novelty.

Honestly, the added weight is a great addition to the Hero; the Nexus 4 and the Hero with battery are a perfect weight to use, balanced between controller and phone without one tilting the other. The Pro Power’s added weight doesn’t really do much for the controller, it just feels a bit too heavy. CHECK THIS The new “SMRT Lock” clamps do a great job at holding a phone in the controller. The Pro Power comes with the fantastic tablet stand that came with the Pro; the Hero is lacking this, though. The rubberized sides are a sad omission from the Pro Power, and just overall it feels like it’s taken a step back from the fantastic construction of the original Pro.

MOGAHEROPOWER-2

Really, while the MOGA Pro Power is still a solid controller, it’s a step down from the original MOGA Pro, which still works quite well, and is actually cheaper now that it’s on clearance at many stores. Now is the perfect time to pick it up, especially as the power capabilities of the Pro Power aren’t too useful. Meanwhile, the MOGA Hero Power’s flaws and terrible triggers make it a hard controller to recommend; it’s just especially limiting. I can only really recommend it for people that really a portable gaming controller with a clamp for their Android phone that they can stick in their pocket and not in a bag with them. It seems like a small market.

All parenthetical scores below are (Hero/Power):

AVP: Evolution Review

AVP: Evolution Review

Jul 31, 2013

When it comes to sci-fi feuds, there are some pretty epic rivalries out there with fans and the characters themselves. Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Superman vs. Batman and what this game is about… Alien vs. Predator. Yup, this is the newest rendition of that age old battle between 2 alpha male types from somewhere other than earth.

Starting the game, there is the choice to play as either a Predator or an Alien. Each will have their own special attacking moves and combos. The initial level as a Predator is like a proving ground to get used to the controls, movements and weapons of the Predator. The second level is where the game actually starts. They have the Predator on a ship unarmed. The first step is to find the wrist blades used as the basic attacking weapon at the start of the game.

avp-12The controls are an on-screen controller type with a d-pad and a couple of buttons. On a side note, for players with them, AVP: Evolution is optimized for MOGA controllers. (: In my opinion, games like this are much easier to play with an actual controller instead of the on-screen d-pad style controller.

Throughout AVP: Evolution are options to upgrade the skills, weapons and armor of the killing machine being used. This can give a unique advantage and can create a different game each time a new game is started. As mentioned, there is a choice to play as either extraterrestrial killer making for a very different game and storyline. From the perspective of the Aliens, it is a matter of freeing the species from slavery. From the Super Predator side of the story, it is all about conquering the Jungle Hunter Clan of Predators.

The thing to remember is, AVP: Evolution is all about the graphics and action. This might mean AVP: Evolution won’t be compatible on slower or older devices. If the Android device being used barely meets the requirements to play the game, it might not be as enjoyable.

The finishing moves in AVP: Evolution are great. Make sure to learn and get good at some of the combos so kicking some butt and advancing the skills of the player is a little easier. The levels are pretty cool and very detailed. As The lighting is pretty eerie and dark, yet leaves enough to see whats going on.

AVP: Evolution takes some getting used to the movements and the different actions, but after playing for a few levels, it get smoother. It took a couple tries for me to get some of the different final kill moves but they are pretty cool. It’s also how health can be increased.

Lode Runner Classic Gets A New MOGA-Enhanced Version

Lode Runner Classic Gets A New MOGA-Enhanced Version

Jul 10, 2013

Happy 30th birthday to Lode Runner! To celebrate its birthday, Tozai Games released a MOGA-enhanced version of Lode Runner Classic on Android devices, which is now available in the Google Play store. The arcade action classic has all-new features and graphics, 150 levels, and redesigned gameplay mechanics for players to experience while playing it with a MOGA controller.

“When the first Lode Runner came out on the Apple II, the last thing I expected was that the game would be alive and kicking on a platform as advanced as today’s smartphones more than 30 years later. It’s really gratifying to me that so many people are still interested in the game.” said Douglas E. Smith, Original Creator, in a press release.

Syder Arcade 1.4 Update: What’s Old Becomes New Again

Syder Arcade 1.4 Update: What’s Old Becomes New Again

Jun 19, 2013

Studio Evil’s Syder Arcade side-scrolling shmup is gettting some new life with an update that brings two new features to the Android version of the game. They’re technically new because both were in the PC original, sort of.

First up, because any true arcade gamer needs good controls, the game now supports MOGA controls. Take down evil aliens with high precision with the high-quality MOGA controllers.

Of course, for those looking for some additional challenge, Studio Evil has added in a faster gameplay mode. See, the PC version of Syder Arcade runs at a faster speed, where the Android version is about 75% of the PC version. The challenges of touch controls necessitated this. So, now it’s possible to play the game at full speed, serving as a kind of ‘Turbo’ mode. Thankfully unlike the old Street Fighter 2 Turbo variations, this doesn’t require buying a whole new game, it’s part of this free update which is now available on Google Play. Haven’t played the game yet? Check out the newly-released demo!

E3 2013: MOGA Announces New Power Series of Controllers

E3 2013: MOGA Announces New Power Series of Controllers

Jun 12, 2013

MOGA’s Pocket and Pro controllers are still relatively new, all things considered, but that doesn’t mean that they’re resting on their laurels. At E3, MOGA has announced the new generation of MOGA controllers, the Power series.

The Pocket Power fixes the key issues of the current MOGA Pocket, which is namely the lack of buttons. The joysticks on the Pocket Power will be clickable. Shoulder buttons will be added in addition to the triggers. As well, a d-pad will be added to the controller, which was missing before. This will definitely improve 2D MOGA games, as well as make the Pocket a feature-complete option, albeit still a secondary one to the Pro.

MOGAPocketPro

The Pro is getting a boost with the Power Pro model that will feature force feedback in games optimized for it. The vibration appears to be powered by Immersion Haptics. Also worth noting on both controller models are new LEDs that appear to indicate multiple controller support.

These controllers are still in the works, but should be available in the Q3-Q4 (North American fall) timeframe.

The Conduit HD Review

The Conduit HD Review

May 31, 2013

The Conduit HD is probably the finest console-quality FPS available on mobile because it actually is a console FPS on mobile. Originally released as a Wii game by High Voltage Studios, they have now brought it to Android with a fresh coat of paint for HD devices, but with the same gameplay. On mobile scale, it’s quite an achievement, but does the title actually work on mobile? It’s a mixed bag.

Players control Michael Ford, a government agent who soon finds himself facing down an alien invasion after being betrayed by a shadow government, and forced to work for the ‘terrorist’ Prometheus who may not be as bad as he seems. Players swap between a variety of weapons and use the “All Seeing Eye” to activate switches, unlock doors, and find hidden items and messages spread throughout the game world.

The Conduit HD doesn’t really do much with the FPS formula that feels all that unique – part of its notability back in 2009 was that it was an original hardcore-focused FPS for the Wii, a casual-focused platform. While console-style gameplay is somewhat lacking on mobile, there have been a several FPS titles that have released, like Gameloft’s whole NOVA and Modern Combat series. So, while it feels a bit unique to be playing this game on mobile, it’s not entirely there.

TheConduitHD-2

The game is freemium, with the first two levels (though the very first is really just an extended tutorial) available for free, and the rest of the game unlockable for $4.99. It’s possible to buy 3-6 and 7-10 for $2.99 each, but…really? Don’t do that. As well, cheats can be bought with IAP.

The game is rather lengthy for a mobile title, with extended-length missions that make the most sense to play while at home sitting down. All the voice acting is still here, even though the plot, full of double-crosses and aliens is somewhat overacted by the cast. However, being called “Mr. Ford” all the time is entertaining for fans of Frisky Dingo.

The controls are a mixed bag. On the touch screen, it’s a wee bit chaotic, what with the virtual joysticks and double-tap actions that can cause random things to happen. My recommendation? Play with a real controller. HID gamepads (like the Xbox 360 controller) and the MOGA controllers are supported, and they’re much better for playing the game than the on-screen controls. Those are fine in a pinch, but this is a real FPS meant to be played with real controls.

And really, that’s the problem. This game is a console game on Android. And not one that is all that original to boot. Those looking for a legitimate FPS experience will want to check this out, especially for owners of physical controllers. They will get their money’s worth. But for those looking for a great mobile FPS…keep looking.

GDC 2013: MOGA Introduces Their Pro Controller

GDC 2013: MOGA Introduces Their Pro Controller

Mar 27, 2013

MOGA released its Android-compatible game controller late last year, featuring a small portable size and phone clip that could accommodate devices up to the Galaxy Note 2 in landscape height. Now, they’re releasing a new controller model that they hope will appeal to hardcore gamers on Android. The MOGA Pro is a Bluetooth gamepad with a button layout similar to an Xbox 360 controller – a diamond of face buttons, two bumpers, two triggers, two joysticks, and a d-pad.

Where gamers and Android users should care is that the controller is based off of the Fus1on Tournament Controller design, which the company claims is used by professional gamers worldwide in high-stakes competitions. Even for the mediocre gamer, this controller will do well – the joysticks had a great resistance to them, the triggers felt great to use as I killed zombies in Dead Trigger, and it’s increidbly ergonomically-friendly. There’s a rubber finish to where the player grabs the controller that makes it feel comfortable, and the controller has enough weight to it so that even a Galaxy Note 2 won’t make it feel lopsided. It also comes with a stand for the tablet devices that will work with it.

There are over 50 games that support the MOGA controllers through the company’s SDK, which they claim is the best way to implement controls as developers can easily tweak the controls for their button layout and joysticks. But with the wealth of Android games that support gamepads, often in secret, the MOGA Pro will still work with them, as an HID mode that works theoretically the same as when an Xbox controller is plugged in is also available through a switch on the controller.

The MOGA Pivot app is available to see which games are available on Google Play that support MOGA controls; this isn’t a separate store, but just a hub for seeing which games support the controls for Google Play. Plans are in the works over the long term to bring it to Amazon Appstore and Kindle Fire HD as well.

The MOGA Pro will be made available in mid-April, and is available at retail in many places such as Toys R Us and all major cell phone carriers.