The smartphone game controller market has exploded alongside Xbox Cloud Gaming and should see a second surge with the inevitable PlayStation Cloud Gaming. Amongst the sea of devices, RiotPWR has just dropped an Xbox-licensed version of its Cloud Gaming Controller.
Much like the GameSir X2 Pro, it benefits from this partnership with a dedicated Xbox button and function buttons that work across all of the games you can stream, while doubling up as a solid pad for all the best Apple Arcade games.
But it does come with a trade off in portability, so here’s the ultimate question — is it good enough to be worthwhile? Let’s find out.
RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller price
This is actually one of the most expensive options from RiotPWR, but when I say it’s $69 / £69 (opens in new tab), you’ll realize that’s not much of a problem.
It comes in at $10 less than the MOGA XP5-i Plus and GameSir X2 Pro, while also being $30 less than the Backbone One. For what you get, this is great value for money.
RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller design
The RiotPWR takes a near-identical form factor to an Xbox controller (thank you, Xbox partnership), which means you’re getting some sweet ergonomics.
The buttons have a great, tactile feel, the analog triggers are ultra responsive and the joysticks have a reliably fluid snap to them. All of this is enclosed in a suitably premium-feeling plastic shell with a grippy pattern of assorted shapes, to keep your hands firmly in place.
Don’t worry — that pattern is close, but not similar enough to the PS5 DualSense for Sony to sue RiotPWR off the face of the Earth.
Plus, there is a dedicated share button that takes a screenshot automatically on your phone. That is an impressive addition that no other controller at this price sports, and makes bragging about your big wins even easier.
However, opting for this form factor rather than a Nintendo Switch-esque frame that stretches across your phone is simply not as portable, which may make carrying this around a pain. Personally, I prefer the pocketability of the Backbone One, which is good enough for long gaming sessions.
It really is up to personal preference, as using a proper controller will feel more comfortable for sure, but you will need a backpack to stash this into when you’re commuting.
RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller connectivity and support
The RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller relies on a lightning cable for phone connectivity. Of course, this isn’t as convenient as the Bluetooth you find in the likes of the Moga XP5-i, but it does guarantee lag-free gaming, which I personally prefer.
On top of that, to combat the latency you can find while trying to play games with any pair of the best true wireless earbuds, RiotPWR has stuck a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, which means you can play Rhythm games without any problems.
There is also a lightning port passthrough for keeping your phone juiced as you play.
RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller software
The Ludu Mapp app is a free companion for the RiotPWR pad, and while it's certainly better than the GameSir configuration app, it is still a little weird.
It can be used in landscape with the controller, but Ludu is more of an in-app marketplace rather than a UI interface for your current games like what you get with the Backbone app.
To open games, you still need to head to the iPhone’s home screen and pick. The potential is there, as the app categorizes everything nicely and even provides guides and walkthroughs for certain games, but until it nails this feature, it still feels like more of an afterthought.
When it comes to the standard controller with a phone holder attached form factor, the RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller is the best I’ve used — offering a great-feeling controller with all that you need for latency-free gaming in a great value package.
It’s not as portable as some of the competition and the app doesn’t give you the gamer-centric UI you want, but these are easily forgiven at this price.
For Xbox Cloud Gaming, this is clearly one of the better options alongside the GameSir X2 Pro. It’s just a case of deciding what form factor you want. If you decide a full controller is the better fit for you, grab this one.