This old school arcade machine-style controller works for PS3, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC and Android — but does it work well?
Finding games I can play with my wife is always a challenge.
Like many kids who grew up in the 80s and 90s, her childhood included the likes of Mario, Sonic and others. But like a lot of little girls, she opted for things like Barbie over video games.
I, on the other hand, am a huge gamer and have tried since we first met to find titles we can play together.
The LEGO games, game show games like Wheel of Fortune and Buzz, and the modern Mario games have been a lot of fun to play over the years, but during that time she also developed an issue with carpal tunnel.
It’s likely caused by her use of computers, but it could also be attributed to all those hours she put into Hexic, Luxor and Bejeweled.
I’ve long tried to find a solution to help her play without discomfort. Then it occurred to me: What about a fight stick? The trouble is, we play games across all the consoles, so I needed to find one that could work on most of them. The real reason for that is that I’m a journalist and money is definitely an object.
In steps the PXN Arcade Fight Stick. It’s available on Amazon for just under $50.
The best part about this stick is that it works on PS4, PS3, PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. It can even work with Android devices like tablets and Android TV boxes.
The controller itself is smaller than a lot of fight sticks I’ve seen. According to the Amazon listing, it’s 9.85 by 6.90 by 4.14 inches and weighs about two pounds. It features an approximately five-and-a-half foot USB cable, which is a bit short.
For PS4 and Xbox One, the controller must be plugged into the wireless controller via a USB port on the back of the controller.
It’s a bit finicky to turn on the system and the controller in the proper order, which is definitely a drawback. I believe it’s tricking the system into thinking it’s just using the standard controller, but it would be nice if it was just plug-and-play.
You have to plug in the fight stick, plug the wireless controller into the fight stick and then turn the system on before turning on your standard wireless controller. This is further complicated on PS4 because you need the console completely off (not in rest mode) and you need to not turn on the wireless controller at all, but instead turn on the fight stick with its own home button after the console is powered on.
When you get it working, it works well, but it’s a bit of a hassle.
Other features of the fight stick include turbo mode for most buttons, the ability to swap the joystick’s functionality between d-pad and left stick, buttons to represent clicking down on the sticks (i.e. L3 and R3 on PS4’s standard controller), share and options buttons (these function as plus and minus on Switch and the menu and view buttons on Xbox One), player indicator lights and a macro function.
The macro function allows customization of the R3 and L3 buttons on PS3 and PS4.
Though this controller has helped my wife play games quite a bit — we played a long session of New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe and she was enjoying it without pain, as well as doing better in the game than she does with a controller — there are a few things I don’t like about it.
In addition to the difficulty in connecting the controller to some of the systems, the suction cups work well, but they can be annoying and tough to uncouple from surfaces. I’d prefer it just be heavy enough to not need suction cups.
Also, the clicking of the stick that is used to provide feedback for fighting game combos gets a bit annoying when playing other titles. Then again, we’re using a fight stick for non-fighting games, so I guess I can’t complain too much about that.
On the bright side, I did not notice any lag or dead zone issues. However, some games (even when switched to joystick mode) just don’t work well with it as a fight stick isn’t really designed for that type of control. For instance, I tried it with Pac-Man 256 and it just isn’t responsive enough to quickly change directions like you need to in that game.
Overall, it’s a great controller for the price. A lot of these sticks can run $200 or more, so around $50 for a stick that works on four consoles, PC and certain Android devices isn’t bad at all.
Add to that the fact that this controller works pretty well and you have the formula for a good purchase.
All photos courtesy Amazon listing. This controller was purchased by Sac City Gamer’s Daniel Wilson for personal use. This review is not sponsored nor was the product provided to SCG for review purposes.