When it comes to playing fighting games on the Nintendo Switch, there are a number of options available. But when it comes to comfortable options, there aren’t too many. Sure, some players will feel right at home with a Pro Controller in their hands, but it’s not a definitive fighting pad. And for that matter, the GameCube controller will likely only appeal to those Melee die-hards that absolutely, positively have to have one for their Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sessions. Otherwise, what do you have? A JoyCon? Yeah, no.
So PowerA decided to remedy the situation with the debut of a PowerA Fusion Wired FightPad for the Switch. This simple red and black number has the functionality you’d probably expect from, say, a Sega Genesis 6-button pad. But it goes to the next level with its support for various games, thanks to the inclusion of a switch and responsive buttons and D-pad that really let you feel like a peak performer with games like Mortal Kombat 11 and Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Edition. If you can handle its high price, you’ll be right at home here.
With a small but suitable frame and weight that barely registers under a half a pound, the Fusion Wired FightPad is convenient for you to bring along to your fight sessions. It is wired, which means you’re somewhat limited when it comes to moving around with it. But this also resulted in precision with your movements, as PowerA’s pad reads like a champ. This includes super moves in Street Fighter and those precious fatalities in Mortal Kombat 11. You won’t miss a beat here. It’s good for long-term sessions as well, though best left to fighting games. It’s not the best when it comes to typical platformers, though it can work if you don’t mind it.
The cable attached to it is three meters long, so you’re not too limited. And I do like how it snaps into place with a lock, so that it won’t jerk free if you’re getting a little too excited. You simply hold the sides and you can unplug it, if need be.
As for general performance, I liked the triggers on this thing, along with the D-pad. The buttons are a bit mushy, but not bad when it comes to reading your input. What’s interesting, though, is that there’s a small thing between the two right trigger buttons where you can change the R button to C-stick functionality if you’re playing Smash. This can be annoying to hit at first, but you get used to the feel of the pad, so it’s not too bad.
There’s also a switch where you can change the functionality of certain buttons to analog. I didn’t really think this was necessary, but some will probably enjoy it when it comes to more complex motions in games. I say stick with the default format, though, and it should be all right.
That said, I do wish there was some kind of swap action with certain buttons, like the shoulder ones. You’ll have to live with default settings for the time being, but I know some people prefer their customization. A mild setback, in the least.
As for the other functions on the controller, it does have a headphone jack. It also works well on the PC front, which means being able to play fighting games that aren’t necessarily available on the Switch. And its design is sweet, though I would’ve liked more color options. Only so many people will get a kick out of red and black, though it’s not bad.
The real thing here, however, is the price. The controller sells for $59.99. While that’s not as high as other fighting controllers on the market (like the Razer Raion I recently reviewed), it is still up there compared to other peripherals. That said, if you do specialize in fighting games on the Switch — in which there are several to choose from — it wouldn’t hurt to have this in your corner.
Despite some iffy feeling with the buttons and functionality choices that are slightly questionable, the Nintendo Switch Fusion Wired Fightpad isn’t a bad option at all. It’s responsive for the most part, and comfortable over long periods of time. It’s not the ideal controller for every situation, but for the general purpose that it serves, it’s a knockout.
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