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Joystick-It Review: Retro Controls for Mobile Gaming

One of the big perks to having a smartphone or tablet are all the great games available to play on it. was kind enough to send me an intriguing little smartphone gaming accessory to review: Joystick-It, a game joystick for smartphones. This small accessory allows users to play mobile games with a realistic arcade joystick control.

This is what the Joystick-It looks like. It has a suction cup and foam padding at the bottom.

This is what the Joystick-It looks like. It has a suction cup and foam padding at the bottom.

How It Works

The joystick adheres to a mobile device’s touchscreen with a simple suction cup. The accessory is small, so it doesn't take up much of your screen. It’s just large enough to fit in the circular directional pad area used in many game apps. A capacitive foam padding is under the joystick control so when you move the joystick to the left, the foam touches the screen to the left, moving your game avatar and allowing you to play as if you were using your finger or an old-school joystick at an arcade. A slightly larger model is available for tablets. It’s a simple and functional design.

Good for Retro Games, Better for Newer Games

This is one of the coolest gaming accessories available for your smartphone or tablet. It looks great and has a real retro feel. Interestingly enough, however, the joystick may work better with newer games as opposed to the retro arcade games that have been made into mobile apps.

Games like Pacman may have been originally designed for a joystick with simple directional controls, but they also require a lot of precision when it comes to dodging those ghosts, and the Joystick-It accessory won’t always allow you to make those sharp turns. Games with broad directional controls like Dungeon Defenders or MiniGore work quite well with the Joystick-It, though.

Downsides to the Device

Gaming with a joystick on your mobile device can be great fun, but there are some disadvantages.

  • First of all, because the accessory is just using a suction cup to hold on, gravity will cause the device to slowly slide down your screen if it’s not placed flat or being pressed down towards your screen.
  • Also, while gaming, it's not unusual for the joystick to come unstuck from the screen, which can be frustrating in the middle of playing.

It may take a while to get used to using the joystick at first, but once you do, it's pretty fun to play with.

Using the Joystick-It to play "Pacman."

Using the Joystick-It to play "Pacman."

It's Neat and Fun, But Not Essential

Only games with joystick controls will work with this accessory, and it works better with games with broad directional controls due to its lack of precision. That said, the device is pretty neat to play around with and can enhance some of your favorite games. It's compatible with any mobile device with a touchscreen.

Joystick-It comes in a small smartphone model or a larger tablet model for less than $10 at This accessory makes a fun treat for yourself or a unique and affordable gift. However, if you never play a mobile game with a joystick accessory, you aren’t missing out on much.