This story was originally published and last updated .
As we do more and more gaming on our more and more powerful smartphones, mobile games themselves are getting more complex. To play something like Fortnite or Dead Cells on your phone, it's almost suicide to go in against your foes with touch controls, and a proper, hardware gamepad can be practically mandatory for a play experience that won't leave you endlessly frustrated. Thankfully, Android is compatible with a wide range of Bluetooth gamepads, including those from game consoles like the PlayStation 4. Here's a list of some of the best controllers you use for any kind of gaming on Android, from shooters to old PC ports.
The Nexus Player pumps TV shows and games alike to your TV, but for the latter, you're probably not going to use the included remote. Instead, you can consider springing for the Nexus Player gamepad to go with your set-top box.
Fans of Mojang's incredibly popular game franchise, Minecraft, will soon have a better option for manipulating the Android version of the game. Mobile controller support will finally be added in an update that will be arriving "soon". This news comes via Twitter from Mojang developer Tommaso Checchi.
Fortunately we'll soon raze the entire UI to the ground, so that we'll be able to have proper controller support among other things :)
Mining, building, and fighting off zombies with precision should be much easier with an external controller than with touch screen controls. Other improvements to the game were also alluded to in Tommaso's tweet.
Mobile electronics have to have compromises. You can't shove a 55-inch screen onto a phone no matter how hard you try, end eventually even the biggest battery will run out. It's all about balancing the desirable with the practical. A similar principle extends to the more niche world of mobile-focused gaming controllers: while we'd all like a console experience in a portable package, even the most generous pockets will be strained if you try to shove a Dual Shock into them.
So we have a sliding scale, portability versus utility. You can go big, with console-style controllers that have full button complements like the MOGA Pro or the Thrustmaster Score-A.
Saturday mornings during my childhood were all about three things: a couple hours of freedom from parents, sugary cereal, and awesome cartoons. One of the best cartoons was DuckTales, the story of a cranky old duck, Scrooge, who liked to swim in a pool of gold coins and yell at his nephews as they tried to solve a mystery or rewrite history. There were a lot of race cars, lasers, and aeroplanes, along with villains and exotic locales. If reading about DuckTales is filling you with yearnings for your younger years, then this news is going to make your day. Disney has added Ducktales: Remastered to its ever-growing Android game library.
I have been hunting for an ideal Android game controller for a long time. I've tried tons of them: tiny, retro, travel-oriented, and full-size. None have hit that perfect combination of portability and utility (for as much as "utility" can be applied to a gaming accessory) that makes it a recommendation for everyone. Thrustmaster, a minor player in the gaming accessory market, has had its Score-A Bluetooth controller that's specifically designed for Android available at retail for a while now. Can this compact controller, complete with Android navigation buttons and a full console button complement, rise above the rest?
Hey, look at this Mad Catz Android Bluetooth controller. It looks really compact, if a little odd. But then that's Mad Catz for you.
I wonder what happens if I pull this thing and - oh, a full-sized console controller. That's kinda neat, even if the extended handles do look a little too much like scissor blades. What happens if I put this little plastic bracket on...
Not content with making a stylish Android set-top box, Razer is also planning on attacking the Android gaming market on its home turf. The Serval is a full-sized, console-style Bluetooth game controller that's compatible with both Razer's Forge TV and direct connection with Android phones and tablets. It's far from the first controller made with Android in mind, but it's the first to come from perhaps the most high-profile game peripheral company out there, and is thus worthy of examination.
In terms of configuration, the Serval is essentially a green-tinted copy of the Xbox 360 controller, which has become more or less the standard for wide-ranging video game input.
Update 11/17/14: The NES30 has been restocked after quickly selling out back in September.
Last weekend we published an exhaustive review of the 8BitDo NES30, a Bluetooth controller designed for phones and tablets with the looks of the original Nintendo Entertainment System but the extra buttons from the Super NES. The reviewer came away impressed thanks to solid functionality, a smart button layout, and a slavish dedication to the classic NES aesthetics. If you want to grab one for yourself, StackSocial is currently selling the NES30 for $29.99.