In general, the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers are pretty solid devices, especially since they don’t add a lot of extra bulk when you attach them to the sides of the console. When you’re playing an action-heavy game in handheld mode, though – say Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – they can leave a lot to be desired. That’s where HORI, purveyor of licensed Switch accessories, and its new Grip Controller come in.
Revealed during E3 2019, the best way to describe the Grip Controller is as a Switch Pro Controller split in two. Obviously that’s not a super accurate representation, but it seems to strike at the basic idea behind HORI’s latest accessory. The Grip Controller attaches to both sides of the Switch, just like the Joy-Cons do, but gives you more to hold onto and puts some additional tools at your disposal.
For instance, the Grip Controller features a standard d-pad, while the Switch Joy-Cons do not. You’ve also got a variety of Turbo buttons at your disposal, but beyond that, these are the standard Switch controls in a more hand-filling package. Though the Grip Controller looks like it adds considerable bulk to the Switch, it might be a good choice when you want to play action titles in portable mode.
In fact, that seems to be specifically what the Grip Controller was created for, as it’ll be launching alongside Daemon x Machina – one of the titles Nintendo previewed in its E3 2019 Direct – this fall. It’ll also be launching here in the US, as confirmed by HORI’s American arm in the tweet you see above, though more details on a North American release date weren’t provided. When it arrives in Japan in September, we’ll see it run ¥4,780, which means we can probably expect it to cost around $45 here in the US.
Before you get too excited about the Grip Controller, there are some caveats to be aware of. The first is that it can only be used in portable mode – not in TV mode or table mode. The second is that the controller lacks a number of features found in its Joy-Con counterparts, namely gyro support, IR, HD rumble, and NFC, so no using amiibo with the Grip Controller. As long as those aren’t deal breakers (which they definitely are for some), look for the Grip Controller later this year.