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Duo Gamer Review

December 20th, 2012 by

Whilst I am a huge fan of touch screen gaming on my iPhone, at times I find it very hard to get the same enjoyment when using my iPad.  For the occasional games such as Zombie Tsunami where you have a one tap control method I have no issues.  It’s when I have to hold the iPad in such a position that I can also reach two virtual thumb sticks that I begin to have issues.  It’s just not comfortable.

This is where the Duo Gamer Controller steps in.  But first what can we expect from the trailer?  Well to start with we have a couple that obviously get far too excited about life in general and I’m quite sure, if nothing else, that they would be great friends with the air grabbing couple from the Duo Pinball Trailer – but with much more knee and leg touching.

What’s in the box?

Inside the packaging is the Duo Game controller, an iPad stand, two AA batteries as well as an instruction manual to aid you in getting set up as quickly as possible.


If there is one thing Duo does well it’s making the setup process as simple as possible for everyone.  Whack the batteries into the controller and a blue light shines to indicate that there is power in your new peripheral. You follow this up with diving into your iPad settings, turning the Bluetooth on (if not already) and pair the two devices together.

The stand is simple to set up, you rest the iPad on the stand and you are done.  Whilst I would have preferred to have some sort of locking mechanism to fix your device in place, the upside of this is that you do not need a multitude of adapters for various iOS devices effectively making it a one size fits all stand.

The Experience

The build quality of the controllers feels like it could come from one of those 20 in 1 game consoles that you can pick up at Sunday markets around the country.  The controller is very bulky – almost 3 times the thickness of an iPhone – but the weight of the controller does not tally with this and almost feels hollow.

The other issue I had was the shape. Why in this day and age of beautiful curves did Duo decide to adopt a rectangular shape with sharp line edges is a question only they could possibly even begin to answer. All I know is that this does not make for the most comfortable controller when you have extended play sessions and I quite often finished my game with the onset of pins and needles in my palms and fingers.

The controller allows you to navigate the game menus using the controller so there is no back and forth between your seat and the stand; always a plus for the lazy amongst us. Using the Duo game controller in online games certainly gives you an edge, almost to the point of being unfair.  It’s so much easier to run, jump, aim and shoot someone than it has ever been with iOS gaming and is possibly as close to console gaming that you can get with a touch screen device.

My performance in all of the games improved greatly and I have to admit that the controller has to take most of the credit as once removed and going back to the touch screen mechanics it resulted in my scores dipping to roughly what they were before the device entered my life.

The Rub

On top of the comfort of the controller I have two main concerns for the device.  Firstly, like the iCade and Pinball controllers before it, the controller only works with a limited number of Gameloft games (currently five with more to come soon) and secondly the price, £55.95.  Let’s just pause and take that in.

Yes, it wasn’t a typo.  £55.95. Almost double the price of an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 controller.  Although Duo has promised that more Gameloft games will be compatible shortly, this really is a huge sticking point and certainly makes the Duo Controller an accessory of pure extravagance.

With this in mind, I find it hard to recommend the controller until either there are many more games available or there is a huge price drop. I will admit that the controller will improve your abilities and scores within these games, and if either or both these elements are improved the device would gain a point in its overall rating

MLG Rating: 6/10 Platform: iOS Release Date: 21/11/2012

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a Duo Controller for review purposes by the promoter. The product was reviewed over the course of one week using a 2nd Gen iPad. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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