• Moga Ace Power looks nicer in the press pics than it does in reality

    Moga Ace Power looks nicer in the press pics than it does in reality

  • Joysticks? Check. D-pad? Check? iPhone? iPHONE?
  • Can't find our iPhone anywhere, this is embarrassing
  • Touchscreen controls for FPS games will still appear
  • Little known titles like GTA San Andreas work well with the Moga
  • That iPhone scrubs up nicely ... until you encase it in a cheap-looking Moga Ace
  • A good choice for heavy iOS gamers. Touchscreen controls begone.
  • Moga Ace Power looks nicer in the press pics than it does in reality

    Moga Ace Power looks nicer in the press pics than it does in reality

  • Joysticks? Check. D-pad? Check? iPhone? iPHONE?

    Joysticks? Check. D-pad? Check? iPhone? iPHONE?

  • Can't find our iPhone anywhere, this is embarrassing

    Can't find our iPhone anywhere, this is embarrassing

  • Touchscreen controls for FPS games will still appear

    Touchscreen controls for FPS games will still appear

  • Little known titles like GTA San Andreas work well with the Moga

    Little known titles like GTA San Andreas work well with the Moga

  • That iPhone scrubs up nicely ... until you encase it in a cheap-looking Moga Ace

    That iPhone scrubs up nicely ... until you encase it in a cheap-looking Moga Ace

  • A good choice for heavy iOS gamers. Touchscreen controls begone.

    A good choice for heavy iOS gamers. Touchscreen controls begone.

A touchscreen smartphone is great for a lot of things but fine control of a football game or a first-person shooter is not one of them. That's why Apple's announcement of game controller compatibility in iOS 7 had a lot of mobile gamers salivating.

Fast-forward six months and player one is ready: the Moga Ace Power controller is a good start, if a little toy-like. Is it the answer to the iPhone gamer's prayers?

Quality control

Joysticks? Check. D-pad? Check? iPhone? iPHONE?

Joysticks? Check. D-pad? Check? iPhone? iPHONE?

Can't find our iPhone anywhere, this is embarrassing

Can't find our iPhone anywhere, this is embarrassing

The Moga Ace will feel instantly familiar to console gamers. It has two analog joysticks, set asymetrically, Xbox-style plus a D-pad, four pressure-sensitive action buttons, two triggers and two shoulder buttons. That's enough variety for most gaming genres and more than the Logitech PowerShell, the Ace's main competition.

The Ace can also charge your phone while you play - seriously useful, given the battery demands of some iOS games - and uses four lights to show the level of its own 1800 mAh battery. On the back is a reset button, handy if your Ace inexplicably stops functioning, as ours did. Don't fret, a prod with a pin got it working again.

Finally, on the bottom is a micro-USB port to charge the battery and a headphone jack - essential if you're a fan of app soundtracks but don't want to annoy the person next to you on the bus. And that's all there is to it. Slide the controller open, pop an iPhone 5, 5s, 5c or fifth-generation iPod touch onto the Lightning port and you're ready to play.

Your first game: hunt the game

Touchscreen controls for FPS games will still appear

Touchscreen controls for FPS games will still appear

Little known titles like GTA San Andreas work well with the Moga

Little known titles like GTA San Andreas work well with the Moga

We've been putting the Ace through its paces with Storm Raiders, Bastion, GTA: San Andreas and Call of Duty: Strike Team. The controller is always excellent with brilliantly responsive analog controls that are, crucially, far better than the touchscreen alternative. However, if you want to know how it works with other games then you'll have to hunt them down first. It's not Moga's fault but there's a shortage of compatible games at the moment – even major titles such as FIFA 14 aren't controller compatible yet.

Be prepared for plenty of crashing and getting shot too when you first boot up a new game. None of the games we've tested give instructions for controllers so you'll have to discover them through trial and error.

Even the compatible games mostly leave the virtual controls on screen even though you're playing with a controller, cluttering up game space. These irritations will go away as developers embrace the Moga and its Logitech rival but we're firmly in early adopter territory right now.

Advertisement

Feels cheap. Isn't cheap

That iPhone scrubs up nicely ... until you encase it in a cheap-looking Moga Ace

That iPhone scrubs up nicely ... until you encase it in a cheap-looking Moga Ace

Spending £80 to turn your iPhone into something more like a PS Vita seems like a good deal but there's no denying that the Ace is expensive, especially considering that it feels so cheap.

It's all plastic and toy-like, and the iPhone 5s or 5 surely deserve a more premium partner for on-the-go gaming. Perhaps an iPod touch or iPhone 5c would better suit the candy-coloured buttons and orange mid-section but the flagships feel underserved.

Verdict

A good choice for heavy iOS gamers. Touchscreen controls begone.

A good choice for heavy iOS gamers. Touchscreen controls begone.

Where the Moga falls down is in its design, which is a bit cluttered and low-grade. But the most important thing about a game controller is how it functions and the Ace itself leaves little room for complaint in that regard.

Sure, there's no huge implementation push from iOS game developers that we can see, but this is still a good choice for heavy iOS gamers or anyone who would play more but is put off by touchscreen controls. As for 2014, each new quality game that gets on board with controller compatibility will just make accessories like the Ace Power more appealing.

Stuff says... 

Moga Ace Power - the first official iPhone games controller review

It's not perfect but the Moga Ace Power Controller will make your iPhone gaming more fun
Moga Ace Power looks nicer in the press pics than it does in reality

Moga Ace Power looks nicer in the press pics than it does in reality

£80
Good Stuff 
Console gamers will feel right at home
Responsive physical controls
Battery boosting power for your iPhone
Bad Stuff 
Feels cheap and plasticky
Not very many compatible games
Cheaper than a Vita but still an investment at £80
design
0
features
0
smarts
0
battery
0