Third party accessories have a history of being unreliable and reserved as a backup controller we force our friends to use during local multiplayer. Thankfully, we have come a long way in the last few years and numerous third party controller options have become a viable and cheaper substitute to their first party counterparts. This increase in quality isn’t just locked into the modern era of gaming, either, as companies continue to develop controllers for retro consoles. The focus of today's review is the Power Stick from Retro-Bit. Available for $24.99, this arcade style controller looks to stand above the competition for best NES input method.
Aesthetics and Build Quality
Inside the box we have the Power Stick and an instruction manual. The Power Stick features a design extremely reminiscent to the NES Advantage arcade stick including a control stick, A button, B button, Start button and Select button. The control stick utilizes an 8 direction gate and has an audible click when each direction is pressed. Like the control stick, the A and B buttons on the Power Stick offer an audible click when pressed and are offset for easier handling. Start and Select, while not having this click, feel very responsive.
The Power Stick only uses one controller port plug which means the adjustable turbo buttons found on the NES Advantage are not included, but this also allows players to hook up 2 Power Stick controllers to enjoy simultaneous gameplay in games like CONTRA or TMNT 2 THE ARCADE GAME. Construction of the Power Stick also feels very solid, despite its light weight, with sturdy plastic. The color scheme exactly matches that of the NES with its greys, blacks and reds.
Playing NES games with the Power Stick has been a true treat! Every input has been detected flawlessly and the audible clicks of the control stick and buttons add to my confidence of gameplay. I seriously feel like I am way better at these games then I have ever been with a traditional NES controller! So much so I might have to give BATTLETOADS another shot with this thing! Every game I tested has been completely compatible with the Power Stick as well, including random homebrew and reproduction carts.
My time with the Power Stick has been a true joy and one of my best third party controller experiences, retro or otherwise. While I have never been one to play console games with an arcade stick style controller before, I think this might now be my favorite way to experience NES games! If you are a fan of arcade style gameplay, the NES Advantage, or the NES in general, the Power Stick from Retro-Bit is an amazing control option I can highly recommend!