RiotPWR has made a handful of mobile controllers before and have teamed up with ESL (the Electronic Sports League) who are well known in competitive gaming circles, like pro Counter Strike: GO, Rainbow Six, and have recently expanded into mobile gaming. How far this partnership went past branding is something I wish I could tell you. But today I’ll be reviewing the Android variant of this mobile controller, the RiotPWR ESL controller, as there is also a model for use with the iPhone.
Platforms: iOS, Android (reviewed)
Price: $69.99 USD
Taking a look at the controller you can tell it is strongly inspired by the Xbox 360 controller. The RiotPWR ESL controller is similar to their Rotor Riot Controller but with some changes to the triggers and the shape seems more ergonomic than the Rotor model which when using the RiotPWR ESL controller is rather good in the hand for extended play sessions.
RiotPWR ESL Look and Feel
Looking at the RiotPWR ESL we can see a white with yellow and green accents all over, and one of the things I was very happy to see was the inclusion of a pass-through port for charging.
The pass-through port can keep you going on longer play sessions especially if you are playing graphically intense games that will put a drain on your battery. For longer trips you can keep a battery pack, or plug in.
One of the nicer things here is next to the charging port you have a 3.5mm headphone jack so if you happen to have one of those phones that now come sans headphone jack, you can use them while in gaming sessions, a nice little bonus!
You also get a phone cradle that snaps onto the middle of the controller on top the start and select buttons. It’s very sturdy and can hold your phone very well with the spring action that locks your phone in.
It’s worth pointing out when using the phone cradle that you should keep the middle from pressing the screen on or volume rocker, which I’ve mistakenly done several times and it’s rather frustrating.
You also get some very solid feel from the triggers on the RiotPWR ESL controller, and some rather spongy but responsive R1 or bumper shoulder buttons.
The face buttons also feel very responsive and almost as good as your standard Xbox or PlayStation controller, to the point that the only time I noticed was in fighting games.
That being said, I was putting my reviewer hat on and really trying to find the flaws with the RiotPWR ESL controller but it’s solid overall.
The biggest problem I had with the RiotPWR ESL controller however was the cheaply put together directional pad, which also tries to emulate the Xbox’s D-Pad, but just feels cheap.
This is a shame considering how well done everything else is with the RiotPWR ESL controller. The analog sticks are better but still not up to the level of the rest of the controller, which is a bummer, not a deal breaker but it keeps this from becoming a no-brainer recommendation.
RiotPWR ESL gameplay tests
I myself don’t really game on my phone aside from the occasional emulator, tower defense, and or card game. So when I was offered this product I used it for a few days and it kind of sat aside.
I wasn’t really sure how to work this thing over and really get some use out of it until Xbox Game Pass allowed streaming to your phone, now that really put the RiotPWR ESL controller through its paces.
After playing through the first Mass Effect with it, Phoenix Point, Gears Tactics, and Forza Horizon 5 I can say it is good controller with some flaws.
While you can always just use a PlayStation or Xbox controller with most phones today, the built-in clip-on stand for your phone makes it pretty manageable for longer play sessions on the train or in bed.
RiotPWR ESL conclusion
Getting down to brass tacks the RiotPWR ESL controller, it is quite expensive at $69.99 but offers good build quality overall. It was easy for me to get used to using the controller because it has taken some obvious design cues from the Xbox controller.
The option to buy a clip for your existing Xbox controller might seem like the economical option but at around $30 for this alternative you’re already at half the cost and you’ve only got a clip. The RiotPWR ESL controller is also nice in how small and light it is, it can easily fit in a bag or even my coat pocket.
I’d say if you are going to take mobile gaming seriously, you should take some consideration in the RiotPWR ESL Controller. If the clip on phone mount doesn’t do a whole lot for you, you might be better taking a look at some of the alternatives available.