GAMEPAD GRIFTA Morphing Solo Gamepad/£ 34.99 inc VAT
The battle between the gamepad and the mouse and keyboard combo has raged entirely pointlessly in gaming circles for years. The argument can be simply summarised by saying that gamepads are better for movement, by virtue of having analogue sticks instead of keys, and that mice are better for looking around and aiming because of the speed, freedom of movement and accuracy. With this in mind, the GRIFTA Morphing Solo should offer the best of both worlds, being a gamepad you use in your left hand so that your right hand can use a mouse.
In theory, this setup provides you with the analogue movement controls of a pad, but you still have the ability to aim with a mouse. By marrying the advantages of the two interfaces, you might think you’d have a perfect control system in your hands, but the reality is a little more complicated.
The Morphing Solo is a reasonably comfortable pad to use, but it takes some time to acclimatise to it. Despite both pads and mice being familiar control devices, using the two of them together can feel jarring at first. On the Morphing Solo, you have a thumb stick, D-pad, analogue trigger and five other buttons in play in various places, with three configuration buttons on top. This array gives you a decent amount of possible controls compared with a gamepad, but far less than you might want from a keyboard. The pad has three modes you can use, and you can switch between them at any time. It can be used as a normal gamepad, as a movement-sensitive controller suitable for VR or as a keyboard substitute. This latter mode forgoes the advantages of analogue movement and serves simply to replicate keystrokes, which is fine if you just want to use a different device instead of a keyboard, but you lose the benefit of having an analogue stick for movement. The pad itself is robust, intuitive and comfortable to use. However, its problems stem from its unique selling point, the key word being unique – it isn’t a design for which games designers have necessarily planned. As a result, the Morphing Solo isn’t a gamepad with which you can just plug in and play – getting it working well in games is more of a project. Basically, you need to expect to have to tinker with obstinate games to get your controls to work properly. You’ll need to rebind controls or find workarounds where rebinding isn’t an option, and you’ll also need to invest a chunk of your time in relearning how to play with your new control system, in order to see if there’s been any improvement over how you were doing with traditional control devices. In the right hands, and with the right games, the GRIFTA Morphing Solo works great, giving you the benefits of both a pad and a mouse at once, but the amount of work required to get it working well means it won’t be suitable for everyone.