Wanle Gamers Con­sole for iPhone

Price: £18.99 from fave.co/2xQoMNe

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

Avail­able for ev­ery iPhone model from 6 to X, the Wanle Gamers Con­sole for iPhone is un­de­ni­ably a con­ver­sa­tion piece, although ex­pe­ri­ence tells me that some of those con­ver­sa­tions might oc­ca­sion­ally in­volve some­one sternly telling you to shut up. From what I can tell, the ‘Sound’ but­ton doesn’t ac­tu­ally si­lence the case, which means you should never ex­pect to play the 27 games packed

within while you’re in a hushed re­cep­tion room or wait­ing for a movie to be­gin. It might start chirp­ing when you slip it in your pocket or when you hold the phone the ‘wrong’ way when mak­ing a call.

Wanle’s case looks like a Game Boy from a few feet away, right down to the yel­low-green dis­play and the two jaun­tily slanted grey but­tons perched be­low the di­rec­tional pads and ac­tion but­tons. You have to flip your phone up­side down in or­der to play it – as the rear cam­era hole would get in the way of the Wanle case’s screen if held nor­mally – but oth­er­wise that’s all it takes to start en­joy­ing the games. The only real setup in­volves slip­ping one of the two coin‑sized bat­ter­ies that come with the pack­age into the case, at­tach­ing the case to your phone, and hit­ting the power but­ton.

Just don’t ex­pect a Game Boy-like gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with its £18.99 price tag. It may look like Nin­tendo’s hand­held de­vice, but Wanle’s case has far more in com­mon with the lit­tle one‑off hand­held games on sale in the 1980s, where the ba­sic ac­tion and graph­ics barely changed and you some­times had to use your imag­i­na­tion to get the most of out if. In other words, if you’re plan­ning on slap­ping down cash on this so you can play Game Boy clas­sics such as Su­per Mario Land, Gar­goyle’s Quest, or Bat­tle­toads, you’ve se­ri­ously got the wrong idea.

The Wanle case’s screen looks to sim­pler times, in stark con­trast to the iPhone’s retina screen and TrueDepth cam­era that scans faces and lets you play Fort­nite. From a dis­tance, in fact, you could eas­ily mis­take al­most all 27 Wanle games for Tetris.

It’s all so ab­stract that it’s not al­ways clear which game you’re play­ing. That’s partly be­cause the games don’t even have names. In­stead, each game cor­re­sponds to an ar­bi­trary let­ter of the al­pha­bet and you need to scroll one at a time to se­lect one. As you scroll, the bricks at the top re­ar­range them­selves to re­sem­ble a let­ter while the ones in the mid­dle act out a preview of the game you’ll play. Mean­while, the bricks at the bot­tom spell out the level you’ll start at, which can be changed by press­ing the left or right but­tons on the D-pad. Some­how, the sys­tem man­ages to be sim­ple and con­fus­ing at the same time.

I scrolled to ‘E’ to find the Frog­ger knock‑off, in which I ma­noeu­vred a sin­gle block through rows of mov­ing bricks. The let­ter ‘D’ let me play a Galaga clone, although I had to imag­ine the mis­siles since they

didn’t show up on screen. Games I‑Z are all vari­ants on Tetris, rang­ing from the stan­dard tile‑match­ing puz­zler to one that made the stack of blocks move to the right ev­ery few sec­onds.

As for its ac­tual ef­fec­tive­ness as a case? It de­pends. Aside from the fact that it sad­dles you with two screens to worry about (and Wanle’s is ex­traor­di­nar­ily prone to scratches), the case it­self seems per­fectly ca­pa­ble tak­ing a few punches as long as they’re aimed at the iPhone’s back. It’s thick, for one, and the rub­bery but­tons may even al­low for a lit­tle ‘bounce’ when it falls. (My one real prob­lem is that the cir­cu­lar bat­tery is vis­i­ble through the white ver­sion of the case.)

While it might pro­tect the back, how­ever, I wouldn’t put too much faith in this case as a de­fender against shat­tered screens. Since it rests flush against the front of the phone, there’s lit­tle pro­tec­tion against dreaded dis­play-down drops. And con­sid­er­ing that the iPhone’s dis­play faces the pave­ment when you’re play­ing the case, that’s more than a lit­tle ter­ri­fy­ing. One care­less drop in a mo­ment of frus­trated gam­ing, and boom, there’s an ex­pen­sive screen re­pair on your hands.

But in cer­tain, spe­cific in­stances, it’s a case I’d like to use. When I’m out with friends and that in­evitable mo­ment comes up when I whip out my phone to check the time or take a photo, I’m al­most cer­tain one of those friends is go­ing to no­tice it. In fact, I’m al­most as cer­tain that one of them will want to talk about it and prob­a­bly want to give it a try. Though if I’m be­ing hon­est, I’ll be watch­ing them closely the whole time to make sure they don’t drop it, which kind of de­feats the pur­pose of it be­ing a case.

Ver­dict

The Wanle Gamers Con­sole is too prone to mak­ing noises at in­op­por­tune times for use as a daily carry, and its dicey dis­play pro­tec­tion makes it a du­bi­ous can­di­date for pro­tec­tion. Still, it does a re­mark­able job of look­ing like a Nin­tendo Game Boy and the games, while sim­ple, are fun and var­ied. Plus, con­sid­er­ing you can pick one up for just un­der £19, it’ll make a fun con­ver­sa­tion piece for par­ties or out­ings with friends. Leif John­son

That’s ba­si­cally Frog­ger, be­lieve it or not

The case doesn’t ex­tend far past the dis­play, which means you’ll likely be in trou­ble if your phone hits the ground screen-first

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