Another company we got to meet at CES 2022 was RiotPWR, a company with a focus on mobile gaming. At CES 2022, RiotPWR revealed the RiotPWR ESL Controller for iOS. The RiotPWR ESL features a wired Lightning connection, passthrough charging, and a dedicated share button for gameplay capture and streaming.
As interesting as that product is, we mainly tackle Android product reviews here. Luckily, RiotPWR has something that we can tackle. The new Rotor Riot Android Controller (Model RR1825A) features a close-to-home Xbox One controller layout while utilizing USB-C connectivity with your Android mobile device.
Build and Feel
The new Rotor Riot Android Controller uses an imbedded USB-C cable to connect to your mobile device, whether or not it is docked in the included removable phone grip. The phone grip is held to the Rotor Riot with a screw that injects into the top of the controller. The USB-C cable comes with a Velcro cable management strip which keeps the cabling confined and tucked-away when your phone is attached to the controller.
As for the controller’s layout, you have a familiar Xbox One arrangement. You have dual analog sticks, a d-pad, two bumpers, two triggers, and X,Y,A,B buttons on the front. In the center, you have a Select button, a Start button and a Home button. The dual analog sticks are situated diagonally from one another, again much like on an Xbox controller. On the bottom of the controller, there is a USB-C port for pass through charging, allowing you to charge your attached mobile device while you play.
As far as builds go, I do like the simple and straightforward approach of the Rotor Riot. The controller layout begs that this controller be used for cloud gaming via the Xbox Game Pass app. You can take the controller right into Xbox gaming without having to do much to obtain muscle memory thanks to these button placements. The controller itself is light while the buttons and triggers provide good feedback when pressed. While I would have liked some perforation in the Rotor Riot’s handles for added grip, handling the controller was still quite comfortable.
Being able to remove the included phone grip is a nice touch, making the Rotor Riot very accessible for gaming on tablets as well as other table-top Android setups. The grip holds your phone at a fixed angle and can support some of the larger devices out on the market today. As an example, here is the Rotor Riot maintaining a solid grip on a Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G, even with the device in a protective case.
The Rotor Riot and its familiar control layout handles well in many gaming genres. The analog sticks have a good level of tension to them, allowing you to move and aim both accurately and smoothly. The triggers have a respectable amount of resistance to them as well. This controller feel was right at home with me, being as heavy handed as I am when I play shooters.
That said, it was when playing first person shooters where I trully appreciated the kind of no-latency gameplay that wired connectivity provides. Shooter gameplay felt as natural as it would on any platform with the Rotor Riot, where I dove right in with no learning curve whatsoever. First, I dove into Modern Combat 5 for Android, where I was treated with a crisp and responsive experience.
I then decided to up the anti to see exactly how “close-to-home” this experience can get. I booted up remote play via the Xbox app where my console ran and streamed gameplay to my phone, which in-turn received all of its inputs via the Rotor Riot. I booted up Destiny 2 and brazenly went into PVP gameplay by going into Crucible. While I did not put up the kind of numbers I was used to, mainly due to streaming delay, the game feel at least felt very natural. If you are mainly looking for a mobile controller for playing for shooters on your mobile device, the Rotor Riot does not disappoint.
Next, I dove into fighting games, my favorite gaming genre. First up, I started with Street Fighter IV Champion Edition for Android. It is here where I realized that the D-Pad took some getting used to, particularly with quarter-circle, half-circle, and dragon punch motions. There was a bit of a learning curve for me as I tried to establish how the D-pad registered diagonal inputs. In a side-scrolling brawler like Streets of Rage 4 via Xbox Game Pass, such command inputs are not used. So, this was not an issue in side-scrollers. In such games, the most involved D-pad input is usually double-tapping in either direction to perform a dash. An input that simple was no chore at all with the Rotor Riot’s D-pad.
However, it was those traditional fighting game command inputs that took me a good half-hour to learn on the Rotor Riot. Once I did, I was able to enjoy fighting games with this controller at a manageable level. I even booted up a Sega Dreamcast emulator to take the controller into Capcom vs SNK 2, one of my all-time favorite fighting games. The D-pad did not lend itself to the level of input precision that I would prefer, but the game was still plenty playable and enjoyable.
The RiotPWR’s Rotor Riot is a solid solution for Xbox cloud gaming, with its very “Xbox” build and no-latency USB-C connection. If you are playing any game via a streaming service, you will want to reduce input-delay as much as possible to fully enjoy that gaming-on-the-go experience. The Rotor Riot does a great job at getting that latency as low as possible. If you are looking to play any games locally off of your device, you will simply enjoy the kind of no-lag experience that Bluetooth connectivity is continuing to strive for.
If you love playing shooters and platformers, the Rotor Riot was built for you. It handles those game genres exceptionally well. If you are into fighting games as much as I am, know that you will need some time to get used to that D-Pad, especially if your fighting game employs the kind of traditional command inputs that a “Street Fighter” style of game has. Once you get over that learning curve, the D-pad is plenty serviceable.
All of that said, the Rotor Riot is still a very respectable product for any gamer on the go. At $49.99 the controller is very approachable for its no-latency input and its traditional “Xbox” feel. If you are looking into an Android gaming solution, and the Rotor Riot Android Controller has peaked your interests, you can buy one for yourself by clicking here.
† As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a Rotor Riot Android Controller for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.