To be honest, there are not that many good options when it comes to third-party controllers that work with multiple systems. Back in the early days (I’m talking the PlayStation/PlayStation 2 era) there were a lot of cheap options available when it came to third party controllers, but with more modern generations, there is just not that many companies trying to make something for any of the consoles, let along make something that can work across a few different types.
8BitDo, well known for making retro console controllers as well as controllers that work with PC emulation, has come forward with the SN30+ PRO 2 controller which gives excellent and easy compatibility with not only PC games, but also MAC (Ewww, who games on MAC?), Android Phones, and Nintendo Switch!
So what do you get with the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller? Well, that’s very simple, you get a controller and a USB Type-C cable… and that’s it.
Ok, ok. I know you tech-head want something more than that when it comes to the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller. So, as usual, I’ve included all those lovely technical specifics that you love to read and argue over.
So, what does all this mean? It means you get a damn good product is what it means. The 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller is a phenomenal controller that I can easily hook up to my Nintendo Switch or PC via Bluetooth and get it running with just about everything from emulation programs, to RetroArch, Steam games, and much more.
A great all-in-one solution
The 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller is one of those controllers that you think would just be some attempt to just throw something together that will work but is made on the cheap, but nope, the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller is one of those amazing controllers that rivals the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X controllers in terms of quality of not only the build of the physical controller but the internal build too, which delivers some of the tightest movement I’ve ever seen from a third party controller ever.
Starting with the physical build of the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller, you’ll first notice that the controller is textured in a way that makes the controller non-slip, much like the PlayStation 5 controller. Next, you’ll notice that the layout of the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller is a weird mix of the original Super Nintendo face layout with the extensions made popular with PlayStation controllers since the PlayStation. You’ll be presented with two control sticks, both with press-in context buttons, a basic control pad, start/select buttons, and the now traditional 4 face buttons that are presented in the classic Nintendo configuration. However, the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller has two additional buttons in the underside of the controller that acts as additional trigger buttons, much like the ones you would find on an Xbox Elite controller, and they function much in the same way.
For those of you who like to tweak settings, you can download the 8BitDo Ultimate Software from the 8BitDo website or on your Android phone, and mess around with everything from the sensitivity of the controller, to making macros for the additional buttons, and more. Since I’m one of those types of people who adapts to their environment instead of making their environment adapt to them, I didn’t do too much when it came to changing settings here, and when I did I found myself reverting them back since the default settings are exceptionally well-tuned and don’t need tweaking at all in my opinion.
When it came to testing the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller, I did so with the two main systems I wanted to use: my PC and Nintendo Switch.
With my PC I tried a couple of games, one from Steam and an Emulation program. The Steam game I tried it with was Resident Evil Village, which I recently purchased after reviewing the PlayStation 5 version and wanted to see the difference. Since Resident Evil Village is a more action-heavy game, I felt it was perfect to test the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller with and to be honest, I was very impressed. Since the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller uses X-Input when working with PC and Steam, it pretty much emulates an Xbox Controller, meaning that it works really well with the default Microsoft controller drivers giving some really nice tight inputs that work well with split-second timing shooting and movement, I’m probably going to go back into Call of Duty and give that a second try with the controller to see if it helps me at all… Though my lack of skills might hinder the performance.
With the Emulation program, I have been on a bit of a PlayStation 2 kick with Mortal Kombat games, so I used the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller with the PCSX2 software and played some Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. After a little bit of remapping in the PCSX2 software, the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller worked like a dream. Since the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller is built very well and pretty much designed for retro gaming first and foremost, to say that it worked really well is an understatement. The 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller actually works better through emulation than the PlayStation 2 controller does with the original console.
The other thing, as I said before, that I did was use the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller with my Nintendo Switch, which is one of the best reasons you can have to buy this controller. Not only does the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller work as a third-party wireless controller, something that many third-party developers don’t do, but it’s on-par, if not better, than the official Nintendo Switch Pro controller. I know I’ve said this a few times now, but thanks to the way the controller is built, with tight controls, you’ll be playing many Nintendo Switch games with the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller over anything else you will own. I played a bunch of Switch games with the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller in order to see how well it worked in different environments. I started out with Mario Kart, a great party game that is played often in my home, and the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller did not disappoint, with everything from drifting to snaking possible with the controller with ease. Next was Bayonetta, trying a lot of quick timed movements in an action setting, and I was activating Witch Time with no problems from the first scene to the last. I also played Super Smash Bros Ultimate since it needs a precise button pressed and multiple combinations in order to put on a good fight, and once again, no problems here. The last game I played with the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller was New Pokemon Snap (which you can see a review of here, or read here), and thank god I did! Using the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller is the only way I would play New Pokemon Snap as the official Joycons feel too slow after using the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller.
Works really well… but…
The 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller is a really good controller, however, I have a couple of tiny gripes about it. The first one is the lack of a dedicated on/off switch, which is replaced by the start button. With some games needing you to hold the start button in order to do some codes (Like Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo from the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection) and it would cause the controller to disconnect, meaning you have to exit the game and resync the controller all over again in order to get it to work again. The second is the Bluetooth connectivity to begin with, which very handy, having to go through about 5 or more steps in order to get the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller working every… single… time… is just off-putting. It would be nice if the controller was able to remember previous connections and just sync up automatically, especially on Nintendo Switch.
The other thing that annoyed me, to the point where I didn’t bother testing the settings on the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller, is the lack of even a basic frame attachment for Android phones. Since mobile gaming is becoming more popular, and streaming from the mainstream consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are increasing due to better mobile networks and overall phone technology, you’d think that giving a basic level mount would a good thing, even the Razor Kaiju Controller (for as bad as that was) included a decent frame for the same price, but 8BitDo want you to drop another AUD$20 for a mount for your phone, which is a shame since the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller is an amazing controller that would be great to corner the mobile market with.
My minor gripes aside, and they are minor, I cannot recommend the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller highly enough. The controller itself is built in a way that rivals official products, and the internals are so good that they actually are leagues above the rest in terms of third-party controllers, and even the official Nintendo Switch controllers too. If you see one of these available in your local gaming accessory store, do yourself a favor and pick up the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller. You won’t be disappointed.
Review Disclosure Statement: 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller was provided to us by Double Jump/Bluemouth for review purposes. For more information on how we conduct and handle reviews here, please visit our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info. Thank you
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The 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller is one of the best third-party controllers that you can get your hands on. Working extremely well with everything it says it works with on the box, so much so that the 8BitDo SN30+ PRO 2 Controller rivals some official controllers in how well it works.
- Very well built inside and out
- The textured controller is great
- Works well with everything it says it works with
- No dedicated on/off power button
- The Bluetooth connection gets tedious
- Have to pay extra for a mobile phone mount