One of the biggest drawbacks to playing first-person shooter, adventure, and driving games on the iPhone is your controls. You have to cover a great amount of the screen with your thumbs in order to control your character. This kills the immersive gaming experience for many players, myself included.
Enter Bladepad, a Kickstarter project that promises to turn your iPhone 4S, new iPad, and potentially the iPhone 5 when it comes out into a portable game console. It connects physically as a case, though data is transmitted using Bluetooth 4.0. For this reason, it doesn’t work with older iOS devices.
Bladepad is set up like a traditional console controller with two analog sticks, bumpers, a directional keypad, and four command buttons (X, Y, A, B). The applications for a controller like this on an iOS device are many, and I could only imagine this being an excellent platform on which more console-class games are built.
Controls on the iPhone are limited by the space on the screen. More controls means more covering of the screen by your thumbs as you navigate through the game. Having these controls set in a separate area of the device gives you full use of the screen real estate for more important content. If anything, it puts the iPhone on the level with the PlayStation Portable (PSP).
The build is quite interesting. It’s a combination of a protective case and a detachable gamepad. This means that you can carry your phone around with you as you normally would most of the day and attach the control pad when you want to use it. Alternatively, you can fold the gamepad into the back of the case when not in use so it’s at the ready whenever you want to get some gaming in during a break.
The Bladepad Kickstarter project is well under way, with rewards being offered ranging from a vote on which Android device the Bladepad should be made for first to a 100-pack of Bladepads. At $69, you’ll receive a Bladepad for either the iPhone 4S or the yet-to-be-announced iPhone 5.
The Bladepad is expected to ship with a dual power cable that charges both your iPhone and the controller (micro USB) at the same time. The Bladepad has a promised battery life of four hours. This compares to roughly two-and-a-half to four hours available on the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PS Vita.
Do you think you’ll be backing this project? What would be the ideal price point for a Bladepad once it hits stores?