Adroit Switchblade 2 Controller Review: A do-it-all controller for disabled gamers
I had recently written a follow-up post about innovative controller designs that suited disabled gamers, and I thought about featuring one that had really defined what accessible controllers meant, which brings us to the Adroit Switchblade 2 Controller Review. Let’s have a look at this great product, shall we?
Product Name: Adroit Switchblade 2
Developed by: EvilControllers and the Able Gamers Foundation
Recommended Store: EvilControllers.com
I had mentioned earlier that to make something accessible or considerate of those with impairments, it has to be designed in a way that is flexible enough to span the general needs to all impairments, but narrowed or channeled in such a way that it can truly cater to one, or a smaller number, or specific ones. There is no umbrella solution for all impairments, documented or not, and so designing something accessible needs a great amount of care.
Because of its ability to address both these design considerations, the Adroit Switchblade 2 happens to be one of the more ideal devices created for the purpose of accessible gaming. It is not the most aesthetically-pleasing at cursory value (essentially, it is a large black box), but what it leaves much desired in its look, it completely makes up for in its functions.
It’s only a box.. No, it’s not just a box!
The Adroit Switchblade boasts of 11 programmable jacks that work with any control switch that uses a 3.5mm jack. This allows the gamer to use a variety of switches to emulate buttons on a controller. For instance, you could use a combination of finger-button switches for each face button, while larger, round-button switches can manage the shoulder and trigger buttons. And since these jacks are programmable, you could essentially map different button combinations to suit the game you are playing.
The device also allows two options for thumbstick movements – you can either use a separate analog stick extension with CAT5 (these are connectors similar to what you would see from a network ethernet cable) or through 10 additional jacks strictly mapped for movement – this way, you can either connect analog sticks or more buttons/sticks/foot pedals. These connectivity options definitely come in handy as both the CAT5 and 3.5mm jacks are still very common and relevant connectors in our present times.
Above and beyond the box
The Adroit Switchblade also has configurable button settings to simulate additional button controls in different gaming scenarios – for instance, a Toggle allows a button to be rendered as “held down” – perfect for those who crouch/prone in FPS or if you want to charge Balrog’s Turn Punch in Street Fighter. The Turbo function, meanwhile, allows the button be considered as pressed rapidly (which helps if you wish to mash on your buttons). Finally, Multi-buttons allows for a single press of one button to simulate pressing 2 or more at the same time – perfect if you’re a fan of quickzoom sniping or command buffering.
Now let’s say you’re owning pretty well in an FPS game and are suddenly made to switch to a different genre like say, a strategy game – the controller settings are usually mapped differently in these games. Worry not! The Adroit Switchblade 2 allows the user to define 3 unique button mappings to make it easier to manage control settings for different games. This helps significantly as this prevents the user from constantly moving switches around to match a different game type. It’s letting the device match your needs and not the other way around.
Sounds amazing? Wait until you see how it’s used altogether! (thanks to William Donegan’s Youtube Channel for the link):
Believing in the box
I’m a firm believer in gaming for everyone – no matter the situation, any amazing gaming experience should accommodate people of varying ages as well as physical/mental disposition. And while I’m fortunate to have standard mobilities and thought processes as the next guy, I’ve seen my share of people with impairments trying to find a way to adhere to not only adhere to a standard control set, but to try enjoy the game they are playing at the same time. It’s truly challenging, yet definitively inspiring to see when people with impairments overcome them and excel in their field, especially gaming. Massive props go out to the people at Evil Controllers in partnering up with the Able Gamers for creating a device that suits any gamer, no matter the amount of mobility they have.
Having said that, it does take a significant amount of time to process an order for an Adroit Switchblade 2 – but this only because of the amount of complexity in order to create a completely accessible product. It’s also a tad on the expensive side at around the same price as an Xbox One, but completely justified by the amount of features that it allows for gamers with disabilities and impairments. In the grand scheme of things, the price is minimal compared to the value and overall enjoyment a gamer can have using this controller.
A device that makes future gaming hopes a little brighter
What I also hope for is that this doesn’t prove to be a hindrance for competitive gaming – there are tournaments that discourage the use of turbo buttons (or similar) as it puts an unfair advantage to the opposing player, so I hope there are possible workarounds in order to accommodate the use of something like an Adroit Switchblade 2 in tournaments.
I can already imagine the multiple possibilities that can be had with the Adroit Switchblade 2. The lineup of games on the site are mostly shooters, but I can essentially play Street Fighter (yes, it’s obvious that I’m a fighting game fan!) using foot pedals for movement and large, rounded buttons for attacks. And while for me I can see endless possibilities, for gamers with disabilities, there are endless possibilities for enjoyment. I highly recommend this product, which you can find at the Evil Controllers website. With that, I hope that controllers like these will continue to see the light of day and provide all gamers with a chance to control their gaming experience.
I hope you guys liked this review. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to write them in the comment section below, and I will do my best to respond the soonest.