Let me preface this by saying that I am largely a traditionalist. For me, the best kinds of video games are the ones where I can slump into my couch with a regular controller, letting my thumbs do all the work on the control stick, d-pad, and face buttons. However, I still want to be able to see the screen.
And that’s the fundamental issue against the Fling mini by Ten One Design. Now shipping, the iPhone accessory is designed to provide you with tactile control for those touchscreen games. You get a dual thumbstick-like configuration with actual thumbstick-like controls, rather than swiping your finger around virtual circles on the screen.
The trouble is, as you can quite clearly see, it obscures about half of the screen. For me, that has always been one of the pitfalls of gaming on a touchscreen. Too many developers are trying to implement conventional-looking controls on a clearly non-conventional platform. And that’s why games developed specifically for touchscreens, like Angry Birds and Fruit Slice, work so much better.
If you absolutely must have a physical knob on your iPhone or iPod touch, the Fling mini is shipping now as a two-pack for $24.95.