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 ANDROID HARDWARE REVIEW
Green Throttle
Stuck in park
 
 Handset: Green Throttle 
 Manufacturer: Green Throttle Games 
by Mark Brown
Don't call the Green Throttle an Android controller.

I mean, it's quite literally a Bluetooth pad that hooks up to Android-powered devices and can be used to control games. But that's not quite what Green Throttle is going for.

Instead, it's offering something closer to dedicated consoles like Ouya or GameStick - only your current Android phone or tablet acts as the go-between for the controller and your TV. (You can play on your device's screen, if you wish).

In practice, this means two things. One - you get an HDMI lead in the box. Two - instead of the peripheral being compatible with random games here and there, all compatible games can be found on, and launched from, a dedicated Green Throttle Arena app.

GreenThrottle

Let's get compatible

To say "all compatible games" might give the impression of there being armfuls of games that will work with this thing. That's far from the truth - in reality, there are eight apps you can currently play. Eight.

There are five games that have been built or commissioned by Green Throttle itself, and they are absolutely horrid. They are miserable student-level software - App Store scraps that look like they were churned out in an afternoon.

There's Crystal Swarm, a brainless twin-stick shooter; and Coral Combat, an underwater space invaders. These two do work with two controllers on the same device and TV, at least.

There's also Fish Tails, an uncontrollable endless-runner; Blocks Party, someone's first ever attempt at 3D graphics; and a lousy multiplayer shooter called Freefall Tournament (only notable for showing you that the analogue sticks might actually work in a shooter).

There are three third-party compatible games. A snowboarding game called APO Snow, the great The Bard's Tale, and Orange Pixel's retro-style shooter Gunslugs (which is fab, but the interface flickers like a strobe light every time you press a button).

GreenThrottle

Control me

The controller itself isn't much more successful. It's a slightly cheap and tacky knock-off of the Xbox 360 controller. The triggers are a little squishy, the bumpers are a little clicky, the face buttons are a little plasticky, and the less said about the D-pad the better.

But it feels good in the hand (the whole thing feels very similar to the OnLive controller, if you ever wrapped your digits around one of those) and the analogue sticks are serviceable.

It's a perfectly usable controller, if not particularly well put-together. At any rate, it was ten times easier to play Gunslugs on this than on an iPhone.

I have suffered some Bluetooth issues, though. It pairs without hassle, but trying to connect it again once it has been turned off is a nightmare. I've had to manually re-pair it nearly every time.

GreenThrottle

What's next?

Green Throttle has potential, though. The controller is above average for an Android pad, and the idea of grouping together all compatible games in a separate app is a really good one.

But if you buy one right now - and you can, in the US at least - you will be disappointed and $30 poorer.

More games are coming, of course. Green Throttle has tapped Hungry Moose Games, a Canadian studio started by ex-BioWare developers, for example. And the official app promises, among other things, an action-RPG and a platformer.

But until it works with some big name games (Dead Trigger and Modern Combat would be a good start), its just a very expensive way to play Gunslugs.
 

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 7 May 2013
Green Throttle is a smart idea, but it needs some more time in the oven. Wait until its game library triples before shelling out
  GREEN THROTTLE
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 [READERS' RATING] N/A 
Specs Size6 inches x 2.5 inches x 4.2 inches
Weight1 pound
Battery2 AA batteries
Controls/buttonsFour face buttons, d-pad, two analogue sticks, four shoulder buttons, back and start buttons, sync button
Input/OutputBluetooth
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