PowerA’s $99.99 Fusion Pro for Nintendo Switch is made for gamers who want a more customizable controller. It’s more like Microsoft’s Xbox Elite than Nintendo’s Switch Pro gamepad, and you can physically swap out a few components to better suit your preferences. For example, if you don’t like the feel of the Fusion Pro’s analog sticks out of the box, you can replace them. The zip-up case shipped includes 2 extra sticks. In addition to the two standard sticks, there’s a much larger concave stick and a smooth, convex stick that feels like something you’d find in an arcade. rod.
Customization doesn’t stop there. Fusion Pro also supports interchangeable faceplates. The default white plate has a matte texture and feels similar to many other controllers, but the black plate has a smoother texture that blends more seamlessly with the Fusion Pro’s rubber-coated grips. The Fusion Pro is slightly larger than the Nintendo Switch Pro, but it doesn’t deviate significantly in terms of ergonomics and layout. It connects wirelessly and is as reliable as the controllers made by Nintendo when it comes to long battery life, like PowerA’s smaller Nano Enhanced controller we reviewed last year. The PowerA requires up to 20 hours per charge and has no problem meeting that metric. This controller includes a 9.8ft USB-A to USB-C cable for charging or playing in wired USB mode (the switch on the back of the Fusion Pro toggles between wireless and wired modes).
The real highlight of the Fusion Pro is on the back and up to four mappable paddles can be installed in a removable module called a “Pro Pack” that snaps onto it. Up to four controller functions (excluding analog motion) can be mapped to the paddle, making Fusion Pro more customizable and accessible than other controllers built for the Switch. However, the module is optional. It’s easily turned off if you don’t want it from the controller.
Fusion Pro’s rear paddles have been useful in games with complex controls such as: Monster Hunter: Ryze. Even in a simple game, it can sometimes be nice to rely on paddles rather than pressing a button or two. I enjoyed drifting in the corner mario kart 8 deluxe Instead of pressing shoulder buttons, with paddles.
Assigning functions to paddles is simple. There is a dedicated button on the back of the controller to program each paddle and you must hold it down for 3 seconds until the LED on the front of the controller lights up. Then tap the button you want to remap, then tap the paddle you want to assign. Not only are paddles great for simplifying controller layouts, they can be helpful to some people from an accessibility standpoint.
Fusion Pro gives you a lot of utility, but it’s not particularly cheap. At $100, it’s $30 more expensive than Nintendo’s own Switch Pro controller. It’s worth buying for those looking for a few extra levels of customization, especially since the price doesn’t go up significantly compared to Nintendo’s Switch Pro controller. However, it is missing some important features that some people may not be ready to cut, and features Nintendo’s Pro controllers have.
Fusion Pro has no vibration and no NFC chip to read Amiibo cards and pictures in games that support that feature. These omissions are common with third-party controllers, but it’s a good idea to include them in a controller at this price. At first I was happy with the fact that the Fusion Pro had a 3.5mm audio jack, but that only faded when I realized that it was only available when wired to the switch dock using the included cable. It would be nice to be able to replace the directional pad with another pad accepted by Microsoft’s Xbox Elite controller.
Fusion Pro is not a perfect all-in-one replacement for the Switch Pro controller, and most people wouldn’t recommend buying it if their needs are already met. However, despite its flaws, the deep level of customization it provides is attractive enough if you want or need custom control on your Switch.
Photo: Cameron Faulkner / The Verge