We review GamePro for Android, a retro gaming app
Regular readers of Know Your Mobile will be aware that we’re massive retro gaming fans and welcome the flood of emulators available on the Android Market.
However, there’s no escaping the fact that pretty much every Android handset – with the possible exception of the Motorola DEXT – boasts an interface that is hopelessly unsuited to gaming.
The main problem is with touch-screen handsets that lack a physical keyboard; although virtual controls are becoming commonplace in modern mobile games it’s impossible to shake the feeling of dissatisfaction with their overall performance.
GamePro is an app which attempts to eradicate this issue by allowing Android users to connect traditional gamepads to their phones and thereby enjoy these retro classics in the manner they were intended.
Using a Bluetooth connection the app links your phone with a compatible controller which is then able to map various keyboard commands to each of its buttons. The end result is near-flawless control over your gaming.
At the moment only two pads are able to perform this task – the MSI BGP100 and the Zeemote GS1. The latter isn’t ideal for retro gaming as it lacks buttons and uses an analogue stick, but the former fares much better, despite its awkward shape. It’s this pad that we used to put GamePro through its paces.
Already you will have noticed that GamePro comes with a huge caveat – merely owning the app isn’t going to get you on the road to gaming nirvana.
You’ll need to purchase a BGP100 pad and these can only be obtained from selected importers in the Far East. They retail for around £20, including shipping to the UK.
That’s not the only cost you’ll incur. While the GamePro app is free to download on the Android Market, you must purchase a registration code in order to get it to function properly.
This code is generated by sending the developer your pad’s unique Bluetooth ID and therefore cannot be fabricated or used with multiple devices.
If you’re willing to overcome these barriers to entry then you’re in for a treat.
The BGP100 doesn’t feel particularly sturdy but it performs admirably. The process of mapping the buttons is handled by GamePro itself and you can create multiple profiles if you find yourself switching configurations as you move between games.
Of course the pad’s appeal isn’t just restricted to retro titles. Any app which supports keyboard control can be interacted with via GamePro and a Bluetooth joypad.
There’s no denying that a little bit of a dedication is required to get the most out of this app.
It costs a lot of money to unlock it and then you have to ensure you’ve got a compatible Bluetooth pad to hand, which bumps up the cost even further.
With several apps hitting the market that allow users to connect up Nintendo Wii Remotes (which also use a Bluetooth connection) competition is getting fierce, but for the moment GamePro remains a solid choice for those avid players who want to turn their Android phones into fully-fledged gaming platforms.