If you want a Switch arcade stick with real arcade quality parts, there’s only one choice. In this corner, measuring 18.4 x 11.2 x 5.7 inches and weighing in at 6.5 pounds, HORI’s Real Arcade Pro V Hayabusa! 8bitdo has the N30 Switch arcade stick, which looks pretty nice, but it’s a small stick and does not have real arcade quality parts. If you already have a PS4 or XBO stick, I’ve heard the Brook adapters for XBO and PS4 to Wii U work on Switch. The RAP V is pretty pricey at $150, but I think you get what you pay for with the build quality.
The + button and 8 face buttons are 24mm and 30mm Hayabusa Matte Pushbuttons. They have round edges and a matte finish instead of the usual glossy finish. They are “short throw” buttons, which means that they are low profile and button presses register quicker than on the average button. The 30mm size means that they are standard size and can be replaced with buttons from other brands. The low profile of the buttons feels a little weird after playing with Sanwa buttons for so long, but they are responsive and feel pretty good now that I’m used to them. I don’t really know what the purpose of matte finish is, but they feel good. I guess it’s to make them less slippery. I’ve never had problems with slippery buttons, though.
On the right side of the stick there are 6 buttons for Home, Screenshots, -, L3, R3, and the Turbo function. These buttons are not in a great position. They are out of sight and their labeling is small and sideways. You probably won’t need to hit those buttons a lot in the kind of games you would use this stick with, though. I would prefer it if these buttons were on top of the stick, like on some of my Madcatz sticks. The stick doesn’t come with any instructions on how to use Turbo Mode, so I had to watch a YouTube video to learn how. First you hold down the Turbo button and then press the button you want turbo on. You can set it to use turbo on button presses or automatically. You can set turbo to the 8 main buttons, but not on +, -, or any of the side buttons. Weirdly enough, you can also put turbo on a direction on the d-pad.
Also on the side are 4 switches for switching between d-pad, left stick, and right stick, Switch and PC modes, and turning the Assign and Tournament functions on and off. Windows does recognize the stick as a controller when in Switch mode, but game compatibility is hit or miss. When in PC mode, Windows recognizes the stick as an Xbox 360 controller and worked fine with everything I tested it on. The only weird thing is that A, B, X, and Y are mapped to the buttons with the same label on the stick, so they’re all on the opposite side they would be on an Xbox 360 controller.
I tried using the stick on Wii and Wii U with no luck, but surprisingly, it works on PS3. All the buttons are mapped to the same position they would be in on a PlayStation controller, but the Home button doesn’t work, so you still need a PS3 controller for that. I have not tested it on a PS4.
The Assign function allows you to remap buttons on the stick. So, you could map L and R to A and B, for example. L and R would still be L and R; though, it doesn’t switch the buttons around. This mode is sort of confusing to use, since the stick doesn’t come with any instructions for it either, and when you flip the switch on, the LED for Turbo Mode lights up. I had to watch a video YouTube to find out how to use this too. The Tournament Mode switch just disables buttons like Home and +, so you can’t accidentally pause the game in the middle of a match at Evo and lose the round.
The joystick is a Hayabusa lever with a square gate. The Hayabusa lever is supposed to have 5-15% faster input than other sticks and it is noticeable. The stick will click and register an input with less tilt than a Sanwa lever. It really doesn’t feel that different when you’re actually playing, though.
There is a cable storage compartment in the front of the stick and it has a 10ft USB 2 cable. There is no wireless option, but you can use the stick with the Switch undocked using a USB to USB C adapter. However, since the USB C slot is on the bottom of the Switch, you can’t prop the Switch up with the kickstand when you have a cable plugged in.
There’s also 2 foam rubber pads on the bottom of the stick. I think they’re there more to prevent the stick from scratching any tables than to feel comfortable on your lap.
Some things missing from the stick are rumble and NFC. I’m fine with not having these things on a stick. I wouldn’t want these things driving the price up. I don’t think I would want a rumbling arcade stick either, and I can always use another controller to scan amiibos.
One annoying thing about the stick is that you can’t turn the system on or wake it from sleep with the stick. You can’t turn the system on from an off state with a Pro Controller either, but you can wake the system up with it. I also remember turning on my 360 with a stick, so I don’t get what the issue is. It must be a Switch specific thing. Since you can’t wake the system up with it, you’ll either have to use the power button on the system or turn it on with another controller and then switch the controller order in the options to make the stick player 1.
Another thing I don’t like is that the joystick and buttons are kind of low on the the stick. Since they are so low, the lower part of my hands usually ends up resting on the bevel and it can be a bit uncomfortable if I don’t adjust. I wish the joystick was a little higher, so that my wrist would naturally bend where the bevel starts.
The artwork on the stick is lame. It’s just red. Some of the text uses a metallic paint and that looks cool, and I like that they went with black buttons and balltop, but overall, it doesn’t look very interesting. You can always mod it with new plexiglass and custom art if you want, though. Websites like tek-innovations.com sell both the plexiglass and art printouts.
Overall, I like the stick. It has a long cable, the buttons and joystick feel good, and the Turbo function could be nice for some games. It’s annoying that I can’t wake the system up with it and a the plain red color is lame, but it’s nothing major. The most important thing is that I can finally play Switch games without using the horrible d-pad on the Pro Controller.