Review: The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ Is an Elite Nintendo Switch Controller8BitDo’s M30 Gamepad Is the Ultimate Sega Genesis-Inspired Controller Stay on target 8Bitdo has made a name for itself by releasing high-quality retro-style controllers and arcade sticks. I honestly didn’t see how the company could top itself, but they’ve arguably done so with their upcoming product. First revealed during this year’s E3, 8Bitdo says the SN30 Pro Bluetooth Gamepad (and its counterpart, the SF30 Pro) is “the ultimate retro gaming controller.” That’s a bold claim, but after spending significant time with it, I’m going to (mostly) agree with this proclamation. The SN30 Pro is a great controller for those who want old-school design paired with modern functionality.Visually, the SN30 Pro and SF30 Pro gamepads take their cues from the classic Super Nintendo and Super Famicom controllers (respectively). However, they have current-day features which distinguish them from the controller they’re based on. Modern touches include two clickable analog sticks, four shoulder buttons, and wireless Bluetooth functionality. These additions make the controllers ideal for playing both classic and modern titles.If you’re familiar with 8Bitdo’s controllers then you may know it previously released a similar controller called the NES30 Pro. Like the SN30 Pro, this controller contains the layout of modern controllers. While the controller is certainly pleasing to the eye, I found its small size and thin analog sticks a turn off. I have big hands so the controller was, quite frankly, cumbersome to use. Everything about the SN30 Pro, from buttons to overall size, is larger, and therefore easier to use. The SN30 Pro outstrips the NES30 Pro in every way.AdChoices广告The original SNES controller was a sturdy peripheral that felt great to use. Its button layout and overall durability set the standard for all controllers that followed. Like that classic controller, the SN30 Pro is also a solidly built device. Its rounded edges make it quite comfortable to play. The analog sticks and face buttons have a satisfying amount of resistance when pressed, but not enough to make them hard on one’s fingers. The face buttons and d-pad are slightly higher than they are on the original SNES controller. This is to make room for the analog sticks. This takes some adjustment, but after a few minutes, the slightly higher placement becomes trivial.The face buttons, d-pad, and analog sticks impressed me, but I can’t say the same for the shoulder buttons. Because there are now four shoulder buttons, L and R are thinner than on the original SNES controller. It’s not exactly a detriment, but you do have to adjust the way you press these buttons because they’re so thin. The trigger buttons (L2 and R2) work fine, but since they were not on the SNES controller, they do feel slightly out of place. The thin size also makes the trigger buttons somewhat awkward to press. This is in no way a deal breaker, but it’s something I immediately noticed.The SN30 Pro is compatible with Windows, Nintendo Switch, Android, MacOS, and Steam. Pairing 8Bitdo controllers to devices has always been a painless process and the same applies with the SN30 Pro. If you follow the instructions (which come with the controller), you’re solid. If you don’t want to bother with pairing, you can always plug the controller into your PC, Mac, or Android device through the provided USB cable. There is no USB functionality for Nintendo Switch at the time of this writing.For my tests, I plugged the SN30 Pro controller into my PC and fired up Steam. I started off with 2016’s Doom to see how the controller handles a modern FPS game. For the most part, Doom worked great with the SN30 Pro. In order to survive, one needs to shoot precisely and move constantly. I never found myself fighting the controller. Every button press resulted in an immediate action. I was especially impressed with the responsiveness of the analog sticks. As great as the controller performed while playing Doom, my hands did feel slightly uncomfortable after about ten minutes because of how close the buttons are. I’m sure those with smaller hands won’t have an issue. However, I likely won’t play many FPS titles with this controller.I then tried Rise of the Tomb Raider. This proved a better experience than Doom since you don’t need to use the shoulder buttons much outside of combat. I was able to complete tricky platforming sections with little to no effort. While the controller isn’t ideal for FPS titles, action-adventure games seem to work well enough.I also tried a few classic games on my PC with the controller. I had absolutely no trouble playing NES and SNES games. In fact, I feel this controller is better suited for older games since they only require the use of the d-pad and face buttons. Playing games like Castlevania, Contra III, and Batman Returns made me realize just how great the d-pad is on the SN30 Pro. It is every bit as responsive as the d-pad for the SNES controller. I can easily spend hours playing old-school titles with this controller. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, I suppose.Finally, I tested the SN30 Pro with my Nintendo Switch. Without hesitation, I went straight into Super Mario Odyssey. Unlike Doom and (to a lesser extent) Rise of the Tomb Raider, playing Super Mario Odyssey with the SN30 was a near-flawless experience. I ran around the world and performed tricky jumps and stunts effortlessly. At no point did I feel hindered by the controller. While I still prefer playing Super Mario Odyssey with the Switch Pro Controller, the SN30 Pro did not disappoint. I was thoroughly impressed with how well the controller works on Switch.It’s clear 8Bitdo didn’t just toss in Nintendo Switch support as an afterthought. The SN30 Pro features a button to take pictures and another to return to Switch’s Home menu. It even has rumble support and motion controls just like the Joy-Cons and Pro Controller. This controller can easily serve as a primary controller for Switch. Current Switch games work great with the SN30 Pro, but I can only imagine what it’ll be like when the Virtual Console eventually arrives. This is the controller I want to use when playing Super Mario World, Super Metroid, and Donkey Kong Country.The only major gripe I have with the SN30 Pro is with its rumble functionality. While it certainly gives you additional feedback, I thought the rumble was underwhelming. For the lack of a better phrase, it felt cheap. Cheap like those old MadCatz rumble packs for Sega Dreamcast. Also, there is an annoying high-pitched sound released by the controller whenever it rumbles. This was most prominent during my Doom test, where every jump caused the controller to emit a slight chirp. I wish there was a way to customize how much (or how little) the controller rumbles. I’m glad rumble is in there, but its implementation was definitely lacking.Rumble issues and small shoulder buttons aside, my experience with the SN30 Pro controller was mostly pleasing. At $49.99, it is somewhat expensive. However, if you want to reconnect with your inner retro gamer while still holding onto the present, this controller is worth trying out. As before, I’m left wondering how 8Bitdo is going to top itself. This really is the pinnacle of retro controllers. But considering the company’s track record, it won’t surprise me when it drops a controller that outdoes this one.The 8Bitdo SN30 and SF30 Pro Bluetooth Gamepad go on sale on December 10.