I've always been fascinated by retro-style Nintendo Switch accessories. Given how important to the history of gaming peripherals Nintendo is, it’s no surprise that the ability to swap controllers in and out while using your Switch console opens up a vast world of new possibilities.
That's where the DOYOKY Wireless Joy-Con RETRO Game Controller steps in. Designed as a third-party tribute to the beloved and often underrated Gamecube controller, I’ve recently had the chance to try out this controller with my Switch.
As a result, I can confirm that it's going to take an awful lot for me to go back to Nintendo's official Joy-Con configuration, which is testament to just how good the DOYOKY controller is. It feels like premium hardware, handles directing the in-game action brilliantly, and invokes plenty of nostalgia in the meantime.
Right out of the box, the DOYOKY controller is incredibly customisable and easy to set up. Each of the thumbsticks is replaceable, with a more concrete circle-based thumbstick or a traditional Gamecube-inspired dot-style input available to attach to each side. They're a little bit fiddly to get on and off, so I ended up sticking with the default configuration. This particular arrangement allows you to maintain a very solid grip on the left toggle, which is mainly used for movement, and enjoy extra precision moving the camera with the left.
Speaking of the custom thumbsticks, their tips are around an inch beefier than those of the official Switch Joy-Cons, which was an unexpected blessing. I've always found the Switch's thumbsticks to be too small to afford much precision in FPS games, so having a wider berth to rest your finger on makes it much easier to nail movements and aiming.
In terms of setup, all you need to do is slot each half of the controller into the Switch, as you would with any other Joy-Con. They then remain paired even when detached, so you can either have them as part of the display or functioning as a separate wireless controller. There's a base connector upon which you can slot them when playing wirelessly, which also works as their charger, via a USB-C port. It's great to have this kind of variety at your disposal, with options available that can match whichever way you prefer to play, including via two separate Joy-Cons, which is something Nintendo's own Switch Gamecube controller doesn’t offer.
Setup and durability
During my time with the DOYOKY Wireless Joy-Con RETRO Game Controller, I mostly used it to play The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Given how much of the Zelda series’ history is linked to the Gamecube, it felt appropriate. The controller works perfectly for action games like this, providing a sturdier and more substantial base than the default Switch controller, as well as larger buttons that offer a more satisfying input to press down.
It does take some time to get used to the re-jigged button configuration, with the X and Y buttons positioned differently to traditional Switch controllers. Equally, the + and - buttons protrude significantly less than they do on Nintendo Joy-Cons, being almost flush with the rest of the controller, so you'll need to lean a little bit more than usual to hit pause.
However, these kinds of adjustments are to be expected when swapping over to a controller with a vastly different configuration, especially one with an A button that’s so large and a B button that’s significantly smaller in comparison. It felt like a trip down memory lane getting used to the retro scheme all over again. DOYOKY has nailed all the quirks of the original Gamecube gamepad, from the deep purple colour to the protrusions on the back of each handle, while also making important tweaks where needed. The slot-like triggers of the original are replaced by more easily clickable ZL and ZR buttons, which go much deeper than the official Joy-Con triggers, making shooter games much more intuitive to play and also providing a more solid overall experience across all genres.
As mentioned, I don't think I'll be going back to Nintendo's own Joy-Con controllers for a while after laying my hands on DOYOKY's take on the original Gamecube pad. Being able to have something that works both as a wireless controller and attachable input is a blessing, and I simply love having a piece of Nintendo history linked up directly to its current-gen console. For fans of retro gaming, it's a must-have piece of kit.