Third-Party Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Adds A D-Pad, Removes Other Features

Hori Joy-Con
(Image credit: Hori)

Third-party Joy-Con controllers haven't been frequently made for the Nintendo Switch. There have been plenty of third-party traditional controllers to replace the Pro Controller, but not the Joy-Cons... until now. The newest third-party Joy-Con controller adds a D-pad function but it also removes a bunch of other features.

Game Informer is reporting that Hori has a third-party Joy-Con that adds D-pad functionality to the controller, replacing the segregated four button setup on the left Joy-Con that works both as face buttons when used horizontally but double as a D-pad when either docked to the Nintendo Switch or used in the wireless controller dock.

The Hori Joy-Con features a fully functional D-pad in the traditional cross shape. You can press the buttons and access it just like a standard D-pad just under the left analog and above the screen capture button. The controller costs around $25, which is half the price of the standard Joy-Cons for the Switch.

Most gamers would probably think this is nothing short of a miracle, giving gamers a replacement Joy-Con complete with a fully functionality D-Pad.

As pointed out by Game Informer, however, the Joy-Con does not contain the same level of functionality as Nintendo's original Joy-Con.

For instance, the Hori Joy-Con can only function when it's attached to the Nintendo Switch. It does not have the motion-control functionality like the standard Joy-Con. In fact, you cannot use the Hori Joy-Con in the wireless mode nor can you use it with the wireless controller dock. This is likely a huge blow to the controller's functionality outside of using the Switch in portable mode.

For gamers hoping to use it wirelessly for games like Super Mario Odyssey or ARMS, you're also fresh out of luck. The Hori Joy-Con will not feature gyroscopic controls, nor does it contain accelerometers, nor does it have vibration functionality.

This means that you also can't use it for games like 1-2-Switch, which relies on the HD rumble functionality for some of the party based mini-games. Additionally, this also means that you won't be able to use the Joy-Con for certain games that rely on specific functionality outside of being attached to the Switch tablet. A perfect example of this is Nintendo Labo, which chiefly relies on the motion controls and gyroscopic abilities of the Joy-Cons.

Hori has plans on releasing its new D-pad Joy-Con controller this July in Japan. Given that Hori's other gamepads for the Nintendo Switch were made available for Western audiences, you can likely expect the Hori Joy-Con to launch in the West as well.

The bigger question is if it actually has a place in the marketplace? The current Joy-Con setup is pretty much fine as it is, but not really ergonomically advantageous during portable gameplay. The D-pad is the least of the worries. Adding a D-pad might make some gamers smile, but it comes at the expense of all the other functions present in the Joy-Con, which seems defeat the purpose a bit. Then again, it's only half the price of buying a brand new official Joy-Con, which clocks in at $50. So if price is a factor for you, then maybe the Hori option is better.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.