Written by Soon Kai Hong
I guess most of us are now at home. Be it work or play. And, if you’re like me, I’m almost always at my desk. But sometimes, I like to change up a little, maybe catch a movie on the TV in the living room, or game on the couch.
Today, we’re taking a look at something that’s.. not entirely new. It’s something that I personally own, and that’s the Razer Junglecat Mobile Gaming Controller.
At first glance, I think you can pretty much tell where Razer got inspiration from. When paired with the Razer Phone 2, it basically looks like a slightly more compact version of the Nintendo Switch. Even the way it attaches is pretty much the same.
But if your phone is not compatible with any of the cases that Razer provides, which I have to admit, was already old when it launched, Razer does provide a slim plastic divider, which you can slot the controllers onto, and it’ll mimic a standard gaming controller. But like, a really small one.
Of course, you do get the full assortment of buttons, down to the dual triggers, and even L3 and R3 on the joysticks itself. The buttons themselves feel clicky, so think of it as being more similar to those found on the Joy-Cons, than the Xbox One controller or the DualShock 4.
On the bottom of each controller, you’ll find the USB-C port along with the power switch, and to connect to your device, it uses Bluetooth. Simply turn both of them on, connect to either one of them on your smartphone, and the other controller will pair automatically. If the LEDs remain a static green, it’s connected.
Once paired, you can then use the Gamepad app from Razer, which lets you customize the layout, remap your buttons, and tweak the sensitivity. Included is also a Discovery tab, which is really useful for finding games that fully support the Junglecat.
Here, you’ll also find all the games you have installed in your smartphone, along with which are supported and which aren’t. For the games that aren’t supported, you can launch it with screen remapping via an overlay. Beware however, that you might get your account banned on certain games that don’t promote the use of a controller, and that not all games might work.
So, although this was designed with mobile games in mind, I personally found that the Junglecat shines most for Cloud Gaming with Steam Link.
With Steam Link, you can essentially stream almost any full-fledged desktop game right from your gaming desktop or laptop to your smartphone. With the Junglecat sporting the exact same button layout as an Xbox One controller, you’ll also not have to worry about remapping controls or the A and B button being swapped and what not.
Lately, I’ve been trying to clear some of my backlog games like Devil May Cry V, and honestly, playing it on my smartphone, with a controller set-up like that of a Nintendo Switch, yet with full-blown graphics, was just amazing.
Latency is also not an issue, with it being less than 20 milliseconds or so. Your inputs will feel just as snappy as if you’re on a wired connection.
Also, the Junglecat can work with both Android and PC. If you’re more a laptop gamer, this might be an interesting choice to consider, given its compact form factor.
We now talk about battery life, and it’s… great! Razer claims about a hundred hours of use on a single charge, and so far, I would say that those numbers are pretty on point.
Cloud gaming, in my opinion, is the best way to make full use of the Junglecat.
But of course, it’s not all great. There are some major downsides.
The first is that, if you don’t own any of the compatible phones for the cases provided, you won’t get that same physical experience like you would with a Nintendo Switch in handheld mode.
Secondly, the build quality of the cases provided is really lacklustre, and without the controllers attached, there’s little to no protection at all. So if you really do use the Junglecat, you’ll find yourself swapping cases every time you want to use it.
Thirdly, it has quite a premium price tag. Coming in at S$160, this is almost twice as expensive as your standard Xbox Controller, or DualShock 4, which, with a little software and tweaks, can function just like the Junglecat.
On that note, I have to mention that there are great alternatives at a much more affordable price, such as the Steelseries Stratus Series, GameVice, and even brands like GameSir or Beboncool and much more.
What’s more, most of what I just mentioned are compatible with almost any phone out there, which is a stark contrast from Razer. Though Razer does have the Kishi that’s coming soon.
So, I would say this. The Razer Junglecat does become an interesting option to consider, but only if it checks all the boxes that I’ve just mentioned, which are whether you’re more into cloud gaming, you have a compatible phone, and you’re willing to fork out that cash.
With that said, stay safe, stay well, and game as hard as you can.