Tech Up! Snakebyte Multi:Playcon

By Michael McCann 30.10.2020 1

Pareidolia is defined as having an incorrect interpretation of an object or thing which has an already well-established meaning. A common occurrence example of this sensation is when someone will report seeing faces in cars, clouds, slices of bread or even video game controllers. There's something instinctual about this in humans; something that dates back to cavemen times and is possibly intrinsic to our very survival as a species. It's something that, ascertained in no more than a moment, can identify a potential friend from a potential foe. For the Snakebyte Multi:Playcon not only is it easy to see a face within the plastic contours of its own casing but it is also entirely possible that this is intentional by design. Novel and fun, it will turn a few heads at the school disco but beyond the jolly aesthetic, is there more to this budget third party double-pack? Cubed3 finds out.

Spooky! The controllers are being promoted as a pair of smashing, pumpkin themed, colour ways that can be purchased in time for a curtains-closed sesh over the Halloween period. As stated, they certainly do look the part. Along with a grinning visage, immediately the other thing that stands out is their miniature size. With compact dimensions and two in the box, it firmly pitches the Snakebyte Multi:Playcons as a cheaper Joycon alternative; That is to say, when those are detached from the console. The Snakebyte Multi:Playcon are roughly the same width as a Joycon turned sideways but also thicker and shaped better to fit in the hand. They're still very small and really light but they are unquestionably much more comfortable to hold for extended periods than the standard Joycons. The button placement is much more reasonable too.

Image for Tech Up! Snakebyte Multi:Playcon

The problems with this pair arise then when, funnily enough, attempting to pair them to your console. Upon beginning the task, it wasn't immediately apparent how to sync either of the Multi:Playcons to the Nintendo Switch. Sure, it can be forgiven for being not exactly foolproof but the process here could also be described as quite arcane. Compound this with the doubt of thinking that the controllers might be bricked (or worse, might brick your console!) after a pre-use firmware update, which is advised in the included documentation with the product. It is not a simple process at all. Firstly the 'mode' button and a push-in on the directional stick must both be depressed for 3 seconds, at the same time. The smiley face's teeth will light up and now the controller will be discoverable by the console. From there you must then navigate to the controller options and then the 'Change grip/order' section in the Switch OS. Bash the shoulder buttons and voilà! They are now ready to play… And then you count the face buttons on this controller... something which sadly the Multi:Playcons own instruction manual can't get right!

Image for Tech Up! Snakebyte Multi:Playcon

To be fair to these controllers, they have no fewer face buttons than the official Joycons, when those are detached. However, the lack of some buttons does seem a baffling decision as it limits the number of games the Multi:Playcons can be used with. A potential 'sell' would be to use these with the SNES and NES offerings on Switch Online except there's no way to back out to the game selection and only one of the controllers has a 'home' button. Oddly, the one extra button Snakebyte included, the 'mode' button, has the functionality of turning off the controller. If this button is pushed by accident during play, which is easily done due to controllers' small size, it requires having another controller at hand to go through the whole syncing process to pair the controllers again.

Image for Tech Up! Snakebyte Multi:Playcon

Some other functionality is missing such as the gyro controls and the IR camera. This is worth keeping in mind if the idea is to purchase these controllers for games like Super Mario Party or 1-2 Switch. However, neither of these features are essential and it is a decent trade-off for the reduced cost. With that cost in mind it is a welcome feature that both of these controllers have 'rumble' capability built in and is something that could have easily been left out to save cost.

The raison d'etre of these controllers, it seems, is intended to be for use specifically with games like Mario Kart 8: Deluxe and Super Smash Bro: Ultimate. They are aimed directly at either a younger clientele, or the parents of which, or for someone that is a couple of extra controllers short for a party. For this purpose, the Snakebyte Multi:Playcons are more than serviceable but they ultimately will place a handicap upon anyone that is Vs. a Pro Controller and trying to avoid a Falcon Punch.

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

It's hard to say what type of gamer the Snakebyte Multi:Playcons are recommended for. They are severely limited by their lack of face buttons and small size, which generally makes input imprecise. They can't be used with any device other than the Nintendo Switch. Getting them for younger players may make more sense, due to the official Joycons having a worryingly prohibitive price tag to then just hand them over to be battered about, but it must be said that syncing complications also deter this from seeming like the ideal answer. All criticisms aside, it is unfair not to limit expectations when taking the Multi:Playcons at face value. They are a budget alternative to the official Joycons and as a couple of extra multiplayer controllers they fare better as a recommendation. It is however a product that these trade-offs are hard not to keep in mind when in use.

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Comments

They look rather cheap, sadly... and sounds like that's exactly what they are, and a bit gimmicky. Shame.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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