In context: You are probably not liking being cooped up in your home during the coronavirus but, like most people, are trying to make the best of it. Hooking up your Switch to the big screen and challenging the family to a couple rounds of Mario Kart 8 can be a fun way to alleviate some of that stress and cabin fever associated with being locked down.
However, you might find yourself short a controller or two, depending on how many family members are wanting to get in on the action. Fortunately, app developer DeepBlue Labs has come up with a way to turn your Android phone into a makeshift Nintendo Joy-Con or Switch Pro Controller, complete with motion controls using the phone’s accelerometers.
Joy-Con Droid is an app available on the Google Play store that connects to the Switch via Bluetooth and turns the phone’s screen into a controller. The software uses the Bluetooth Human Interface Device profile, so the device must be running Android 9 Pie or later to work. There are a couple of other caveats to bear in mind as well.
For one, the app is in the “Public Alpha” stage, so there are liable to be a lot of bugs. Gizmodo notes one glitch that causes the device to unpair when going to the Switch Home screen to change games requiring you to set it up again. Some users have had luck mitigating this problem by physically connecting their phones to the Switch with a USB-C to USB-C cable.
The motion controls can be overly sensitive as well, but the biggest drawback is probably the lack of tactile buttons. If you have ever played a mobile game using onscreen controls, you already know it’s not nearly ideal. Add to that the fact that if you are playing on your TV, being able to feel button locations is crucial. You cannot just keep looking down to see if your thumb is in the right place.
That said, once DeepBlue has a final version with the bugs ironed out, Joy-Con Droid could serve as a viable solution for when you are in a pinch for a spare controller, like when your current Joy-Con is suffering from drift.