The Razer Kishi is Razer‘s latest smartphone gamepad, with the Junglecat now getting fairly aged. At first glance, the Kishi looks quite like a premium gamepad, with sturdy build, many wonderful buttons and has a complementary application that works as a game launcher.
The Kishi solves one of the biggest problems with the Junglecat, namely compatible with a large range of Android and iOS models so long it has a USB-C port. It still suffers from incompatibility with the games themselves, however, as not all titles can support the use of the gamepad. You can first download the Razer Kishi app to see if your favourite game is on the list; if it is, then you can expect a level of play like a console with the use of this peripheral.
DESIGN AND COMFORT
The Razer Kishi consists of the left and right gamepad, connected with an elastic band and supporting ‘plates’ attached to the back of the phone to ensure it stays secure. When not used, it can be packed up neatly in a cute, small box. The plastic body of the peripheral means it’s very light and won’t weigh down your phone, and you can slip it into your pocket once you’re done.
The left side has the analog thumbstick on the upper part and D-pad on the lower half, alongside the home button, function button and one each trigger and bumper. The right side has the same trigger and bumper, the analog thumbstick on the bottom, another function button and the X, Y, A and B buttons.
The right side of the Kishi also has a space for the speaker, the USB-C connector to attach the gamepad and the other USB-C port to charge the phone as you play. We’ve tried the peripheral on the Vivo Nex 3 and Realme X2 Pro, and at neither point did the attachment feel loose, so no worries about it falling off your own phone.
These gaming pad peripherals often ask you to set your keys on screen, but the Razer Kishi already has its own controls in the peripheral itself, so all you need to do is clip it on. The Razer Kishi companion app includes a list of compatible games, including many popular titles such as:
- Dead Trigger
- Bully: Anniversary Edition
- Dead Effect
- Rules of Survival
- Secret of Mana
- Soul Knight
- ARK: Survival Evolved
- Final Fantasy IX
- Metal Slug
- Asphalt 8: Airborne
- Need for Speed Most Wanted
- Real Racing 3
- and more
You can also install the games from the Kishi app so you don’t have to go looking for them again. The control scheme is good, but they don’t quite sync up even with these highly popular titles. PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang all don’t run with the gamepad, and there’s no way for you to configure the keys yourself which can be quite disappointing.
However, they are at work adding new compatible titles to the list, and it’s possible that Razer will eventually add in configuration options. It only makes economic sense, after all, to make the Kishi the choice of attachment for smartphone gamers! The Kishi also works with certain game streaming services, such as Google Stadia, Microsoft Project xCloud and Nvidia GeForce Now.
The key mapping can be a little confusing, as no manual or tutorial is provided, so you’d have to test it out by feel. Fortunately, many game tutorials have the keys mapped accordingly to match the gamepad. While Rules of Survival is a supported game, there isn’t actually a button to swap weapons and requires you to use your phone’s screen, which seems like quite a massive oversight.
Otherwise, the gamepad works as advertised, feeling more like a console gaming experience. With the gyroscope feature, it truly shines in racing games like Asphalt, playing as though you were using a steering wheel instead. The build as a whole is very sturdy, so you can kinda just button mash and have it in a death grip with nary an issue.
The Razer Kishi improves and solves a lot of issues previous gamepad peripherals for smartphones have had, be it Razer’s own or other companies. The dual joysticks can be used for a whole range of games, can be attached to a large lists of devices, and the plug and play nature of the gamepad means there’s no need to mess around with hot keys for every game.
It still lacks proper support for a lot of games, but hopefully the updates will be rolling out sooner rather than later. There’s still plenty of other titles listed as compatible on the Razer Kishi app, so if you want to up your game, then you won’t go wrong with the Razer Kishi.