Review: PDP Pikmin REALMz wireless controller for switch – cute, but hardly the Pik of the bunch

PDP Pikmin Clover Patch REALMz wireless controller
Image: Jim Norman / Nintendo Life

Third-party Switch pads can be difficult to compare to Nintendo’s official offerings. The problem is that the Pro Controller comes with so many features that it feels like something is missing as soon as we play without them.

Motion controls, HD rumble, built-in NFC amiibo reader, 40 hours of battery life. It’s a pretty enviable list, isn’t it? One thing the Pro Controller doesn’t offer, however, is a new figurine in the handle. This is the category in which PDP’s REALMz Wireless Controller triumphs. It just so happens that it’s the only category in which this third-party option wins.

PDP’s ‘Pikmin Clover Patch’ variant of the REALMz range is undoubtedly a nice look, one that we can proudly see in any Pikmin collection, but in practice it leaves a lot to be desired. Those looking for something fun to put on the shelf and/or to give to a younger sibling during co-op play will find a lot to like here. However, those looking for a good, versatile controller for further play should leave this shoot in the ground.

Starting with the obvious: the Pikmin REALMz controller is easy on the eyes. Adorned with Pikmin paraphernalia on three different levels, the design has real depth and uses the translucent case to really bring the inhabitants of PNF-404 to life. Of course, the red Pikmin collectible statue in the left handle is the star of the show (even though it exudes all the vibe of the amber-captured mosquito from Jurassic Park), turning what could otherwise have been a sweet but boring shamrock aesthetic into something truly exciting to look at.

While we only got our hands on the Pikmin model, the REALMz line also offers designs featuring Sonic the Hedgehog and Transformers. Both alternatives also offer a wired option, although the Pikmin version is wireless-only – a welcome decision if you ask us.

When you turn the pad over, the transparent housing reveals the internal workings of the controller. It’s true, this design may not be to everyone’s taste, but it still entices’Ooh‘ And ‘Aaaah‘ from those of us who enjoy looking through the ‘Atomic Purple’ plastic of a GBC in an attempt to understand its technical secrets.

The controller remains on the back and also houses two built-in LED lights. These aren’t quite the neon light show of Power A’s Lumectra controller (these two only glow warm white), but they can be programmed to four different settings to stay on or off or respond in different ways to button presses . It’s not something we particularly noticed while playing – we know the face buttons well enough by now that we don’t have to look at the controller as often anymore – but it’s a nice touch for those who want or will add an extra bit of spice. taking their collection display to the next level, we suppose.

PDP Pikmin Clover Patch REALMz wireless controller
Image: Jim Norman / Nintendo Life

Unfortunately, all these beautiful petals can’t hide the weak roots underneath. Compared to most other third-party offerings, REALMz’s feature list is lacking. Compared to Nintendo’s Pro Controller, it’s practically sterile. In typical PDP fashion, the controller offers no motion controls, no HD rumble, and no NFC support. To its credit, the battery life lasts 40 hours on a full charge, but with so many features missing, the gaming experience with this pad will be very different.

And it’s not like the controller is getting a significant discount to accommodate its limited features. With a suggested retail price of £44.99 / $59.99this comes in at just £15/$10 cheaper than Nintendo’s official offering. It is a cheaper alternative, but the difference feels like a small price to pay considering how much is missing.

Even in the hand, the REALMz Wireless Controller has its pitfalls. The face buttons feel clicky, the analog sticks have no grip (painful in particularly sweaty moments in the palm) and the super-light construction makes the whole thing feel fragile in a way that we just didn’t like – it’s about 87 grams lighter than the Pro Controller, according to our standard kitchen scales.

Of course, all this is a matter of personal preference. One thing that isn’t is how the +/- and Home/Screenshot button position has been swapped. We gave the controller a try during a recent playthrough of Hollow Knight (a game that requires frequent pressing of the ‘-‘ button to access Hallownest’s winding map) and our gallery was quickly flooded with rows of accidental screenshots. Changing button placement is something us gamers are used to – tell us you’ve never done something similar when moving from Switch to PlayStation/Xbox – but when every other controller on the system opts for one layout , it’s quite tricky to get muscle memory.

PDP Pikmin Clover Patch REALMz wireless controller – the verdict

Those looking for a great addition to their Pikmin collection need look no further than the REALMz Wireless Controller from PDP. The multi-layered design is a feast for the eyes and the LED lights are a nice addition for anyone looking for something extra. In almost every other respect, however, this is a disappointment. The lack of features for the price is REALMz’s biggest disappointment, but the controller’s lightweight design and clicky buttons do nothing to move things along. It’s a beautiful bud, but this sprout is only worth picking if you are absolutely sure you want the plant on the other side.

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PDP REALMz Switch wireless controller - Pikmin 4

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