iOn iCade Core – For the Kid in You!
Ion iCade Core – For the Kid in You!
Star Rating: 9/10
Boy oh boy did I have a lot of fun reviewing this one! The Ion iCade Core for iPad brought me back to when I was a kid playing Atari with my dad. Being the last of Generation X I grew up on Atari then later the original Nintendo console (gosh but I was in love with Mario Bros!) and later again the Gameboy. As such this brought back a whole lot of fun memories. If you were ever into any of these consoles, the old arcade table top video games or any arcade style machine you are going to just love the Ion iCade Core.
To test this little guy out I purchased the unlocked version of the Activision Anthology app. This gave me access to old favourites like Pit Fall, Stampede and River Raid, but there are so many to choose from going back to old favourites up to new entrants. A full list of compatible apps is available at www.ionaudio.com/icadegames and there are hundreds and hundreds to choose from as many of the apps are collections of multiple games.
The iCade itself is a really good mimic of the old arcade games having a good size joystick and 8 buttons in the classic size, shape and outlay. The joystick has a metal shaft and a solid plastic and metal head, the buttons are all spring loaded and it has non-slip feet on the base so even when you’re getting really enthusiastic you have no fear of anything breaking or flying off the table. It all feels beautifully solid and well made despite the surround only being a light plastic.
The stand part of the housing where your iPad sits allows for both portrait and landscape orientation as suits the particular game you’re playing. Being a stickler for little details I also really appreciated that there was a little cutaway in the middle of the stand to allow you access to the home key on your iPad when using in portrait orientation. This means you don’t have to pull the iPad out to change games etc. As Apple knows, it’s the little things right? ;)
Setting it up and connecting the iCade to the iPad was pretty straightforward as it just connects using Bluetooth. If you have any dramas however Ion has a tech support section to their website that has troubleshooting guides and video tutorials available so you have plenty of support at your fingertips.
The iCade really delivers a full arcade game experience. I tried using the games without the iCade and whilst most were still playable it just wasn’t the same as using the joystick and buttons and you simply couldn’t move as quickly or as accurately without them.
The construct is nice and solid and as previously mentioned, even if you’re going hammer and tongs on the buttons in the throws of playing Laser Blast or Plaque Attack, you don’t feel like anything is likely to break or succumb to the woes of wear.
Despite the solid construction the console is still really light and would be readily transportable if you want to take it to a friend’s place to play 2-player games. The price point is also quite friendly in my opinion at $115 shipped straight to your door.
Whilst there really isn’t too much to put into the negative category it would be great if the console had an adjustable angle for the iPad stand. I found I needed to pop my chair down lower than usual so I could still easily see the screen. To be totally frank though this just really made me feel more like a typical kid playing a standup arcade game!
It would also be nice if you didn’t have to take your iPad out of its case. Users that have very slimline cases won’t find this a problem but those with folio style or heavy duty thick cases will probably find they need to remove it.
In summary this really is a product for just about anyone. For adults this will bring the kid in you out again and you will love taking that trip down memory lane back to the days when everything was pixelated and simple 2-3 controller points. For the younger generation you’ll have just as much fun as I think most will agree, arcade games are just plain old addicitive! This is a purchase no-one will regret, go for it and have a ball!