For the most part virtual buttons on touch screen devices just don't work. Yes there are some exceptions, with games designed from the ground up with a touch interface in mind. And although exceptional, these games are few and far between. However many experiences are ported over to a variety of devices, and so therefore are not always optimised for certain platforms.
An adequate solution to this issue would be the implementation of dedicated gamepads for mobile devices. And although there have been several Bluetooth enabled add-ons of this nature for Android, Apple users have been left somewhat hanging. However I currently have in my hands the Gamevice. The Gamevice is a rectangular gamepad that can be attached to an Iphone 6, Ipad Mini or Ipad Air. Cosmetically the Gamevice resembles an Xbox One controller. There have been a few attachable gamepads of this nature in the past, but none as sleek or affordable. The creators of the Gamevice previously attempted to create a dedicated gaming tablet with a similar detachable gamepad, however they have since teamed up with Apple to target a broader consumer base.
The box itself conveys the high production values and amount of care that has gone into crafting such a product. From the glossy finish, to the stunning artwork. A nice addition to the product itself, are the beautifully designed collector cards that come packaged inside. As previously mentioned, the product looks like an Xbox One controller snapped in two. With a flimsy piece of rubber connecting each end. Its elegant design makes it very easy to see what needs to be plugged in and where it goes.
On the left hand side of the controller going down you have a small analogue thumb stick, the D-pad underneath and then below that is the battery life indicator. On the right side there is a second analogue stick, with four traditional face buttons below. All in all it's very similar to the configuration of an Xbox controller. At the bottom right hand corner there is a small pause button. Along the top of the device you'll find the R1/R2 and L1/L2 triggers. These triggers feel more like those on the PSOne rather than the Xbox One's. At the bottom of the device you'll find a usb port that both charges the Gamevice and your phone, and a head phone jack to immerse yourself fully in the experience. Unlike it's cheaper competitors The Gamevice is comfortable to hold for long gaming sessions, has a weighty feel to it, and each button feels appropriately responsive. Personally I found the Gamevice to be the best attachable gamepad around. However that doesn't mean it is entirely without flaw.
My biggest gripe is with Apple rather than the Gamevice itself. On the Android platform, devices similar to the Gamevice will work with most games. However due to Apple's tight restrictions, the Gamevice only works with software developed with the product in mind. The other issue I have is around pricing. At a stretch I might be willing to pay as much for this as I would an Xbox One or PS4 controller, which is around £40. However the Gamevice is priced at £75 for the IPhone model and a whopping £90 for the IPad model.
The Gamevice is an extremely cool piece of tech. It's responsive, sleek and well designed. But due to the limited amount of software it is currently compatible with and a lofty price point, I'd recommend grabbing a Vita if you want to play on the go.