Nintendo64EVER - Article Hori Pad Mini by Zestorm for Nintendo64EVER
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Hori Pad Mini

Hori Pad Mini

Hori Pad packaging

The Hori Pad Mini is probably one of the most distinctive of the controllers being reviewed. It is much smaller than the official Nintendo 64 controller, as you can see from the comparison shots, and you'll probably have noticed that the middle prong of the official controller is missing from the Hori pad. The other main changes are; the d-pad is smaller, the analogue stick is larger and a different style, the face of the controller has the buttons much closer together, the L and R buttons are smaller, there's two z-buttons which have been repositioned under L & R and the controller isn't as wide as the official one. That nearly covers all the differences, except for the nicely sculpted Nintendo 64 and Hori logos. And just like the official controller, the Pad Mini comes in a wide variety of colors.

I quite like the feel of the Hori controller, although the different button layout takes a while to get used to. There's no turbo buttons but I don't think they would have fitted on the controller and I personally don't miss them.

The main reason most people seem to want the Hori Pad Mini is because of the analogue stick which isn't as prone to wear as some other N64 controller designs (including the official controller). Although I've personally not experienced any real difficulty with the sensitivity of the analogue stick, it is noticably more sensitive than Nintendo's official control stick. The Hori's analogue control does seem to split opinion though, and I would recommend that you read floorcat's review on Nintendo 64 Forever as well as my own before deciding to buy this controller.

As previously mentioned there are two Z buttons that are placed under the L and R buttons. Because they removed the middle prong of the official design Hori had no option but to relocate the z button and, sadly, the new location of the z buttons isn't as good. Both are uncomfortably close to either L or R and both have completely lost the "trigger" feel which the z-button normally has. Using the right z button when aiming is useless as you inadvertantly move your thumb (and the control stick) and end up missing your target. This means that the right z button is pretty useless for shooters although it can be used more effectively in other styles of game. The left z trigger doesn't suffer from the same problem but it can still take a while to get used to it's new placement. At first you'll find yourself pressing L or R when you mean to press Z, which can be annoying, but you will get used to the new layout if you practice.

Some of the button on the Hori Pad Mini do feel like they have been shoe-horned into the controller. A and B are both very close to the d-pad which can cause frustration sometimes if you hit the d-pad by accident. The start button is smaller so that it fits comfortably into the smaller pad but I still prefer the original design to the start button on the Hori controller.

The overall quality of the pad is good although there's a little bit of sideways movement in the buttons. This doesn't have a big affect on gameplay unless you're using the d-pad, which is rubbish in comparison with the official controller. It is disappointing that a controller which has been officially licensed controller by Nintendo has loose buttons like these. Apart from that, the controller feels well built.

Something that I've not touched on in any of my other reviews is price. The Hori Pad Mini is very desirable and commands a high price on auction sites such as ebay. If you're looking to find a Hori Pad Mini you will need to pay more than you would for most other N64 controllers; for the same price you could probably buy at least two excellent condition official Nintendo 64 controllers. The Hori pad is more exclusive, but not necessarily a better controller than Nintendo's own design.

Although the Hori Pad Mini isn't perfect it obviously influenced Nintendo because they incorporated a lot of it's features into the Gamecube controller, as you can see from the images linked to below. Comparisons with the official N64 controller are also shown.

The Hori Pad Mini has both good and bad elements to its design. Whilst the analogue is more durable it is also more sensitive. The compact design might be better for people with smaller hands but some of the buttons are simply too close together to get the best use from them. And whilst it's more exclusive it also much more expensive than most N64 controllers. But there's no denying that the Hori Pad Mini is a good controller, certainly one of the better third party N64 controllers. Whether it is worth the extra expense is something that you can only decide after you've spent enough time with the controller to get used to both it's good and bad.

Hori pad mini Orange

Overall: 7.5 out of 10 - The stick is more sensitive and durable than the official controller but some of the buttons are just too close together... and the d-pad isn't good.



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