Finding A Weird Comfort As We Review The Joy-Con Gel Guards

Much like the Nintendo Wii before it, there's a pretty good chance that people are going to play with the Nintendo Switch's joy-cons and not use the wrist attachments. And while these things may not be enough to break a TV the way the Wii-motes did, we're pretty sure these will put a crack in the screen and you'll end up breaking one eventually. One of the products we got sent from PDP were these Joy-Con Gel Guards, which we're going to test out on our system and see how well they do.

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Your basic set is one set of guards for the left and right joy-cons, as well as two thumbstick caps for either side. The outside feels soft with a flexible kind of thin-layered rubber so that it's easy to slip on. There's really no resistance to putting them on from the controller, which si nice that it isn't a chore to add and remove them when necessary. If you look inside you'll notice that the base of each side has some additional padding for a raised bottom. This is done to offset the L/R-LZ/RZ buttons, as the Switch normally laying down has a slight slope to it from their positioning.

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When you actually put them on, there's spongy quality to them that's part of the no-slip grip they come with. It takes a little bit of getting used to as it feels nice on the hands but also feels super weird at times. If you're a frequent Switch player, you'll definitely notice it when you start gripping the console tighter. It's an awkward sensation that slips between feeling awesome and feeling uneasy. I definitely feel like the controller or the portable console isn't going to slip out of my hands, but at the same time, there's this nagging feeling in my nerves that makes me want to let it go and check to see what it is I'm touching.

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The caps are both a help and a hindrance, depending on what you're doing. In games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Bomberman R, they were a dream as I felt like I had better control over what I was doing when maneuvering around. Especially in Mario Kart where I needed to make tighter turns in the harder circuits and battles. But at the same time, it didn't help me in The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, where my thumbs eventually had the imprint of the cap after I did my usual walking around and exploring. After an extended period of time those caps can wear into you and you'll just end up putting the console down for a rest. So they're great in small doses but not so great for long session play.

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When I attached them to the remote systems to play 1-2 Switch, they became a great benefit with a small hiccup. The hiccup being that there's a small overlap of rubber at the top where the remote sections slip in, which means you're constantly pulling it back to take them on and off. I could see the rubber getting worn down, even stretching and tearing if done for extended periods of time. That being said, once we were in the middle of a game, everything worked nicely. These guards made it feel like I had more of a grip and better control over my controller during a lot of the intense games like Wizard and Sword Fight.

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The Joy-Con Gel Guards have some nice benefits, but I know for a fact they're not for everyone. I was able to find great benefits to them in certain areas, but I would also take them off during certain games so I had a different feeling on my hands as I played that was more familiar. And I think that's the way a lot of people felt about the Wii-mote covers that companies used to make—some love them and some hate them. I would recommend them if you're playing a lot of games with the controllers disconnected from the system, just as a safety precaution to assure they won't get damaged because these do a nice job of guarding against dirt and have a small bit of bounce to the rubber when they're dropped. Best for use with kids who, let's be honest, will be getting more into the Switch when more all-ages games hit the system.

About Gavin Sheehan

Gavin has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.

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