Faithful shape and style
Plenty of colors and designs
Full motion controls
No analog triggers
Runs on AA batteries
Missing a ton of features/integrations
Doesn't work well with Android/Windows
Too expensive for what it is
If you’re of a certain age, you probably have fond memories of playing Super Smash Bros. Melee on your Nintendo GameCube. While die-hards likely still play it regularly, most folks have moved on to the more modern Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. If you want to enjoy that new-school game in an old school way, the PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch is what you’re looking for.
In this PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch review, I’m going to tell you the very good reasons why you should grab one — as well as the good reasons to avoid it.
PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch: What is it?
As you can see from the photos, the PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch is a modern console controller designed to look like a GameCube controller. It features all the buttons and lights you would find on something like the Nintendo Switch Pro controller but in a reconfigured shape and layout.
PowerA is an officially-licensed Nintendo partner. That means this controller is guaranteed to work with your Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite. It also means it will continue to work even after future console software updates.
Do keep in mind, though, that your console software will need to be on version 6.0.1 or later for this to work.
You’ve gotta hand it to PowerA for its attention to detail. The PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch has the same ergonomic feel as the original. The purple-blue colorway is even intact here. PowerA went the full mile and made the Y button’s over-sized height match the original GameCube design. Nice!
Unlike the original GameCube controller, though, this model has all the buttons you need to play Switch games. That means there’s an extra shoulder button and three additional buttons where the Start button was previously located. The analog sticks are also clickable to mimic L3 and R3 hits.
Also unlike the real GameCube controller, there are no analog triggers on this device. Granted, even the Nintendo Switch Pro lacks analog triggers, but that’s just another way this controller deviates from the original.
Outside of the design, the controller is also very easy to configure with your Switch console. You just turn it on, head to the controller settings of your Switch, and boom: you’re connected. Once connected, you won’t need to pair it again. You can also hit the Home button on the controller to power on the Switch, just like you can do with first-party systems.
Although the purple-blue hue is the classic design, you aren’t locked to that if you don’t like it. PowerA offers multiple designs and colorways of this controller, including black, silver, gray, and gold. There are also themed controllers linked to Nintendo properties such as Pokémon, Mario, and more.
What’s not so good?
Unlike a lot of high-end modern controllers, the PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch uses replaceable AA batteries for power. This is a cost-cutting measure that instantly makes the device less premium than something like the Switch Pro controller. Because there’s no built-in battery, there’s no need for a USB-C port (or even a MicroUSB port). This prevents you from being able to use the controller in a wired state with the Switch or anything else.
Similarly, the weight and overall feel of the PowerA controller screams “cheap.” It feels very toy-like in the hand. The buttons especially lack the weight and tactile feel of first-party controllers from Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, etc.
This controller feels cheap. PowerA cuts a lot of corners that prevent the device from having any true value.
Although the controller features full motion support, it lacks HD rumble, IR, and Amiibo NFC support. The lack of rumble in itself is a crime, especially when you consider most people are buying this to play Smash. The controller also lacks support for remappable buttons, which first-party Switch controllers do have.
Finally, the PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch does not play well with Android or Windows systems. Although it connects to the Switch via Bluetooth, my tests with other systems resulted in incredibly laggy performance. If you’re looking for versatility, this isn’t the device for you.
PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch: Should I buy it?
Most people who are interested in this controller want it to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. They want a huge A button and the feel of that yellow C stick they know so well from their GameCube days. If that’s what you want, then this controller will work just fine for that specific task. Just remember that there will be no rumble support while you play.
Outside of Smash, there really isn’t any reason to buy this unless you’re a die-hard Gamecube controller fan. There are other controllers out there with better build quality, better integration with non-Switch systems, and built-in rechargeable batteries. What’s more, they won’t be much more expensive than the asking price for this.
Speaking of which, the list price for the PowerA GameCube Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch is $49.99. However, we’ve seen it drop down to half that price quite often. If you do want this, don’t spend $50 on it. You’d be better off buying the 8bitdo Gbros. Wireless Adapter and a real GameCube controller. That will give you the genuine experience you’re looking for and even save you some cash, though obviously a real Gamecube controller doesn’t have all the Switch Pro controller buttons, so it might not work so well with every game out there.
The bottom line is that you should only buy this if you want it for specific purposes — and only if you can find it at a discount. If you just want a great standalone controller for your Switch, get a Nintendo Switch Pro controller as that will be the do-it-all device you need.