All you need for fight stick beginners and world warriors alike in a bite-sized package
Nintendo Switch players looking for a perfectly sized travel fight stick that maintains a full eight-button layout or a less expensive entry point into the market should look no further than the HORI Fighting Stick MINI releasing on April 29.
The Switch Fighting Stick MINI maintains all of the essentials while shrinking down to a satisfyingly comfortable and affordable arcade stick. While there are certain features that didn’t make the cut, it’ll be tough to argue that the stick doesn’t hold its own for the cost, even when compared to its larger and pricer family members.
The Fighting Stick MINI certainly lives up to its name measuring at about 8″x 6″ (with a cable that is 2.5m long), especially when directly compared to HORI’s other Nintendo Switch offering, the Real Arcade Pro V Hayabusa at around 18″ x 11″. Those familiar with the Fighting Stick MINI 4 should know what to expect from the Nintendo Switch version in terms of visuals.
The first major change is that this fight stick comes in a gray shell and features a black stick and buttons as opposed to the Fighting Stick MINI 4’s all black appearance. The gray matches Nintendo’s stock gray accessories and looks rather nice amongst them. Unlike the RAP V Hayabusa, the buttons are glossy, which I actually prefer aesthetically.
It’s a good look for sure but it would have been interesting to see a Fighting Stick MINI with Nintendo’s red and white as well. Perhaps a red casing with a white stick and buttons awaits us in the future or an alternate timeline.
While the buttons might be much smaller than the full sized RAP V Hayabusa, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of the tinier form factor. After using the Fighting Stick Mini for a couple of hours it began to feel commonplace. My hands rested naturally on the top four buttons and the B button. I never really had to overexert myself to press anything either since everything is so close, aside from the ZR button which I’d stretch my thumb to reach.
The stick itself feels very comparable to its full-sized cousin, making it easy to adapt to. This is probably due to the fact that HORI included a proper micro switch activated joystick. Ironically, it took me a little while to get used to using a full-sized stick again after thoroughly using the Fighting Stick MINI.
The joystick and the buttons feel great to use and it’s not any more difficult to execute special inputs than on a larger fight stick. I always felt like I was in control. That being said, while reviewing the stick, I mainly played Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid and Dragon Ball FighterZ, which aren’t very input intensive. I can imagine that anything more than casual play might start to show the downsides of having such a small and light stick.
My hands are also on the smaller side so the mini size of the MINI is actually quite nice. Those with larger hands might not have as good of a time as me, possibly needing to force your fingers into an uncomfortable position for use. Also, be sure to play on a level surface like a table. I usually place my fight stick on my lap, this isn’t very easy to do with the Fighting Stick MINI.
While the Fighting Stick MINI might be small, it doesn’t cut corners on primary features. The fight stick has the +, -, Home, and Capture buttons as well as a turbo function all available on the top right-hand side. Another important thing to note is that the fight stick is natively compatible with PC. Upon plugging it into my computer, it was immediately recognized as the “HORI Fighting Stick Mini” with no additional drivers needed. The stick functions with Windows 7-Windows 10, so anyone with those operating systems should have a similar experience.
The Turbo Mode functions in three different speeds; 20 times/second, 10 times/second, and 5 times/second. The speeds can be altered by pressing and holding Turbo and +, or Turbo and -. Turbo Mode is activated by pressing both the Turbo button and whichever input you want to be repeated until the indicator LED flashes on. Repeating this method will activate the Turbo Hold function. Performing this once more.
Understandably, there had to be a few omissions to keep the Fighting Stick MINI, well, mini. There is no way to toggle between the D-Pad and the Left Stick, limiting the controller’s compatibility with certain titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that use the left stick for all movement. While it might not be entirely conventional to play Smash Bros. with a stick, it would have been neat to see the compatibility.
Most standard fighting games allow players to use both the D-Pad and the Left Stick for movement, so in general, this isn’t too much of a problem. There are also no buttons that function as the left stick click or right stick click. While not necessary for most fighting games, there may be certain issues you run into without the function.
Those who like to mod their sticks will, unfortunately, have to look elsewhere. Everything is pretty much proprietary or soldered onto the device so there’s next to no room for modifications. That being said, the only reason I could imagine wanting to change what’s inside is for repair, and at that point, you might as well purchase a whole new unit.
Either docked or paired with the HORI Multiport USB Playstand, the Fighting Stick MINI creates an ideal portable play experience while on the go. At $49.99, its a great starting point for players wanting to learn how to use a fight stick without investing 3-4 times the cost. If you’ve been on the fence about starting your fight stick journey, there’s no better place to start, especially with the Nintendo Switch’s ever-growing fighting game library.
- Small size makes it perfect for use with Nintendo Switch Multiport USB Playstand for Nintendo Switch and Laptops when traveling or at home.
- Great price for beginners wanting to see if they want to invest in using a fight stick.
- All the necessary buttons, including the capture button for taking screenshots and recordings.
- Turbo functionality (something the previous iteration of the stick was lacking)
- Might be too small for those with larger hands.
- Cannot switch between D-Pad to Left Stick, limiting compatibility with certain titles.
- Difficult to use while in your lap.
- No modding/repair capability due to proprietary parts soldered to the unit.
HORI provided Shoryuken with both a HORI Fighting Stick Mini and a HORI Real Arcade Pro V Hayabusa for Nintendo Switch for this review.