The PDP Rematch Glow wireless controller is a solid choice if you’re looking for a more traditional gamepad for Nintendo Switch. With solid build quality, a tasteful Super Mario aesthetic, and pleasantly tactile buttons and sticks, it’s easy to recommend. Its defining glow-in-the-dark feature, however, is pretty weak overall.
Sturdy build quality
Very high battery life
Buttons and sticks feel fantastic
Glow-in-the-dark effect isn’t great
No gyro aiming
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The PDP Rematch Glow wireless controller’s bold Super Mario aesthetic may give off the impression that it’s for younger audiences, but it’s really a controller for almost every Nintendo Switch owner. This is largely because of its impressively sturdy build quality and modules that come close to rivaling the feel of those found on the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
And that’s for the best, as the unique selling point here - that glow-in-the-dark effect - really doesn’t amount to much. The effect is quite weak, and doesn’t last very long. Plus, it’s only substantially glowy in truly dark environments, meaning its use case is extremely limited. Still, it’s a fitting gamepad if you’re looking to get your spook on over Halloween by turning off the lights and playing the best horror games.
And while the Rematch Glow’s lack of gyro aiming and choice of micro-USB connectivity is disappointing, it’s by and large a solid wireless controller that’s both responsive and packs a seriously impressive amount of battery life. It comes recommended, then, if you’re after a reliable wireless gamepad that offers a comparable experience to some of the best Nintendo Switch controllers on the market.
Price and availability
You can buy the PDP Rematch Glow controller right now. It’s available at most big box retail outlets such as Amazon, as well as Walmart and Best Buy in the US, while UK buyers can grab one from Argos. It’ll run you $54.99 / £44.99 (around AU$86.99), a decent bit cheaper than the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and 8BitDo Ultimate’s price of $69.99 / £59.99. However, these gamepads are of a higher quality overall, so the gulf in price is largely to be expected.
Design and features
If you’re planning on picking up Super Mario Bros. Wonder, then there really isn’t a more thematic gamepad to play it with than PDP’s Rematch Glow. The series of yellow stars set on a matte black background is very pleasing to the eye, and the aesthetic is complemented by yellow triggers and shoulder buttons, and a wonderfully shiny gold-hued D-pad.
Sadly, the Rematch Glow’s standout feature - the fact those stars can glow in the dark - is underwhelming. It’s old-school glow-in-the-dark, too, meaning you’ll have to subject the controller to bright lights throughout the day for it to activate effectively. And, whenever I managed to get the glow effect working, it didn’t last particularly long, rendering the whole feature to be a bit gimmicky.
The Rematch Glow’s form factor and button layout is strikingly similar to that of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, so players who have experience with that gamepad should feel at home with PDP’s. It’s got the same asymmetrical stick layout, similarly sized face buttons, and comfortable textured grips to ensure the pad won’t slip from your grasp in particularly intense moments (looking at you, Splatoon 3 bonus stage).
There are some differences, though. Oddly, the Rematch Glow’s Start and Select buttons placement have been swapped around with the screenshot and Home functions. This was a little tricky to get used to, as I often found myself back on the Nintendo Switch’s Home menu when I just wanted to save my game. Similarly, I accidentally took a screenshot of Link’s rather stoic expression in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom a few times when I intended to open up the Purah Pad instead.
It’s not the only design oddity the controller bears, either. It’s got two programmable rear buttons, where you can assign secondary inputs. However, they’re both connected to one larger paddle, which is made from quite flimsy plastic.
Lastly, PDP has opted to use a micro-USB port for charging and wired play. It’s a strange, outdated choice that falls behind the USB-C standard of most Nintendo Switch controllers. It’s not a huge issue, as the Rematch Glow comes packed with a micro-USB cable (not to mention its incredible battery life meant I rarely needed to charge the thing), but something you should be aware of as it’s another cable you’ll need to carry with you when traveling.
Performance and battery life
The PDP Rematch Glow performs very solidly as a Pro-adjacent Nintendo Switch controller. I primarily played with the controller wirelessly, and had no issues whatsoever in regards to response time or input delay. Pairing the controller to my Switch was a breeze, too, simply requiring me to hold down the pairing button at the top with the console’s ‘Change Grip/Order’ menu open. Plus, unlike otherwise excellent controllers like the 8BitDo Ultimate, you’re able to turn on your Switch wirelessly with the Rematch Glow by pressing the Home button.
The Rematch Glow’s modules - those being its sticks, buttons, and triggers - all feel fantastic. The sticks have a pleasant concave design that snugly accommodates my thumbs. Its triggers and shoulder buttons feel a little soft but have a very short travel time making them more responsive to compensate. The face buttons are also wonderfully tactile, with a clicky feel that makes playing titles that employ heavy use of them, like Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition and Astral Chain, even more of a joy to play.
One weakness when it comes to the gamepad’s performance is those rear paddle buttons, as they’re quite stiff to press. You are able to remove them via a sliding switch which pops the plastic paddle off the gamepad easily. But this then causes your middle fingers to rest unnaturally on the back of the controller.
Furthermore, the controller doesn’t support motion-based gyro controls at all. This may be a dealbreaker to some buyers out there, as it means that aiming in games like Splatoon 3 and Metroid Prime Remastered becomes significantly harder when you instead need to rely on the analog sticks.
Easily the best thing about the PDP Rematch Glow, though, is its battery life. You’ll get approximately 40 hours on a full charge, which makes it an excellent controller for playing longer titles with, such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3 or Fire Emblem Engage. Over a two-week period of testing, I only needed to charge the controller once, a quality on par with that of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
Despite its faults, the PDP Rematch Glow is a solid third-party Nintendo Switch controller that sits alongside other quality pads in the manufacturer’s line-up such as the PDP Realmz controller. If you’re not particularly fussed about its weak glow-in-the-dark gimmick or fiddly rear paddle buttons, you’re still getting a high-performance gamepad that’s comparable to some of the console’s best.
Should I buy the PDP Rematch Glow wireless controller?
Buy it if...
You prefer to play wirelessly: With around 40 hours of battery life on a full charge, you can be sure you won’t need to top up the Rematch Glow very often.
You want an aesthetically pleasing controller: It’s a shame the glow-in-the-dark functionality doesn’t work too well, as the gamepad itself bears a gorgeous Super Mario aesthetic.
Don't buy it if...
You want a more up-to-date wired connectivity option: Lacking a USB-C port, the Rematch Glow feels a bit outdated when it comes to wired connectivity.
How we reviewed the PDP Rematch Glow
I tested the PDP Rematch Glow over a period of two weeks, where I made it my go-to Nintendo Switch controller. A variety of games were tested, from big-hitters like Super Mario Odyssey and Bayonetta 3 to indie gems like Hollow Knight and Crypt of the NecroDancer. The lack of gyro controls presented a problem in some multiplayer-focused games like Splatoon 3, but overall, I found the Rematch Glow to be a solidly-performing controller in spite of its shortcomings.
Looking for more Nintendo Switch goodies? Consider browsing our guide to the best Nintendo Switch accessories for choice picks in upgrading your portable experience.
Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.