ION Audio iCade Core review

Is the revised iCade an essential tool for retro gaming on the iPad?

ION Audio iCade Core
The best iOS controller we've seen. Ideal if you're addicted to iPad games that have iCade support

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Good value for money

  • +

    Enhanced gaming experience

  • +

    Works in landscape or portrait


  • -

    Your hand can block your view

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A perceived problem with iOS as a gaming platform is the lack of tactile controls, which is a particular issue with platform and retro games. iCade Core gives your iPad arcade-style controls; it's battery powered (two AAs) and connects via Bluetooth.

As support for the iCade has to be added by a game's developers, only certain titles are compatible - there's a complete list over yonder.

The one-piece plastic concoction resembles the chunky controllers you used to get on arcade machines, but it feels a little cheap, and lacks the retro charm of its cabinet-shaped older brother. However, it's a lot more portable and easier to store than its wooden sibling, and it succeeds where it really matters.

Again, the joystick and buttons feel great, if a touch softer than the original iCade's, providing plenty of precision control over compatible games. The cradle is sturdy, and boasts a pass-through slot for charging.

It works nicely with an iPad in landscape or portrait, though it does sit a touch low, meaning your hand can block a little of your view. However, as the unit uses Bluetooth, you can always set up the iPad elsewhere.

At £50, the iCade Core is a great value iPad accessory for hardcore gamers.