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Amazon Luna Controller: Comprehensive Review

Amazon Luna Controller

Last year, Amazon Luna game streaming service was only available via invitation, but it’s now completely available as a subscription (or series of subscriptions) that any Amazon customer may purchase. It uses as much bandwidth as any other game streaming service, but it’s just $49.99. The Luna Controller gamepad uses a separate Wi-Fi connection to decrease input lag even further by delivering data directly to Amazon’s servers rather than through the device you’re playing on. Although it is technically optional, we believe that it is a necessary prerequisite to get the most out of Luna due to better performance and the smooth ability to transition between Luna-compatible devices.

Amazon Luna Controller

You may access many video game libraries thanks to Luna’s diverse channel selection. It’s a brilliant, though inconsistent, solution that addresses Google Stadia’s fragmented picks since its introduction. Stadia isn’t as much of a Luna rival these days, since it’s been “deprioritized.” Editors’ Choice choice Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, on the other hand, is a terrifying opponent with an even larger game collection than Luna.

Amazon Luna Review

Luna’s Channels and Pricing

Luna is organised in a similar way to Amazon’s video streaming channels, with many channels. It only had two channels during early access: the $5.99 per month Luna+ channel and the $14.99 per month Ubisoft+ channel. The bad news is that both networks have increased in price to $9.99 and $17.99 per month, respectively. The good news is that there are now three additional channels, and Amazon Prime members now get free access to a small number of games each month.

Amazon Luna Controller: Channels and Pricing

Control, Devil May Cry 5, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Under Night: In-Birth, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon are among the titles available on Luna+, which is the “primary” channel. It’s not a very impressive or consistent catalogue, and it pales in comparison to Xbox Game Pass, which offers many more options, including day-one first-party titles, but there are a few true gems.

Ubisoft+ includes Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (as well as most other Assassin’s Creed games save the first and everything in The Ezio Collection), Far Cry 6 (as well as every other Far Cry game except the first), Immortals: Fenyx Rising, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege: Ultimate Edition). You may also download the PC versions of the games through the Ubisoft Connect app if you have a membership. If you enjoy Ubisoft’s games, it’s a fantastic variety, but $18 each month feels exorbitant when compared to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate or the top tier of PlayStation Plus subscription.

Over Amazon Luna, the Family channel is a $5.99 monthly membership that provides solely family-friendly games. Snake Pass, Spongebob Squarepants: The Battle For Bikini Bottom Rehydrated, and Wandersong are among of the greatest options here, with the list spanning a few dozen titles, largely indies, with few that truly stand out.

Vintage is a $4.99-per-month channel that covers exactly what it says on the tin: retro games. There aren’t any classic Nintendo or Sony games (or even Sega; Sonic Mania is in the Luna+ channel), but there are plenty of newly released remastered and retro-inspired games. The fully filled Capcom Arcade Stadium, as well as Another World: 20th anniversary edition (previously known as Out Of This World in the United States), Dragon’s Lair, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, and Space Ace, are all available.

ShadowMan Remastered, the Terminal Cut versions of Bloodrayne and Bloodrayne 2, and the not-quite-retro-but-almost-retro-like Panzer Paladin and Steel Assault are also available. It doesn’t have the same massive catalogue as Antstream Arcade, but what counts is if either site contains the titles you want to play.

Amazon Luna Controller: Jackbox Games

The other $4.99 membership, the Jackbox Games channel, may be used for local or remote parties. This includes all of the games from Jackbox Party Packs 1–8, which include hundreds of wacky, crowd-pleasing art, quiz, and comedy activities. Because they don’t require extremely low latency to play successfully, the games in this channel are most suited for a streaming service like Luna, and they’re already constructed around groups of people being able to stream the game and interact with simple web interfaces.

Finally, you may play a few games without having to subscribe to a channel if you have Amazon Prime. Amnesia: Rebirth, The King of Fighters ’98: Final Edition, Mortal Shell, and Tracks: Toybox Edition are among the titles featured on the Prime Gaming list, which rotates every month. It’s not quite the same as Amazon Prime Video in terms of content, but it’s something.

Luna’s Play Requirements

Luna is compatible with standalone clients or Chrome on PCs and Macs, Amazon Fire TV devices, and Safari for iPhones and iPads. There is no Android app, however Chrome may be used to play it.

Amazon Luna Controller: Google Stadia

Expect nothing like the 4K, HDR visuals that Google Stadia may (possibly) deliver. Luna has a maximum resolution of 1080p and a frame rate of 60 frames per second. This shouldn’t be an issue on phones or in web browsers, but if you’re playing on a Fire TV Stick 4K connected to a 4K TV, some games may not be as sharp as they might be. 4K support is “coming shortly” to both channels, according to Amazon.

For 1080p game streaming via Luna, Amazon recommends at least a 10Mbps internet connection and connecting to your Wi-Fi network through 5GHz. Since Luna’s early access debut, a 720p streaming option has been enabled, using less bandwidth at the expense of quality. My PC has a gigabit FiOS Internet connection, but because of the distance between it and the router, I usually get around 250Mbps down and up. On my phone, I get roughly 175Mbps down and up.

Meet the Luna Controller

Amazon Luna Controller: Nintendo Switch Controller

The Luna Controller is fantastic, and it looks and feels quite similar to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. It’s a well-made black gamepad with two analogue sticks offset in an Xbox-style layout and A/B/X/Y face buttons organised in an Xbox-style configuration. The sticks, face buttons, and triggers all feel solid and well-made, albeit the plus-shaped directional pad is more squishy than clicky. The build quality is fairly close to that of the Xbox Wireless Controller.

The menu buttons are arranged around a large Luna button, which illuminates while the gamepad is in use. Above the Luna button is a pinhole microphone, and below it is a microphone button (so you can use Amazon Alexa with the controller). Like an Xbox Wireless Controller, the gamepad has a headphone port on the bottom side.

The gamepad is powered by two AA batteries and has a USB-C interface for cable connectivity and battery charging (if the batteries are rechargeable).

The Luna Controller communicates to Amazon directly through its own Wi-Fi connection, reducing latency by 17 to 30 milliseconds, according to Amazon. The free Luna Controller app is required for setup, and it leads you through connecting the controller to your Wi-Fi connection. If you choose, you may also use the gamepad as a conventional Bluetooth controller.

Amazon Luna Controller: Dualshock 4

You may also play Amazon Luna games without the decreased latency by pairing a suitable Bluetooth controller with your selected device, such as the DualShock 4 or Xbox Wireless Controller. With an Xbox Wireless Controller, the service felt snappy, although I noticed a little more input latency in games than I did with the Luna Controller.

You may use the controller to play games through Amazon Luna through any supported device after it’s set up and logged in. Because the gamepad connects to the internet separately, you can play on anything from a web browser to an Amazon Fire TV without having to juggle controller connections; Luna detects that your gamepad is connected to the internet and sets it to control whatever device is streaming a game through your account.

The Gaming Experience

Amazon Luna Controller: Sonic Mania

I used Amazon Luna to play Sonic Mania on a web browser, and the results were impressive. I was able to acquire two Chaos Emeralds and even beat a level of Blue Sphere (and I’m bad at Blue Sphere) because to the responsive controls. If it hadn’t been for a few minor hitches, I would have believed you if you told me I was playing on local hardware. Occasionally, during a gameplay session, the game stalled for a brief moment, and I received a notice claiming that the network connection was unreliable. This was unusual, and the gameplay was mostly smooth.

I also used Luna on a PC web browser and on my iPad to play Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair. Luna did really well in both circumstances. The 1080p image was bright and clear, and the controls were really snappy. I also had a few stutters in this game, which were accompanied by pop-up warnings about network troubles, but they were few and far between, and didn’t interfere with the majority of the experience.

Finally, I used my iPad to play Control (a fantastic cloud streaming game for Nintendo Switch) to check how 3D games worked over Luna. Like the previous two games, the visuals were dependably bright and fluid, and the controls seemed precise. With the service weapon, I was able to quickly score head shots on early foes, and navigating about seemed natural. Playing with the Windows client, on the other hand, didn’t feel nearly as pleasant, with substantially greater input latency.

Amazon Luna Controller: Luna Chrome Tab

I also experienced some trouble downloading the client on my test PC, but both of these concerns may be avoided by running Luna in a Chrome tab instead. In this version, the interface and performance appear to be more responsive and simpler to use.

A Bright Future

Amazon Luna is a good cloud gaming option, but it’s not quite as good as Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. It works nicely, especially when used with the Amazon Luna Controller, and if you have a decent internet connection, it may feel quite similar to playing on local hardware. Even though the Ubisoft channel is excessively pricey, the channel-based pricing system allows flexibility.

Amazon Luna Controller: A Bright Future

If you have kids or wish to host a group of friends at home or online, the Family and Jackbox Games channels are especially interesting. The Luna Controller, which costs $50, is a must-have item because of its minimal input latency and easy switching between devices. It may also be used as a Bluetooth gamepad.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate just has a larger selection of games, including more well-known titles, than any of Amazon Luna’s channels. Its cloud gaming functionality is currently in testing, but it works on Windows PCs using its own app or most web browsers, Android phones using a specialised app, iPads and iPhones using a web browser, and Xbox game consoles. When PlayStation Plus Premium releases in a few months, we’ll have to see how it compares, but for now, Amazon Luna is firmly in second position among game streaming services.

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