After a solid month of using the Amazon Luna, the cloud service may not be the future of gaming, but the controller itself is here to stay.
Cloud gaming is an idea that companies have thrown around quite a lot recently. Amazon, Google, and Nvidia have all created their own platforms to host games for people to play “on the cloud”.
These services boast zero wait time for long downloads and allow for more space on home consoles. They also boast of being able to take your favorite titles on the go with mobile streaming, and each platform comes with its own controller.
And while Cloud Gaming has improved immensely over the years, it still feels more like a novelty than a viable competitor in the current marketplace. However, Amazon Luna offers more than just a cloud service which makes it worth the price of entry.
Amazon Luna controller is a true competitor
The absolute best part of Amazon Luna is the controller. If you’re in the market for a gaming controller to use on PC, Mobile, or any other Bluetooth-compatible device; it’s hard to beat the Luna controller at its price point. This spectacular peripheral comes in at $69.99 USD.
Outside of Xbox and PlayStation, you don’t often see too many controllers recommended unless you’re willing to spend over $100 on a peripheral. Enter the Luna controller, a sleek and ergonomic design that looks and feels as good (if not better) than its competitors. It’s definitely better on all fronts than the Google Stadia controller.
Its form factor is a mix of the Xbox One and Nintendo Pro controllers. It has the body of the Pro but the button layout of the Xbox, and the triggers on the back are actual triggers and not buttons. Additionally, it has the Luna button which launches the Luna application on a paired device for a rather easy boot-up process.
The thumbsticks are among the best features of the controller. They have a large deep cavity for the player’s thumbs to rest inside, and paired with the stippled ridge, players won’t lose their grip even in the most heated gaming moments.
There is only one downside when it comes to the Luna controller, but that comes down to preference. There’s no internal battery so mobile or wireless players will have to use two AA batteries. However, the USB-C port allows for a wired connection. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for a headset or earbuds if need be. The controller isn’t compatible with back paddles or other mods, so what you see is what you get.
Another novelty cloud service
Of course, the Luna controller was made to be compatible with Amazon’s Cloud Gaming service. Luna offers multiple collections of games it offers at different monthly subscription prices, but there’s also a rotating collection of free games available to Amazon Prime members.
The games available for free through Prime are a huge plus for the service a large number of households have access to Amazon Prime and you get a handful of new games each month. There are no additional fees for these games, and they range from AAA titles to Indie hits. For the month of May 2022, Luna is offering Ghostrunner, Ride 4, and a couple of other titles.
From here, players can subscribe to different channels including Luna+ ($9.99/month), Family Channel ($5.99/month), and Retro Channel ($5.99/month). There’s also the premium Ubisoft+ channel for $17.99 a month which grants players access to a decent-sized library of AAA games.
Luna+ is the most attractive channel as it offers the largest number of games for a reasonable price. However, it doesn’t offer any new or exclusive titles. The plus side is you have a massive library of Indie and AAA hits you can play anywhere. But it’s nothing more than a greatest hits collection, most of which you may have already played before on a more stable platform.
Speaking of performance, Luna has improved greatly since its early access days in 2020. It has implemented a 720p streaming option more suitable for those with slower internet speeds but still maintains its crisp 1080p service at 60fps for high-end cloud gaming.
But even with the upgraded service, Luna still has some of the limitations of cloud gaming. Using Wi-Fi or cell service means the connection to Luna’s servers isn’t always the most stable. There’s also noticeable input lag between the time a player presses a button and the action is completed on screen. This wouldn’t be that big of a problem if a large portion of the games available didn’t require precise inputs (i.e. Furi, Katana Zero, Blasphemous).
That being said, it isn’t a bad service. Most single-player experiences performed great as long as the connection stayed steady. There were some performance issues when playing more demanding games like Ghostrunner, Control, or A Plague Tale. Yet, there’s something so satisfying about having access to an arsenal of indie hits you may have missed, most of which perform without a hitch.
It’s hard to recommend Luna, the service, to any hardcore gamers. But it could act as a budget-friendly alternative for those who don’t already own a home console. You won’t get access to any brand new or exclusive titles, but you will have plenty of critically acclaimed games at your fingertips wherever you go.
The controller, on the other hand, is a magnificent piece of equipment that can compete against both Xbox and PlayStation’s peripherals. Regardless of the service, if you’re looking for a new controller but not looking to break the bank, you can’t go wrong with the Luna controller.
The Amazon Luna gaming service gets a comfortable 8/10 rating. The score is an average of two scores as it’s hard to judge Amazon’s attempt at cloud gaming outright. The controller itself would score an immaculate 9/10 while the service itself would score a 7/10. It’s not a bad service, there just isn’t enough there to justify a full endorsement.