We tried the Razer Kitsune leverless arcade stick & it blew us away

Virginia Glaze

Razer is hopping back into the world of arcade sticks with a brand-new leverless controller. We got to take the Kitsune for a spin to see if this latest entry into the land of the leverless is all it’s cracked up to be.

It’s no secret that there’s been a growing trend of fighting game players leaning toward leverless arcade sticks lately. What was once deemed a controversial tool in the community has now become a widely accepted weapon of choice for many players across a variety of titles.

There are several iterations already on the market, some of which prioritize compactness and ease of travel — features that have become attractive elements for World Warriors jetting from tournament to tournament across the globe.

Razer has also entered the fray with its own take on a leverless stick in the Kitsune, a compact, lightweight, and highly customizable controller that’s got the entire community talking (especially after securing some exclusive artwork of Cammy and Chun-Li for special editions).

We got the chance to test out the Kitsune for ourselves to see if this leverless fightstick is as good as it seems.

Razer Kitsune SF6 Chun Li 2 copy
The Kitsune promises a clean, streamlined gaming experience.

The Razer Kitsune is perfectly optimized

After unboxing the Kitsune, the first word that crossed our mind was “clean.” There’s no denying this stick’s aesthetic appeal: Its semi-matte finish is insanely attractive, not to mention the eye-popping RGB light strip surrounding the outside of the frame. The materials also feel great on the fingers and it’s easy to keep clean if you’re at a tournament.

It also feels extremely good in the hand. It’s a lightweight stick, but it has some density (weighing exactly two pounds). It’s solid enough to sit on your lap without sliding all over the place with a few passionate button presses, and it’s big enough that the heels of your hands can rest comfortably on the frame — so no hover-hands, which makes for an ergonomic and pleasant playing experience in comparison to some other compact sticks on the market.

Razer Kitsune hand placement
The Razer Kitsune is the perfect blend of compact and comfortable.

Razer highlighted three main points with the Kitsune: speed, precision, portability, and customization. So, we’ll be giving our first impressions based on these key factors, but spoiler alert — they knocked it out of the park.

A traveling player’s dream

When it comes to portability, the Razer Kitsune is one of the most appealing sticks on the market. It’s lightweight and about as thin as the Razer Blade laptop, but far less heavy. This means that it’s extremely easy to stow away in the front compartment of a backpack, or dare we say it, even a purse for us fashion-forward fighting game fans.

Razer Kitsune travel backpack
The Kitsune fits snugly in a backpack…
Razer Kitsune Purse
…or in your designer bag.

For players who hop from tournament to tournament — or heck, even from their weekly local to a friend’s house — the Kitsune wins this category, hands down. In a market where fighting gamers generally have an entire backpack dedicated to their enormous, heavy fightsticks (which can be a nightmare to handle on flights), traveling with the Kistune is a walk in the park and my personal first pick when it comes to traveling, especially when paired with Razer’s Hammerhead wireless earbuds made for the PS5.

Razer PS5 headphones Kitsune
Razer’s Hammerhead Hyperspeed headphones for the PS5 make a great combo with the Kitsune for a near-perfect fighting game experience.

A seriously satisfying playing experience

Some modern compact sticks can have trouble with making enough room for your hands, resulting in players having to hover their hands over the stick to play. The Kitsune avoids this issue (which can be quite uncomfortable for those used to traditional sticks) by making enough room for players to rest the palms of their hands on the frame itself. Although it’s not as extremely small as other brands, it’s definitely a more comfortable alternative and one that will pay off in the long run.

Next, we’ve gotta talk about these buttons. These are some satisfying suckers to slap in the heat of battle, and one of the best things about them is they’re silent — meaning your opponent is less likely to hear you mashing out a throw, or that you’ll wake up your roommates playing late into the night. The Kitsune is also the only leverless controller on the market to boast low-profile optical switches. This can minimize latency by several crucial milliseconds. There’s really no faster alternative out there.

Another thing to love about the Kitsune is how it is optimized for tournament play. Razer worked closely with fighting game pros like Justin Wong to ensure it meets all the standards a competitor could think of, and two of these features are key for making sure your experience is up to snuff.

First is the cable lock, which secures the stick’s cable in place during play. We’ve all been guilty of getting a bit too hype during a set, and the cable lock ensures you won’t accidentally pull out the USB during an especially exciting match. This is a great feature, as USB-C inputs can be fickle at times, especially when they’re hanging off of a controller.

The Kitsune is also equipped with a standard-issue tournament locking feature, which we’ve previously seen in other arcade sticks. For a commercial leverless, however, this is a first.

The only downside we could find is that there isn’t an option for switching between SOCD modes for different fighting game rulesets. As the Kitsune is partnered with the Capcom Pro Tour, this adheres to the CPT ruleset. These were updated in March 2023 to determine that pressing up and down comes out as a neutral input. Other games might use different rulesets in tournament play, and for that, you’ll either need to get used to Capcom’s CPT rules or fetch another controller.

Crafted for customization

The Razer Kitsune is primed for the fighting game community in just about every way, including customization. Fighting gamers love to swag out their sticks, and we’ve seen just about every wild design that’s out there.

Razer’s brand-new Kitsune is clearly crafted with this in mind, too. The design features a removable aluminum top plate, which allows you to switch out your buttons or even hot-swap your switches for other alternatives.

Razer is also cooking up a downloadable template for fans to put their own artwork on the top plate. However, this is limited to vinyl decals, rather than laser-cut art prints.

Kitsune_V08b copy
The Kitsune is completely customizable.

We can’t forget the RGB strip surrounding the frame, which can also be customized to suit players’ preferences. They can swap between colors and even transition styles to make for a crazy combo with whatever artwork you choose.

So far in our brief time with it, the Razer Kitsune is one of the most accomplished leverless controllers you can buy right now. It’s fully licensed for PS5 and has been carefully optimized in almost every single way. From its compact frame, and low-latency switches, to the Kitsune’s tournament-ready features, Razer has re-entered the fight stick market with a bang. Be sure to stay locked-in to Dexerto for a full review.

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About The Author

Virginia is Dexerto's Entertainment Editor and an expert in all things TikTok, YouTube, and influencer-related. Boasting a background in esports, she's been tackling the social media space for over five years. You can reach Virginia at: virginia.glaze@dexerto.com.