If you've tried playing any kind of platformer with a keyboard and mouse, you'll know it's a bit like juggling chainsaws while being attacked by a swarm of angry bees. Short of demonstrating your mastery of rude words and wanting to put your fist through the monitor, you don't really accomplish much. (Or perhaps I'm just uncoordinated and plagued by unresolved anger management issues.) For this particular helping of pixelated pudding, you really need... a controller!
"But Ryan, controllers are expensive, and I'm a malnourished student subsisting on a diet of custard and rat droppings. How the devil am I supposed to afford a controller?!” Well, emaciated young person, I'm glad you asked. The lovely people at Logitech have created a controller specifically for this demographic (poor students, Scottish people and tramps), and it's suitably cheap -- and not in an “it's constructed from balsa wood and pipe cleaners" sort of way.
Available in a range of fashion colours (actually, just blue with black highlights), the F310 features two analogue mini-sticks, two button/trigger combos, a D-pad, four programmable action buttons (A, B, X, Y), and the mandatory ‘back', ‘start’ and ‘mode’ buttons. On the underside you'll find a toggle that allows you to switch between XInput and DirectInput, ensuring those vintage platformers you have stashed away will likely function, though you may need to download the software from Logitech's website to fine-tune your configuration. In other news, the F310 doesn't vibrate, so if that's how you get your jollies, this is not the droid you're looking for. Inside the box you'll find the controller in a nigh-on indestructible moulded-plastic carton, a fold-out manual (more of a pamphlet actually), and a warranty card. I unboxed it, plugged it in, let Windows 10 faff about for two minutes installing drivers, and then spent the evening playing Trine and Giana Sisters - Twisted Dreams. The F310 worked flawlessly with both titles.
The unit retails here in New Zealand for $40 (that's about £25 in proper money), but is available on Amazon and elsewhere at a similar price point. By way of comparison, an Xbox 360 wireless controller was priced at $90, and an Xbox One wireless controller was $110. They do say you get what you pay for, and in terms of weight and durability, the genuine Microsoft products probably have the edge. The F310 is very light, feels quite plasticky and on first impression looks as though it won't stand up to extended use. (Especially if you're one of those gamers who tends toward hurling their peripherals across the room in a fit of pique.) Having said that, the buttons all have great tactile feedback, the sticks move freely with just the right amount of resistance and the dual triggers, though a little stiff, were very responsive. If anything lets the F310 down, it's the D-pad. It works as expected, but in terms of build quality, it seems a little fragile. It's quite loose and there's a fair bit of rotational movement in the mounting. Anyone who gets too feisty with the D-pad is likely to find themselves with a controller in one hand, and what's left of their D-pad in the other. Anger is the path to the Dark Side. And a broken controller.
So, would I recommend the Logitech F310? If you're in the market for a decent controller and your pockets aren't stuffed with wads of cash (or you're a miserly curmudgeon, like me), then yes. Provided you bear in mind that it's cheap for a reason, and you're not prone to acts of gratuitous violence when your gaming skills once again prove sub-par, then Logitech's budget offering should adequately serve your needs. If you're not keen on having wires trailing across your desk, or you prefer something that vibrates (minds out of the gutter, thank you very much), then you're probably better off looking at the F310's big brother, the F710, which retails for $80 (£42).
Logitech F310 Wired Controller Review
A solid offering from Logitech aimed squarely at the budget market. May not be as rugged as more costly options, but is accurate, responsive and covers all the basics.