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PlayJam GameStick review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £80
inc VAT

A well-designed micro-console, but Android just doesn't have enough high-quality games available to make the most of it

The GameStick is an Android-based gaming system which plugs straight into your TV, and plays versions of mobile Android games which are tweaked to work with a gamepad. It’s not much bigger than a USB flash disk or TV tuner, and certainly beats the much-hyped Ouya for size. It’s another Kickstarter-funded micro-console, too, which easily surpassed its funding target.

PlayJam GameStick

We’re fans of the design. The GameStick consists of two parts; the stick itself, which contains the electronics, and a wireless Bluetooth gamepad. There’s also a USB mains adaptor in the box, along with a USB splitter cable which can power both the stick and charge the gamepad. When you’re not using the GameStick you can store the stick in a slot in the top of the gamepad, but there’s no way to store the cables neatly.

The controller itself is reasonable. It follows the current controller style of twin analogue sticks, a directional pad and four face buttons, but you only get twin shoulder buttons and no triggers. It certainly can’t match an Xbox 360 controller for accuracy and finesse, but is generally fine for the casual Android titles the GameStick is designed to play; apart from in Shadowgun, where we found it very tricky to aim.

PlayJam GameStick

The setup interface takes you through getting your GameStick on a wireless network, and you’ll then need to use a PC to register with the service. The GameStick interface is easy to use on a TV, with a clean tiled interface and plenty of onscreen prompts for navigation controls.

GameStick setup
The GameStick is pretty useless without a wireless connection

The meat of the interface is the game section. This makes it simple to browse games, see screenshots, watch gameplay videos and purchase titles. The games will then download over Wi-Fi. Strangely, unlike on an Android phone, the games don’t download and install at once; you have to download first and then manually click install, which is irritating for some of the bigger titles.

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