The PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch feels almost as good as Nintendo’s own Pro Controller, and adds a beautiful light show all of its own.
My abiding memory of third party Nintendo controllers harks back to the N64 days, when all manner of plasticky designs were launched as cheap alternatives to Nintendo’s own — seemingly expensive — option. Most of these alternatives were terrible though, and up until I got my hands on the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller, I had steered clear of third party alternatives altogether.
Things are different now though, and not only does the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller bear the Nintendo Switch logo (denoting that it is officially licensed) but it also feels very nearly as good to hold as the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller itself. In direct comparison (with me and my wife swapping between the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller and our existing Pro Controller) during an intense Super Mario Wonder session, we found next to no difference in button or stick response whatsoever.
There are some minor quality differences however, and our PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller struggled to pair initially, and I also noticed that our bundled USB-C cable was a tight fit (on both the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller itself and anything else I plugged it into). A minor concern really, given that I only keep one USB-C (the official one) plugged into my Switch at any given time. The feel of the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller is just slightly different too, with a clearly different (and not specifically worse) grade of plastic used, which you quickly become accustomed to.
What the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller does that no Nintendo controller can do, however, is provide a light show that looks absolutely fantastic. With customisation options including a full spectrum of RGB lighting (including pure white), the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller can be customised to offer a flowing range of colours, a solid colour of your choice, or input sensitive colouring based on which buttons or sticks you press.
It also features two customisation buttons on the rear which can be mapped to replicate any other button — which is potentially useful for any powergamers who struggle to reach another specific button. One thing I would have liked to see here is more complex button mapping input, for example the Hadouken motion and associated button, or perhaps even emulation of two buttons pressed at the same time. I haven’t tested this exhaustively, but based on videos from the manufacturer, I don’t think it’s an option.
Overall, the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller is a very viable alternative to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. It stands proudly beside the Pro Controller with an identical design (in terms of shape and layout) which makes it easy to use, and the plastic and button quality feels very nearly identical. The light show is an addition that will be loved by some and tolerated by others, but in any case, it gives the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller a unique differentiator that more than makes up for the miniscule difference in quality vs Nintendo’s own model.
You can purchase the PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch, in a variety of colors, on Amazon.