When you think of metal joy-cons you might think of chunky, heavy, cheap rubbish? But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
We recently picked up some metal joy-cons from a modder/maker known as Boxy Pixel, they are renowned for doing wonders with metal in the retro gaming community. Their latest inventions are their custom Gameboy Advance SP and obviously the original metal Gameboy.
These metal joy-cons don’t come cheap. The shells cost $99 alone, and then you need the metal buttons which cost $22, and that’s without shipping. Oh, and you’ll need your own Joy-Cons too!
Your normal buttons won’t fit these shells because the DPAD is different and so are the internal cuttings of the ABXY buttons. This is a tad annoying, especially when you’ve just taken out a small loan, but looking at it in a business perspective, Boxy Pixel made a good choice.
Plus, adding plastic buttons to a metal shell is just like buying a Lamborghini and topping it up with the cheapest gas. What’s the point?
How Do The Metal Joy-Cons Feel?
The metal Joy-Cons are made from a slab of aluminium, cut using a high end machine that’s incredibly precise, so precise, that these look near identical to the internals of a normal Nintendo Switch joy-con shell.
Each shell has a smooth textured finish with a bunch of really cool details on it. For example, you’ll find a Boxy Pixel logo on the bottom right of the left joy-con, and if you look closely you can see a familiar addition to the right joy-con.
The Boxy Pixel team have added a speaker grill from the original Gameboy DMG, which is a subtle but awesome touch. This doesn’t work as a speaker, it’s just a nice engraving to the metal.
The metal buttons feel great, and as you can obviously tell, it brings in a “normal” D-PAD, so you’ll never have to use the terrible Switch D-PAD again. These buttons are cold to touch, and has a unique feedback to them, something the plastic buttons fail to do.
We went for a black DPAD and red buttons, because it reminds us of the original Gameboy, but Boxy Pixel do a few unique colour variants for you to choose from.
On the back of the metal joy-cons you’ll find some slight engraved “grips”, again, just like the original Gameboy. This adds a textured feel to the back, and makes the backs look a little more extravegent.
These shells add some weight to the joy-cons, for obvious reasons. Some of you may not like that, especially if you prefer light controllers, but for us this added a premium feel.
Because the joy-cons are made of solid metal we also found that these can withold a lot more “wear and tear” than your typical plastic joy-cons. Bumps, scratches, pressure, it will not break. This almost makes your joy-cons near indestructible.
This does not fix drift, that is curse no product or modder can ever remove. Mario Kart 9 will still be a pain to play, don’t you worry!
Was Installation Easy?
The installation for us was somewhat easy, and only took us approximately 60 minutes to build. But that’s because we have done this before. If you’ve never done it before, can you do it? Yes, absolutely, all you need to do is watch a few tutorials and dive straight in.
Just remember to count where you removed the screws from, because there’s a few different screws that when mixed up, will cause you a bunch of problems.
The only hard part was putting the motherboard in, without the front buttons popping back out of the shell, but that’s because Brandon Saltalamacchia has Shrek-like fingers.
With the metal joy-cons comes a bunch of screws included, and these are screws you MUST use. Using your old Nintendo Switch Joy-Con screws will cause you problems and do not fit properly. If you try and use them, they may get stuck and even snap, meaning you will need new shells.
You’ll literally be screwed…
We were blown away with the sheer precision of these shells. In our time, we have picked up a wide number of third party shells, and can tell you many of them don’t even fit properly. But these metal joy-cons fit like a glove!
And this just goes to show you how good Boxy Pixel are at creating precise mods for retro gamers, and we’re certain this brand is going to continuously grow throughout the years because of that.
The only downfall is that we would have liked the internal Joy-Con plastic parts to have been included within the package. Boxy Pixel don’t actually make this part, perhaps because not many people want it or care about it?
When we finished our builds, the internal blue and red section between the two triggers stood out like a sore thumb. The average modder won’t care about this as its such a small detail. The whole joy-con is perfect, and then that annoying colour just shines through reminding us every-time that its not entirely metal at that we have somehow failed at turning our Nintendo Switch into a metal beast.
For those wondering, the metal shell does not cause problems with connectivity, everything works as it should which is satisfying to know. If there is a problem, it’s most likely down to the poor installation process. Just open it back up and try again, you’ll get there!
This is an expensive accessory, and there’s no denying that, but the price matches the product. The build quality, and pure craftsmanship that’s gone into the shells meets the price tag respectfully.
This isn’t something a typical Nintendo Switch enthusiast would buy. This is a product aimed at tinkerers, who love their Switch so much, that they want it to feel like something Iron Man himself would own.
It’s exactly what it says it is. Metal Joy-Cons. The “DIY” aspect of it will discourage many potential customers, but after you put it all together, the controllers become somewhat sentimental.
Every time we look at our Nintendo Switch, we can’t help but say “dang”.
The only downfall is that you need to buy the metal buttons with the expensive shells. We recieved our joy-cons after waiting for delivery, and soon noticed we forgot to order the buttons. This was a kick in the nuts, and it should be a $99 package that contains it all, ideally.
But currently Boxy Pixel has no competition, so they can charge what they like.
We love them.
A 29 year old fella that’s had a Gameboy addiction ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and created a YouTube channel with 240,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.