Retro Fighters Hunter Review – A Modern Day OG XBOX Controller

retro fighters hunter controller

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My New Favourite XBOX Controller
Controller Design9
Battery Life8

A well designed controller that introduces retro nods from the classic controller and matches it with modern technology, good battery life and a very competitive price tag. It’s Retro Fighters best controller yet. Exclusive Discount: Use code “RETRODODO” for 10% off at checkout.

The console that I adore the most, and one that features throughout my fondest childhood memories is the original XBOX.

It’s a near flawless console with a wide range of incredible games that are still held to high respect to this day. I still have my Crystal XBOX located in my living room, matched with the original Duke controller which I jump on every couple of weeks.

Heck, this weekend I went to my local retro games store and snagged four new games for it. It’s very much still an active console in my home.

Though, one minor flaw of this console is that there are no official wireless controllers for the original XBOX, meaning wires were scattered everywhere back in the day, and I cannot count how many times my little brother would kick the cable out and i’d be on my hands and knees trying to put the two annoying cables back together, twisting them aggressively in hopes that they somehow magically snap together quickly before losing the game.

Yes, a few third party controllers made it to the market, but none that turned gamers heads… until now, almost 23 years later.

retro fighters hunter gamepad box

Retro Fighters are well known in the retro gaming industry for bringing new life to consoles through the production of high quality controllers that add a modern take to old tech.

This time, with the release of the Retro Fighters Hunter Controller, they now have a wireless controller that works on the original Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PC.

I still use my wired controllers on my original XBOX, but no more, I have now upgraded to a nostalgic looking controller with great ergonomics, nice battery life and none of those ankle swiping cables.

Appearance and Design

retro fighters hunter gamepad green

The Retro Fighters Hunter costs $44.99, it comes with an ok unboxing experience, features a dongle for the Original XBOX that is no bigger than your finger and a smaller USB dongle for the Nintendo Switch and PC.

Retro Fighters were nice enough to send us the transparent green colour way, which I have to admit is visually more pleasing than the black version, but that’s just my personal opinion!

The controller takes design inspiration from the modern day XBOX Series X controllers due to its flat face, shaping, shoulder button design and button layout. From a distance they look very similar.

You will immediately see the large coloured action buttons on the Retro Fighters Hunter which adds the nostalgic touch that we all need in a controller remake (they are identical to the original apart from), alongside the traditional black and white buttons below them which are not hidden (these are slightly smaller than the original), but instead put on show as they should be.

retro fighters hunter action buttons

Beside that is your hall joystick which eliminates drift… because let’s face it stick drift is so 2017. The sticks used sits a nice distance out of the shell and are near identical to the modern day XBOX sticks so you’ll find some sense of familiarity here. They also click in nicely with little effort for R3/L3 actions.

Directly in the middle of the face you will find the 3 option buttons, designed again just like the modern XBOX controller, these are start, select and home. I would argue this is a better location compared to the original Xbox controller, so I am happy they kept the modern approach here.

The DPAD has a good amount of travel to it, is raised perfectly is big enough to make fighting games enjoyable and features a matte finish instead of the high gloss like the original.

Your shoulder buttons are very well designed, featuring great comfortability, nice curvature and small grippy detailing on the tops to add extra grip.

Not only that but LT and RT are hall analogue shoulder buttons which are much higher quality, last longer, have sensitivity based inputs and feel sensational!

retro fighters hunter shoulder buttons

LB/RB have far less travel to them, are clicky and are a bit bigger than the triggers making them easy to press and easy to distinguish from the others.

For those that don’t know the difference, digital buttons typically have two modes, in and out, whereas analogue buttons have different inputs depending on how deep you press them. This makes them really useful in racing games for example.

Finally on the back you will find a small reset button which I used to sync my controller to the dongle, and you can find extra grip detailing on the back too which feels nice in the hand and adds a small premium touch to the controller.

Internally there are two strong rumble motors in each grip to add extra immersion in games and can be seen through the transparent shell.

The lack of memory card slots in the controller may be a disappointment to some of you, especially if you have some saved games on them, but in all honesty I personally do not miss this feature, and have only used them a couple of times throughout my XBOX gaming history.

The XBOX has enough internal memory for my uses.

Connectivity Experience

retro fighters hunter dongles

The Hunter Controller uses a 2.4ghz Wireless Adapter that connects to the controller slot in your XBOX.

My first experience with this didn’t go so well, as I was having some serious input issues and buttons had to be pressed exceptionally hard to receive any input.

This may be due to the pressure sensitive ABXY buttons.

I contacted Retro Fighters and they mentioned how unusual this was, predicting it was a dodgy unit. After being sent another review unit I can comfortably say the final unit that they sent works flawlessly, so it could be that it was in fact a dodgy first unit.

To completely eradicate the issue I have been informed that they are working on fixing this issue, even if they did mention that it was only my unit… Retro Fighters said:

“We are working on firmware updates, one of them is to update the pressure sensitivity of the ABXY buttons so they are a bit more sensitive when pressed. Most 3rd party generic controllers are just digital inputs, but ours are 100% pressure sensitive (for games like MGS). The firmware update should be available around the end of February 2024″.

retro fighters – robert lomeli
retro fighters hunter sticks

So, as much as they said it was likely just my controller that was the issue, it seems like they don’t want to take any risks (or have lied and know its an issue) and are working on a fix for all units very soon after this review is published.

I do believe it was a dodgy first unit, as I have tested the second unit for many days now and have still now come across any input issues.

That aside there is very little latency lag at all, and it was very easy to setup, taking only a few seconds to plug in and jump into Halo to slay Elites.

The dongle does stick out a few inches so I had to push my XBOX back into my media unit a bit so that my dog didn’t headbutt it out when she had the zoomies.

Charging the controller is as easy as plugging it into the wall using the USB-C port and I was able to get around 8 hours of life out of a full charge, which is more than enough for a few gaming sessions throughout the week.

Connecting it to your Nintendo Switch is as easy as tunring on the “Pro Wired Communication” settings and then plugging in the USB wireless dongle that’s included.

The process of connecting it to the PC is just as simple.


retro fighters hunter vs original xbox controller

This is a very comfortable controller. I am not saying the original wasn’t but let’s be real, Microsoft could have done better and not shaped it like King Kong’s fist.

This Hunter controller takes years of reviewing modern controller designs and uses it to their advantage to build something comfortable and modern with a handful of retro nods to the original.

The original had a very slippery plastic shell, whereas the Hunter has a matte finish, with texture on the back which feels much better, even if the handheld is a little too light for my liking.

All the buttons are located nicely, and are all very easy to understand and I can comfortably state that its a pleasure to play on for long periods of time.

I also like they they haven’t gone overkill with the design, they have kept it sleek, thin, and stylish yet nostalgic enough thanks to the use of the transparent shell and coloured buttons.

The shoulder buttons keep the fingers rested when not in use, and are slanted perfectly for adult hands

Overall Opinion

retro fighters hunter premium

It’s not the most premium controller in all honesty, it’s light and the plastic used is simply okay, but thankfully Retro Fighters has priced this competitively to make it worth the pick up.

I would love to see a truly “premium” version of this in the future because I believe this controller has great foundations.

I want a premium version to feature removable analogue sticks, metal shoulder buttons, a dock to charge it just like the 8BitDo’s Ultimate Controller and yes, I’d be willing to spend the extra cash, just because I play on my XBOX fairly frequently.

Retro Fighters has created my new favourite XBOX Controller, and they have mixed modern upgrades with retro visuals in a flawless manner that doesn’t look out of place in my gaming setup.

This is Retro Fighters best controller yet, I love it and highly recommend it to anyone wanting to upgrade their original XBOX and be gone with those pesky cables!

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