The brand new “Jelly” handheld controller from Sugar Cubes is just one of many exciting projects that this emerging team has coming in 2024.
I am in direct contact with the people at Sugar Cubes. So I have a bit of inside knowledge about several projects in development like the incredible Small Universe project.
But unlike that unique emulation device, the upcoming Jelly handheld is part of their custom controller lineup. Which means it does not actually contain a full handheld device inside, but leverages the power of an existing Android phone.
The phone in question is the Unihertz Jelly Star phone with the MediaTek Helio G99 processor and 3 inch display.
The Jelly Star is available to purchase directly from Unihertz is coined as the “World’s Smallest Android 13 Smartphone”.
Coming in at around $200usd, this makes for an interesting pre-packaged emulation machine that is just missing the proper game-focused controls.
Which is exactly where Sugar Cubes comes in!
Sugar Cubes X Jelly Handheld Controller
Many of the previous works from Sugar Cubes are controller adaptors intended to be used with an existing device. Such as their custom Surface Duo game controllers that have already released in China.
The new Jelly controller adaptor leverages the Jelly Star phone for its compact form factor and powerful emulation capabilities.
This phone can emulate all of the early retro consoles like Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Playstation, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, and the console that should particularly look amazing on this widescreen – PSP.
It can also run Android-based apps and games and can be used as a full fledged entertainment device.
How Is It Looking Though?
What’s particularly exciting for us at Retro Dodo, as massive fans of metal shell devices, is that Sugar Cubes shares our love of aluminum.
We’ve seen some incredible prototypes for the upcoming Jelly controller adaptors that show great progress being made. And the product looks to be nearing the finish line sooner than expected.
We anticipate Sugar Cubes to release the Jelly in a large selection of colors and even offering custom graphic versions, as these Chinese manufacturers like to do.
For example, we’ve seen a Pikachu and Evangelion version of the Jelly. These do not really interest us, but it’s surely unique.
And since these are technically third-party controllers, it makes more sense to see custom branded versions intended for game enthusiasts.
What’s more interesting is that the Jelly controller adaptor comes in two distinct models – a vertical and horizontal edition.
As you can see in the promotional material provided to us by Sugar Cubes, the phone simply slides into the horizontal edition with very little effort.
But from the videos of the vertical model, we cannot imagine that the installation process will be as straight forward.
This does appear to be a more work intensive version where you will need to remove the internal elements of the original phone to be put inside the metal shell.
(Language barriers have made discussing details more difficult with Sugar Cubes, so I could not confirm this detail.)
What To Expect
Sugar Cubes currently has a handful of developing products, all of which are intended to release in 2024.
Most of those are in prototype form with modifications and improvements still being made daily.
So it is difficult to say when we will be able to get our hands on the Jelly, Small Universe, or the unannounced devices.
But things are obviously looking quite exciting for Sugar Cubes, and we absolutely cannot wait to see if they are able to deliver on their promises. Because they are promising a lot!
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.