Zelda Switch Controller Guide

Latest posts by Kara Phillips-Ashman (see all)

There’s nothing quite like sitting down to play your favorite game with a themed controller. Whether it’s for a heavy session of fighting games or an exploring Hyrule on horseback, many controllers can help enhance your gameplay whilst looking at the part even when not in use. For a collector, a themed controller might be a beautiful addition to any display – and some of them may even bring bragging rights due to their rarity.

The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s most esteemed titles, so there is a lot of themed merchandise to coincide with its popularity. In addition, there is a wide variety of themed controllers to play your favorite Zelda titles on Nintendo Switch, which all makes for a more immersive experience. Plus, with the range of controllers available, there is something to suit everyone’s gaming styles.

Speaking from experience, I love playing games with a themed controller. It’s one minor pleasure of gaming with a Nintendo Switch, and it’s one of those things that makes your gaming experience unique.

Skyward Sword JoyCons (Wireless) – $79+

Skyward Sword JoyCons (Wireless) Zelda Switch Controller Guide

To celebrate the release of Skyward Sword HD on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo released a pair of themed Joy-Cons to commemorate the event. These Joycons were released on the 16th of July 2021 alongside the game.

Both Joy-Cons are blue in color and feature golden accents around the thumbsticks and buttons. Alongside these decals, the left controller features red detailing to mirror the Royal Crest on the Hylian Shield, and the left features a darker blue triforce to reflect Master Sword. The pair also comes with light grey rails to attach, and the straps are a dark blue color with light blue stripes. I love these Joy-Cons as they are much more subtle than other Zelda-themed controllers currently available. I prefer this nuanced approach to design rather than featuring an obscurely detailed portrait of either Link or Zelda, which makes the whole controller look tacky.

Since they were released as part of a celebration, they are considered rare and limited edition. Although the listing is still on the official Nintendo Store page, they have been out of stock for a while, and there are currently no plans to restock them. Initially, they were sold for around $79.00, which is pretty standard for a pair of special edition Joy-Cons. I loved playing Skyward Sword HD and would’ve loved to buy myself a pair of these Joy-Cons now mine are starting to drift. But the only place I can find them is from second-hand sellers – as you can imagine, the price has been increased!

Nintendo Switch Battle Pad by HORI (Wired) – $19.99

Nintendo Switch Battle Pad by HORI (Wired)

This controller is my absolute favorite when it comes to the Nintendo Switch. It was released on the 16th of November in 2018, and I think I picked it up in about July 2019. Since then, I’ve used it for almost every game I’ve played while my console has been docked. I thought I’d have a massive issue with a wired controller for the Nintendo Switch after the Joy-Cons were so heavily praised for their wireless capabilities, but picking up this controller was not a mistake.

Rather than adopting a standard controller layout or design, this one features the same layout as an original Gamecube controller. Which I find makes it perfect for fighting games. I originally picked up this controller to play Super Smash Bros Ultimate since I couldn’t get on with just using the Joy-Cons that came with my Switch. Additionally, the USB is compatible with any PC games you may prefer to use a controller for – so it’s a win-win situation.

In terms of design, this controller is straightforward. The translucent dark grey shell of the controller doesn’t quite let you see the inner workings, but it makes the controller look higher quality than one that’s just a plain color. Likewise, the Zelda decoration on this controller is more subtle than the Joy-Cons, with the only Zelda feature being the golden Royal Crest at the top. Aside from that, the only other decorations are the buttons, which are just regurgitated from the original Gamecube controller design. Plus, the simple design is reflected by the reasonable price of $19.99.

I love how this controller feels, especially if I’ve been using it for one of my more extensive gaming sessions. Joy-cons are great if you’re playing handheld, but the plastic shells are super soft, and if you’re in an intense match of Smash Bros Ultimate, this can lead to dropping controllers – I’ve been there, and it does not end well. On the other hand, this controller has a gentle grip on its handles, making it significantly easier to hold and keep ahold of during those knuckle-whitening matchups. The only downside to this controller and most controllers produced by HORI is that it does not support NFC or rumble.

Nintendo Switch Wireless Controller by HORI – $49.99

Nintendo Switch Wireless Controller by HORI

If the Gamecube-inspired wired controller by HORI wasn’t your style, then maybe this beautiful wireless one will do the trick. It’s more expensive at $49.99 a piece, but it’s worth the money if you’re on the hunt for something reliable and wireless. I’ve never loved wireless controllers aside from Joy-cons for the Nintendo Switch, mostly because I’m not a fan of the button layout. After being so used to how an XBOX controller feels if I’ve given something that feels the same – I’ll assume the buttons are in the same place, which isn’t the case with controllers for the Nintendo Switch.

This controller is fully wireless and has a rechargeable internal battery. The life of this battery is about fifteen hours when fully charged, so it only just falls short of the approximate twenty hours of the Joy-con battery. This battery life is excellent for a wireless controller, especially if you compare it to a PlayStations Dualshock controller, which lasts from five to eight hours every full charge. How are you supposed to complete Breath of the Wild in one sitting with that?

HORI tend to play it safe when it comes to their themed controllers. Much like their Battle Pad, this controller is relatively simple in design. The entire controller is a solid black color, with two translucent grips on either side of the handles. The Royal Crest is golden, but this time has some seriously ornate detailing. Rather than just being a block color, the crest on this one features symbols and elements from the Gates of Time, probably because time won’t exist when playing a game with this controller.

Once again, this HORI controller does not support NFC or HD Rumble, but it is equipped with motion control. Wireless controllers for the Nintendo Switch are usually equipped with this since some games (mostly Zelda – funnily enough) utilize this function. Since not everyone likes using a pair of Joy-cons, I think it’s great to have this alternative. This controller has a connection range of up to ten meters, so it’ll likely work a charm no matter where you’re gaming in your room.

D-Pad Controller (L) by HORI – $35+

D-Pad Controller (L) by HORI

Even though HORI has both a wired and wireless Zelda-themed controller, they went the extra mile by releasing a specialist D-Pad Joy-con for ‘Gamers on the Go.’ At first, I found the release of a single joy-con controller rather than a pair completely absurd. I still do. I think HORI could’ve benefitted from releasing a couple of joy-cons with this design rather than a singular one, but it’s still been quite popular amongst Zelda fans.

This left Joy-con was designed to be used for heavy D-pad games, such as puzzle platformers or fighting games, basically anything where you need to exploit your fast reflexes. However, unlike a regular Joy-con, this controller can only be used in handheld mode. It can’t be wirelessly connected to the console, and it doesn’t utilize motion control in the same way joy-cons tend to do. I won’t lie – I don’t see the point in this controller besides the fact it looks good. There are no extra benefits that you can’t achieve with a different HORI controller, especially when they have such a suitable, D-Pad efficient wireless controller.

The joy-con itself features a similar dark gray translucent plastic to the Pro Pad and once again showcases HORI’s iconic golden details. Much like the Skyward Sword HD joy-cons, golden details surround the thumbstick and edge of the controller, with a Royal Crest standing proud at the bottom. There are several other small details surrounding the D-Pad, but nothing to encourage the Zelda feel of the controller.

I think the price is a little steep at $35 for a single controller, but it’s not being sold directly from HORI anymore. This rare controller can be bought second-hand online, but the price varies drastically depending on where you get it. For a collector, I can see the appeal of this controller. It’s unique in the sense of it being a single boxed and themed Joy-con, but from the perspective of a gamer, you’d be better off getting something worth your money.

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controllers – $27.99

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controllers

Alongside HORI, PowerA is a reputable brand for buying themed controllers. Even though they aren’t stocked on the Nintendo Store Online – they are officially licensed. There is also more selection in terms of controller designs, and they are more detailed in looks rather than HORI – who tend to focus on the Royal Crest as the primary logo solely.

A wired PowerA controller will cost around $27.99 if purchased directly from the PowerA website; however, specific designs are being bought and sold alongside the label “rare.” No PowerA controllers have been exclusively released nor considered limited edition – so I can’t see a reason for such a severe price increase. However, I believe scalpers will try and declare anything as rare, especially if it involves a vast Nintendo title like the Legend of Zelda.

The following designs are available for a Zelda-themed Wired PowerA controller:

  • Hyrule Hero
  • Heroic Link
  • Hylian Shield
  • Retro Zelda
  • Link Fade

The main appeal of PowerA controllers is their looks. As I’ve already mentioned, they are much more detailed in design than the HORI controllers. Rather than featuring one small icon representing the Zelda franchise, the entire front panel of the controller is printed almost like a wrap. I will admit that a few designs like Hyrule Hero look tacky. It’s the thing you’d expect from a knock-off brand rather than an officially licensed Nintendo product, but it might be up against some people’s alley.

PowerA Wireless Controllers – $54.99

PowerA Wireless Controllers

Wireless controllers are a little more expensive, with one setting you back about $54.99 if purchased directly from the PowerA website. However, these controllers have incredible thirty-hour battery life and a range of three meters. They can easily be charged with a USB-C cable, which I know I always have lying around. Additionally, they are equipped with a red LED light to signal low battery – and their rechargeable lithium-ion battery means they have a reasonably decent lifespan before the battery begins to lose its power.

PowerA Wireless controllers are not equipped with NFC reading or HD Rumble like HORI controllers. If that’s something you’re after, it’s worth looking at Nintendo Switch Pro controllers over anything else. But if you’re more focussed on looks over mechanics, PowerA is your brand. Sure, these controllers are a little more expensive, but they look the part.

The following designs are available in PowerA’s Enhanced Wireless controllers:

  • Blood Moon Zelda
  • Hylian Crest
  • Midnight Ride
  • Link Watercolor
  • Gold Rider
  • Link Gold

Just like its wired counterpart, these controllers have embedded anti-friction rings for smooth joystick movement, which I find very comfortable compared to the clacky and sudden movements of my favorite Battle Pad controller. However, these controllers do not have textured grips and have a similar soft touch to Joy-Cons. This would be my one fault with PowerA controllers because, like Joy-Cons, they slip out of your hands – which is something HORI avoids.

Rock Candy Wired Switch Controller by PDP (Link) – $27.99

Rock Candy Wired Switch Controller by PDP

Rock Candy controllers are known for their vibrant colors, but I don’t think they look great. Although I usually love a transparent shell on a controller, I think the rich colors of a Rock Candy controller make it look a little cheap. If you buy one brand new, it’ll set you back around $27.99; however, I always find this specific controller design for sale or second-hand for around the $15 mark.

This controller’s ‘Link’ design features a cobalt blue polycarbonate shell. Additionally, there is a print of Link shooting an Ancient Arrow on the left handle. Aside from this, the top of the controller features a minimal Nintendo Switch logo. In terms of feel, this controller is more compact than other pro controllers, so if you’re spending a long intensive session on a game – it may not be the most comfortable fit. Although the company state this brand of the controller is praised for being ‘comfortable for all sizes,’ I don’t think they are. Perhaps it’s the lack of texture on the shell or the claustrophobic ratio of the button to joystick space. Either way, I am not a fan.

Other features of this controller include an eight-foot USB cable, and even though the buttons don’t feel great – the joysticks have a concave thumb hold. I prefer the feel of a thumb grip with a divet over a textured pattern on top. But, as I said, the rest of the buttons don’t feel great. The plastic feels light and stubborn if you need to press something quickly. I don’t think this controller is great for anything regarding precision, but if you need an extra controller and don’t want to sacrifice a joy-con, then this one would do the job for party games.

Wired Fight Pad Pro by PDP (Special Edition Zelda) – $24.99

Wired Fight Pad Pro by PDP (Special Edition Zelda)

If you’re like me and prefer a Gamecube controller for all things fighting games, then you may choose this design over the PDP Rock Candy controller. Much like the HORI Battle Pad, this controller has taken its design from the original Gamecube controller but has made it USB compatible with the Nintendo Switch. Interestingly, this controller has a detachable C-Stick, so you can swap it in and out for a full-sized stick where necessary.

The design is simple, with a plain white shell and white buttons – which I find unusual for a Gamecube controller since they are usually colored like the original design. So red for B, Green for A, and grey for X and Y. However, this design excels itself with such a simplistic design. As I mentioned, I love the HORI battle pad even though it’s got such a subtle Zelda theme. The PDP Fight Pad Pro is relatively similar. Alongside its white shell, both joysticks are a golden color with circle textures, and towards the top of the controller, there is a silicone portrait of Princess Zelda.

There’s something so charming about simplistic designs rather than something like the PowerA designs. Although I’m sure many people love the detail in their controller designs; I’m a sucker for something subtle. I like to incorporate my passion for gaming into everyday life, so something subtle even in my controllers is perfect for this. It’s not aggressively in your face, and it’s hard to lose its design over time since the detail is such high quality. Compared to the Rock Candy controller, this is an optimal design.

This controller is also a cheaper alternative than other pro controllers. It’ll cost you about $24.99 if bought directly from the PDP website; however, there are often sales from alternative sellers where the price will drop to about $15. As I mentioned, this controller hosts a detachable c-stick which can be replaced with a full-sized joystick. These full-sized sticks aren’t sold with the controller but can be purchased separately, with prices ranging at about $8 for a two-pack. I’m going to consider adding this controller to my collection!

Faceoff Deluxe+ Audio Wired Controllers by PDP – $54.99+

Faceoff Deluxe+ Audio Wired Controllers by PDP

Faceoff controllers are arguably the most unique of the lot. Rather than being stuck with one design, these controllers allow you to switch out the design for several other faceplates. So technically, they aren’t even limited to just being Zelda-themed. They are PDP’s most expensive option, at $54.99 for the base controller and faceplates ranging in price from $9.99 onwards, but the quality and feel are unmatched. The back of the controller also has a textured design for enhanced grip, which is far better than their Rock Candy edition!

Two Zelda designs are available in this controller style, with either a Breath of the Wild-inspired dual pack or a Hyrule Hero Link design. The double pack contains the controller and two faceplates. When you purchase it, the first comes attached to the controller and features an ornate black design with dark grey detailing. In addition, the iconic ‘Z’ logo is showcased towards the top of the controller, with Master Sword going through it. There are also two golden rings around the base of each joystick, which seems to be a recurring theme in Zelda controllers. The second plate in this set is far more straightforward, with an entirely black background, blue rings around the joysticks instead of gold, and a blue Sheikah Eye at the top. I prefer this design to the first since the Sheikah eye isn’t included in most Zelda merch.

The third design is the most detailed of the three, with the controller’s colors being split in half. The left-hand side is black, and unsurprisingly the right is golden. Link stands in the middle of the two, holding his bow to separate the two. In addition, the same Z logo I’ve already mentioned is printed in black on the right handle. I know I’ve said several times about not loving printed controllers like this one, but the design and feel of the controller make me feel like this would be an excellent addition for any Zelda lover. Plus, the fluidity of being able to change the look of the controller fills me with joy.

Furthermore, the pro controller has been praised for its low-friction joysticks and paddle-style buttons. So if you’re looking for a controller to enhance your gameplay and precision, a pro controller may be for you. I find this paddle-style D-pad the best for mastering combos in fighting games since a standard D-Pad takes a lot of practice to hit diagonally. In addition, paddle pads are far easier to navigate. For first-time players who need a little more help with precision, these controllers are super user-friendly as well! There are two programmable buttons on the back for those sneaky attacks or a little extra help.


Question: Are Gamecube Controllers Compatible with Nintendo Switch?

Answer: Original Gamecube controllers are not directly compatible with Nintendo Switch consoles because the console only supports USB inputs. However, you can purchase an adapter to make the output of an original Gamecube controller USB compatible. Also, if you were curious whether the Battle Pad Pro and Fight Pad were Switch compatible, their USB cables can be plugged directly into the console.

Question: Can I Buy the Skyward Sword HD Joy-Cons from the Nintendo Store?

Answer: The Skyward Sword HD Limited Edition Joy-Cons have sold out on the official Nintendo Store. There have been no updates on whether these special edition controllers will be restocked, but they are for sale via second-hand sellers. The original price fell around $79, and second-hand sellers are not shy of almost doubling this. I would love to add these to my collection for collector’s sake. But due to their excessive price tag, it’ll be a few years before I can.

Question: Which Controller is Best for The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild?

Answer: It’s down to personal preference, but my best advice would be to use a pro controller, like the Faceoff Deluxe or a Wireless PowerA, since they have the best feel and button accessibility for this game. The Faceoff Deluxe’s precision-heavy D-Pad is excellent for archery and combat in Breath of the Wild. There’s something extraordinary about playing such a beautiful game with a matching controller.


With Breath of the Wild 2 in the pipeline, there will undoubtedly be a new wave of themed controllers being released closer to the game’s launch. I am so excited to see how Zelda’s designs are incorporated into a wide variety of controllers. Unfortunately, as much as I love my Zelda-themed battle pad, my intensive Smash Bros Ultimate sessions are wearing away at the joysticks – so it’s coming up to upgrade time. That Faceoff Deluxe pro controller is calling my name.

Continue reading:

Ultimate Guide to Zelda Toys

Best Replica Zelda Shields: 13 Stunning Designs From Across the Net

Amazing Zelda Tattoo Ideas

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