Hori, one of the video game industry’s most respected fight stick manufacturers, returns to the Nintendo Switch with the follow-up to its affordable Fighting Stick Mini. The $59.99 Fighting Stick Mini: Street Fighter Edition, which is $10 more than its predecessor, maintains its predecessor’s compact footprint, button layout, PC compatibility, turbo functionality, and overall feel, but adds officially licensed Street Fighter II branding. If you already own the original Fighting Stick Mini, you may not feel compelled to upgrade to this model simply for the new art. That said, it’s an attractive purchase for first-time stick users, gamers on a budget, or people looking for a highly portable secondary stick to bring to a friend’s place.
A Sharp Weapon
Attractive, officially licensed Capcom art adorns the joystick’s face and separates it from the all-black, original Fighting Stick Mini. The red review unit I tested features Ryu and Ken, the iconic Street Fighter II duo, in dramatic fighting poses, as well as the equally iconic Street Fighter II logo. The Street Fighter Fighting Stick Mini also has a blue variant for the same price that features Cammy and Chun-Li.
As its name suggests, the Fighting Stick Mini: Street Fighter Edition has a small footprint. Measuring 3.4 by 8.2 by 5.9 inches (HWD) and weighing just 1.1 pounds, the controller is far easier to tote than a full-size fighting stick like Hori’s own 4.9-by-17.0-by-9.5-inch, 4.8-pound Real Arcade Pro V Street Fighter Classic Arcade Edition. In fact, the joystick almost fit into one of my cargo pants pockets.
Still, people with large paws (like me) may find the stick a hair too small for extended fighting game sessions. For those folks, I recommend the Qanba Drone, a roomier, $79.99 arcade stick that measures 4.5 by 12.8 by 9.0 inches and weighs 2.6 pounds. It has plenty of space for resting your palms and stretching your fingers.
Despite its Lilliputian size, the Fighting Stick Mini has the Capture, Home, Minus, and Plus buttons you expect from a Nintendo Switch controller. The additional Turbo functionality lets you fire off ether 5, 10, or 20 button presses per second by activating the feature and assigning it to a button. Turbo isn’t an especially helpful fighting game feature, but it comes in clutch when playing a shmup, a video game genre that requires you to rapidly hammer the fire button.
The Fighting Stick Mini: Street Fighter Edition lacks a button-lock switch to deactivate the Capture, Home, Plus, and Minus buttons. Unfortunately, this omission is commonplace in the budget stick category and prevents the controller from being a true tournament-ready device. After all, you wouldn’t want to accidentally pause a game during tournament play, a situation that leads to an automatic round loss.
Note that when plugged into a PC, Fighting Stick Mini loses the Switch-specific Capture screenshot ability, but otherwise works flawlessly.
Bringing a Stick Into Battle
Of course, the main reason to purchase a fight stick isn’t for the art; it’s for the arcade cabinet-style joystick and button combo. The Fighting Stick Mini: Street Fighter Edition lacks the metal chassis and world-renowned Sanwa Denshi parts you’ll find in premium fight sticks, but its clicky, microswitch-activated lollipop joystick and buttons feel good in the hand. Unless you’ve logged ridiculous hours on high-end fight sticks such as the Qanba Dragon or Vitrix Pro FS, you’ll be more than happy with what Hori offers with this controller.
The Fighting Stick Mini is compatible with PC games and Nintendo Switch games, so I tested the controller on both platforms. On the Switch, I played Garou: Mark of the Wolves and King of Fighters ’98, and on the PC I played Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection and Tekken 7. I executed complex special moves, such as fireballs and dragon punches, with ease. The Fighting Stick Mini enabled me to deliver precise inputs in a way that I simply couldn’t when using the Nintendo Joy-Con or Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
Unfortunately, the Fighting Stick Mini is so lightweight that it can slide a bit if you use it on your lap. Four rubber feet on the controller’s bottom are designed to remedy the problem, but they don’t keep the stick in place as well as the heftier, higher-end Qanba Q4 RAF Black, which boasts a cool felt-covered bottom. The sliding isn’t an issue when the stick is placed on a flat surface, such as a table or desk.
On the upside, the controller features a lengthy 10-foot cable, so you play at a good distance away from your TV or gaming monitor. The cable isn’t the breakaway type that separates when the cord is pulled; that’s an extra feature found in premium controllers to prevent you from sending you console crashing to the floor when someone trips over the cable.
A Small Weapon of Choice
The Nintendo Switch is home to many fighting games, including Dragon Ball FighterZ, Mortal Kombat 11, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, and nearly all of the classic Neo Geo titles. Anyone who fancies the genre should invest in a quality controller designed with fighting games in mind.
The Hori Fight Stick Mini: Street Fighter Edition fits the bill. The controller brings an arcade-like feel to your Switch and PC at a sub-$100 price, and it carries cool Street Fighter art on the unit’s face. It’s a small device, however, so if you want a larger Nintendo Switch fight stick, particularly one with Street Fighter imagery and premium features, check out the $159 Real Arcade Pro V Street Fighter Classic Arcade Edition.
Bottom Line: This Street Fighter-branded version of the Hori Fighting Stick Mini adds attractive artwork to a very solid budget Nintendo Switch fighting game controller.