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I absolutely adored last year’s Nitro Deck from CRKD. After purchasing one late last year, it’s become one of my favorite Nintendo Switch accessories. I didn’t get the chance to review it when it first launched, but with CRKD’s reveal and release of the updated model, the Nitro Deck+, I jumped at the chance to share my thoughts. Unlike the old Nitro Deck, which comes in several colors and special editions, the Nitro Deck+ only comes in two colors, Clear Black and Clear White. The good folks at CRKD hooked me up with a Clear Black model for this review.

Like the Nitro Deck before it, the Nitro Deck+ feels nice and solid in your hands, and CRKD took a lot of feedback from the original model and switched things up a bit. The most obvious change is that the Nitro Deck+ ditched the traditional offset joystick layout featured on the the original Nitro Deck, (and the Switch Pro Controller, the Joy-Cons, and several other third party controllers), and instead features symmetrical sticks similar to the Steam Deck’s layout, all in the name of greater hand comfort when playing. What I’ve found while using the Nitro Deck+, however, is that what CRKD has done has just swapped the problem. The ABXY buttons are now exactly where the right stick used to be on the original Nitro Deck, meaning that using any of the buttons will lead to the same hand cramps players experienced with the original Nitro Deck’s right stick. What’s more, plenty more Switch games rely on the ABXY buttons than rely on the right stick, meaning you’ll be awkwardly reaching your thumb down to the lower half of the Deck+ much more frequently than you would be using the right stick on the original Nitro Deck.



CRKD has tried to alleviate this issue with the addition of programmable Sidekick buttons that sit on the outside edges of the Nitro Deck+ near the joysticks. The Nitro Deck+’s new Sidekick buttons pair well with the existing suite of programmable buttons on the back of the device to eliminate the need to use the traditional ABXY layout, but through my testing with several different titles (Splatoon 3, Pokémon Violet, Monster Hunter Rise, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door) I found that while these Sidekick buttons work great, learning to use them instead of the standard ABXY set required retraining a lot of muscle memory that came from years of Switch playing.

Other than the right stick swap, however, the Nitro Deck+ is a dream come true. It still feels great to hold, the buttons are responsive, and the Hall Effect joysticks (this time with a cool shiny purple base) aren’t going to end up drifting on me, and the d-pad feels solid. All the little customization options are back too, with the swappable stick tops and adjustable trigger sensitivity and rumble level being standouts. My biggest complaint about the original Nitro Deck was the incredibly loud rumble feature. Even turned to its lowest setting, the buzzing was loud and intrusive, leading me to just turn it off completely and go without. The Nitro Deck+’s rumble motors, on the other hand, have a soft yet strong rumble that is very quiet, and still adjustable to three different strengths. Now I can easily use the Nitro Deck+ without annoying everyone in my home with a loud buzzing.



The Nitro Deck+ also features a new quick eject system, meaning you’ll no longer have to try and pry your Switch out of the Deck. Instead, you’ll just firmly push the quick eject latch on the back of the Nitro Deck+ up until you hear a click, and your Switch should slide right out. Don’t want to bother taking your Switch out of the Nitro Deck+? That’s not a problem either, as the Deck+ allows for docking your Switch right to your TV with HDMI pass through, and all you’ll need is a USB-C to HDMI adapter and the Switch’s power supply. CRKD was kind enough to send me an adapter alongside the review unit and docking my Nitro Deck+ right to my monitor couldn’t have been easier. Also, if you’ve got long enough cables you can still use the Nitro Deck+ as your controller while docked to a TV or monitor, so there’s no need to pack an extra controller with you if you’re on the go.

Another great new feature of the Nitro Deck+ is the addition of Bluetooth, giving players the ability to update the firmware and program any inputs on the Deck+ through CRKD’s own mobile app. Like I mentioned above, you can program the rear buttons as well as the Sidekick buttons, but you can also program any of the buttons on the Deck+ to act as any other button, meaning you can customize things to work just the way you like them. The only downside here is that there currently isn’t a way to save button configurations as separate profiles, meaning if you want different games to have different controls, you’ll have to adjust the button functionality every time.



All in all, the Nitro Deck+ has everything I loved about the original Nitro Deck, plus a few great upgrades that make it even more indispensable. The only downside, for me, is the new right stick placement, as most of the games I play actually suffer from this new layout. My perfect Nitro Deck is a model that has all the great features and improvements from the Nitro Deck+, just with the layout of the original Nitro Deck. Maybe someday that’s exactly what CRKD will do, but for now I’ll be swapping between the two Nitro Deck models depending on what will benefit the game I’m playing most.

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Written by Jaxson Tapp

As a lover of gaming and the written word, Jaxson currently fills his time not only with playing games, but also writing about them. Ready for anything, Jaxson’s passion for puzzle games, JRPGs, tough platformers, and whimsical indies helps him bring a well-rounded opinion to Nintendo Wire’s reporting.