How to Use The Xbox Adaptive Controller on Android

Photo showing an Android tablet with Sonic the Hedghog Classic running on it and an XAC next to the tablet.

Released on Xbox and Windows 10, the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) is a device that acts as a hub to connect compatible joysticks and buttons to create a customised controller. In a recent post we looked at how to connect the XAC to be used to play games on iOS devices following the iOS 14 update. The XAC can also be used natively as a compatible game controller for Android devices and game apps which are compatible for gamepad controller input as an alternative to touch, such as with an MFi (Made For iPhone/iPod/iPad), Dualshock 4 or Xbox Wireless gamepad controller.

This post will talk through step by step how to connect the XAC to your Android device (click on the images to enlarge them). We also have an accompanying post that highlights some XAC compatible Android games here: https://gameaccess.info/xac-compatible-android-games/ as examples to get you started playing.

Step 1. Turn on Bluetooth

Once your compatible Android device is on, you can turn on Bluetooth by opening Settings, opening Connections, selecting Bluetooth and turn On:

Screenshots indicating you need to click on the Settings icon on your Android device, followed by the connections and turn Bluetooth on.

Step 2. Turn on and sync your XAC

Turn on your XAC using the Guide button on the top of the controller (the button with an Xbox ‘X’ icon on it) and press the Sync button to the right of the Y switch port on the back of the XAC. The light on the XAC should flash rapidly and you should see Xbox Adaptive Controller listed in the Available Devices list on your Android device:

Photos showing where the sync button is on the XAC and which light will illuminate when pressed.

Step 3. Pair your XAC

Select the discovered Xbox Adaptive Controller listed on your available devices. Depending on your device settings, you may need to enter your password to pair it.

For this device, it required approval of the Bluetooth pairing request:

Screenshots indicating when Bluetooth is on and teh Xbox Adaptive Controller is syncing, you can pair the controller by clicking on the 'Xbox Adaptive Controller' in available devices and accept pairing request.

Step 4. Set up your controls

Once paired, you can plug in the combination of joysticks and buttons you require to play and open a compatible game. You should be able to play the game using the inputs on the XAC itself alongside your external joysticks and buttons connected to the XAC. Many games will require additional inputs alongside those found on the XAC itself, so joysticks and switches will need to be added for these. Different games will require different inputs. An online search may help to discover what these are, or you may need to install and open a game to find out:

Top down view of a potential set up using the XAC, Ultrastik joystick and buddy buttons to work with controller supported games.

Step 5. Finding compatible games

There is not a specific method for filtering gamepad compatible games, but you can search for them in the search bar of the Google Play store e.g. by searching “controller compatible games”:

Screenshots of a search on Google play for controller compatible games.

Please be aware certain games may cost money to buy or have in-app purchases.

As we mentioned at the start of this post, we have listed a range of games which are compatible with the XAC to play on Android within a separate post as examples and a starting point to get playing.

For more information as to what joysticks and buttons can be used with the XAC, see our posts about the XAC joysticks we use at SpecialEffect: https://gameaccess.info/how-to-use-joysticks-with-the-xbox-adaptive-controller/ and also the switches we use: https://gameaccess.info/how-to-use-switches-with-the-xbox-adaptive-controller/. 

If you have any questions, do contact us.

Xbox Adaptive Controller Compatible Android Games

Screenshot of Asphalt 9 Legends showing vehicle approaching a turn at speed.
Screenshot of Asphalt 9 Legends showing vehicle approaching a turn at speed.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) is a device that acts as a hub to connect compatible joysticks and buttons to create a customised controller. In an accompanying post to this one,  we look at how the XAC can be used on Android devices. In this post, we will be outlining some of the controller compatible games on Android which can be played with a compatible gamepad and, consequently, the XAC.

This is not an exhaustive list but should give you a good starting place for mobile game options on Android that have controller support. We will also list the touchscreen controls for comparison. Links to the Google Play store page for each game (unaffiliated) are included in their section. Please be mindful that some may cost real money to purchase.

Depending on phone capability and external hardware you may be able to stream the game onto your TV for a larger screen.


Please note that these games may contain optional in-app purchases or advertisements. In-app purchases can be disabled within your device settings to prevent accidental or unwanted purchases.


Ashphalt 9 Legends

Asphalt 9 Legends is a controller compatible racing simulator game by Gameloft with various control schemes available, including ‘TouchDrive’ which lets players choose the direction the car will take from onscreen options or by steering manually in a more traditional way. Both of which are options whether you would like to use a touchscreen device itself or an XAC (or alternative compatible gamepad).

Available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gameloft.android.ANMP.GloftA9HM

Screenshot of Ashphalt 9 Legends' title screen and gameplay.

Controls


Touchscreen: Tilt to Steer, Tap to Steer or ‘TouchDrive’ are all options and all include double-tap options for 360 and Shockwave tricks. You can also adjust the steering or swipe sensitivity and turn on/off horizontal tilt in the settings menu.

Gamepad controls: Either gamepad TouchDrive or manual steering modes are also available when using an XAC (or alternative compatible gamepad). The controls are listed below with the Xbox controller inputs followed by the PlayStation inputs in brackets.

Gamepad Controls

A, RB or RT (Cross, R1 or R2) = Nitro 

B (Circle) = Respawn

X, LB, LT (Square, L1, L2) = Drift

D-pad/Left Stick = Steer (or select option in TouchDrive mode)

Right Stick = Toggle Camera

Double Press X, LB, LT (Square, L1, L2) = 360 Spin

Double Press A, RB, RT (Cross, R1, R2) = Shockwave


My Little Pony: Magic Princess

My Little Pony: Magic Princess is a town-building adventure game by Gameloft that enables a controller or XAC joystick to act as the cursor control for the game. Follow the various tasks, rescue your pony friends and design the towns as you want.

Available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gameloft.android.ANMP.GloftPOHM

Screenshot of My Little Pony: Magic Princess' title screen and gameplay.

Controls


Left Stick = Moves Cursor

A (Cross) = Select

B (Circle) = Cancel

Y(Triangle) = Collect produce from shops

X (Square)= Direction option for the Stargazer minigame


Sonic Classic

Sonic the Hedgehog Classic is a controller compatible game by SEGA. It is a side-scrolling platform game which retains the retro control features. Move Sonic left and right and jump to various platforms as you zoom through the game at super ‘sonic’ speed (sorry, that pun was too good to pass up).

Available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sega.sonic1px

Screenshot of Sonic the Hedgehog Classic gameplay.

Controls


Left Stick (or D-Pad) =  Moves Sonic Left or Right

A (Cross) = Jump


Rayman Adventures

Rayman Adventures is a controller compatible adventure platform game by Ubisoft Entertainment. It is an adventure game in which Rayman and his friends must rescue the Ancient Eggs and revive the Sacred Tree.

Available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubisoft.raymanadventures

Screenshot of Rayman Adventures' title screen and gameplay.

Controls


Left Stick = Moves character

A (X) = Select/Jump

B (Circle) = Cancel/Attack

Y (Triangle) = Jump

X (Square) = Attack

Note: Joystick and buttons required in combinations at the same time.


Oceanhorn 1

Oceanhorn is an action-adventure mobile game by FDG Mobile Games GbR. The game features a joystick and one button gameplay or via onscreen touch controls. Follow the leads to uncover the mystery behind your father’s disappearance, solving puzzles and defeating enemies along the way.

Available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FDGEntertainment.Oceanhorn.gp

Screenshot of Oceanhorn's title screen and gameplay.

Controls


Left Stick = Move

A button = Action (either Jump/ Attack/Pick-up)


Hill Climb Racing 1

Hill Climb Racing 1 is a cartoonish driving game by the developer Fingersoft. Drive up and down hills and collect the gas canisters to increase your fuel gauge. Be careful not to drive too quickly and crash. Use the Left Stick or the D-pad to act as your accelerator and brake in this high-speed two-button race.

Available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fingersoft.hillclimb

Screenshot of Hill Climb Racing 1 gameplay.

Controls


On the Left Stick or D-Pad

Move stick Left (or Left D-Pad button) = Brake

Move stick Right (or Right D-Pad button) = Accelerate


Minecraft

Minecraft is a creative open-world game by Mojang Studios. Explore infinite worlds, team up with friends and create epic buildings or play solo and mine for the rarest minerals. Some accessibility features to note include an auto-jump, remappable controls, and the ability to resize targets for Touch Controls mode.

Available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mojang.minecraftpe

Screenshot of Minecraft's title screen and of teh controller setting in the Android game.

Controls


Minecraft on mobile has three control settings: Touchscreen, Mouse and Keyboard (if connected via Bluetooth) and Controller mode. Since this post is mainly covering the XAC compatibility, I will only be giving the Standard controller/XAC layout. The other modes are explained in further detail within the specific game settings menu. The game also enables you to alter joystick sensitivity and remap button mappings to suit your needs.

Left Stick = Move

Right Stick = Camera control

A (Cross) = Jump

B (Circle) = Sneak/Fly down

X (Square) =Crafting

Y (Triangle) = Inventory

LB (L1) = Cycle Item left

LT (L2) = Use/Place Item

RB (R1) = Cycle Item right

RT (R2) = Attac/Destroy

D-Pad Up = Toggle Perspective

D-Pad Left = Emote

D-Pad Right = Open Chat

Share (Touchpad) = Notifications/Mob Effects

Left Stick Click =  Sprint

Right Stick Click = Fly Down Slow


Crossy Road

Crossy Road is by Hipster Whale. Play as a chicken trying to cross an increasingly busy road (as well as a few railways and rivers added in).

Available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yodo1.crossyroad

Screenshot of Crossy Road gameplay.

Controls


The game features few controls with the main emphasis being on timing. Move your chicken left or right to get in the correct position and, when the coast is clear, quickly cross.

You can choose to play the game entirely with a joystick, the D-pad or a combination of those and an external switch to jump forward.

Left Stick = Move Chicken left or right and up to cross

D-Pad Left = Emote

D-Pad Right = Open Chat

A (Cross) = Cross/Jump forward


We also have a post on how the new iOS 14 update enables the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) and its peripheral joysticks and buttons to work for games which have Controller Support and gave some examples of compatible games: https://gameaccess.info/how-to-use-an-xbox-adaptive-controller-on-ios-14/ 

For more information as to what joysticks and buttons can be used with the XAC, see our posts about the XAC joysticks we use at SpecialEffect: https://gameaccess.info/how-to-use-joysticks-with-the-xbox-adaptive-controller/ and also the switches we use: https://gameaccess.info/how-to-use-switches-with-the-xbox-adaptive-controller/. 

If you have any questions, do contact us.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons | Controls

Screenshot of reaction use in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Screenshot of reaction use in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

From offering the ability to customise your own island, to the relaxing atmosphere of fishing on a beach, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a highly requested game for us to help people to access this year.

Although the game does not have accessibility settings for us to describe, its slower pace could enable a range of players to access it. It does still require quite a lot of the controller inputs to be able to play, so we have compiled a list of the main game controls below for reference, dividing them into the different parts of the controller for the general controls, and we have also listed how these are used when swimming.

Please note that new seasonal updates may add extra features not covered below.


Joysticks

Left Stick & A (Bug Net held) = Slow Walk- used to slowly walk towards bugs

Left Stick = Move your character and navigate menus

Left Stick & B = Run

Right Stick = Move up and down to control the Camera. Enables you to look up at Balloons


Screenshot of player sneaking up to catch a bug in the game.
Bug Catching

Main Buttons

The Main Buttons, A, B, X, and Y are essential to gameplay as they open the main Pocket Menu and enable you to fish, collect items, shake trees, and shoot down balloons to name but a few. The Plus and Minus buttons are required to save the game, to occasionally confirm purchases or open Nook Miles + (when unlocked). They are less used but very important buttons for gameplay.

X = Pocket Menu

Y = Pick up/Rearrange Items in Options Menu

A = Select/ Action/Use Held Item

B = Cancel

Y = Rearrange Items in Options Menu


+ = Open Nook Miles +/Purchase (in store)/Confirm (when selling/donating items)

= Save Game

Screenshot of the Pocket Menu in the game.
Pocket Menu

Shoulder Buttons

The main use for the Shoulder Buttons for most players is to open the Nook Phone. If you are talking with friends in game, the messages option opens an on-screen keyboard where you can type to chat to friends either with the touchscreen or use the Left Joystick and confirm with A.

R = Opens Messages

L = Photo Filter

ZL = Opens Nook Phone

ZR = Opens Reactions Wheel


Screenshot of the reactions wheel menu.
Reactions Wheel Menu

Directional/ D-pad

The D-pad is mainly used to navigate menus within the game and access items quickly. Within your home, the D-pad also enables you to access your storage, open a top-down view to rearrange furniture and change the lighting of the room.

Up = Y Ring/Navigate Menus (within the home, it will change lighting)

Down = Cancel/Away/Navigate Menus (within the home, it will enable you to rearrange furniture)

Left = Swap Held Item/Navigate Menus

Right = Swap Held Item/Navigate Menus (within the home, it will open storage)


Screenshot of the Y-Ring Menu.
Y-Ring Menu

Swimming

With the Summer update, the sea has been opened for exploring. Wear your favourite swimsuit and go diving for new creatures. There’s an ocean out there to explore, and you can explore it more quickly by pressing A to swim faster. You can even dive for treasure, and by treasure, we mean sea creatures to house in your Museum.

Left Stick = Swim slowly.

Right Stick = Controls the Camera.

X = Main Menu

Y = Dive

A = To enter Sea/Swim faster/Select

B = Cancel

Screenshot of player having caught a Sea Star when diving.
Diving for Sea Creatures

We hope that listing these controls has been useful for reference. If you have any questions, please visit the ‘Contact Us’ page.

How to Use The Xbox Adaptive Controller on iOS 14

Screenshot of the Bluetooth settings showing how to select the XAC and what it states when sucessfully connected.

The release of iOS 14 now enables the Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) to be recognised as a compatible game controller. This means that game apps that include gamepad controller input as an alternative to touch, such as with an MFi (Made For iPhone/iPod/iPad), Dualshock 4 or Xbox Wireless gamepad controller, can now also be played using the XAC.

This post will talk through how to connect the XAC to your iOS 14 device.

Step 1. Turn on Bluetooth

Once your compatible iOS device has been updated to iOS 14 (go to Settings>General>Software Update to do this), open Settings, navigate to Bluetooth and turn On.

Screenshot highlighting the Settings app on iOS and a screenshot highlighting how to turn on Bluetooth within the Settings app on iOS.

Step 2. Turn on and sync your XAC

Turn on your XAC using the Guide button on the top of the controller (the button with an Xbox ‘X’ icon on it) and press the Sync button to the right of the Y switch port on the back of the XAC. The light on the XAC should flash rapidly and you should see Xbox Adaptive Controller listed in the Devices list on your iOS device:

Photos showing where the sync button is on the XAC and which light will illuminate when pressed.

Step 3. Pair your XAC

Select the discovered Xbox Adaptive Controller listed on your iOS device under Devices to pair it. Depending on your settings, you may need to enter your password to pair it and add it to My Devices.

Screenshot of the Bluetooth settings showing how to select the XAC and what it states when sucessfully connected.

Step 4. Set up your controls

Once paired, and if you haven’t already, plug in the combination of joysticks and buttons you require to play and open a compatible game. You should be able to play the game using the inputs on the XAC itself alongside your external joysticks and buttons connected to the XAC. Many games will require additional inputs alongside those found on the XAC itself, so joysticks and switches will need to be added for these. Different games will require different inputs. An online search may help to discover what these are, or you may need to install and open a game to find out.

Top down view of a potential set up using the XAC, Ultrastik joystick and buddy buttons to work with controller supported games.

Step 5. Finding compatible games

Apple now has the Apple Arcade, a subscription service which includes access to a range of games that support gamepad controllers. If you have Apple TV, the app can stream your game to your TV screen (when you have the necessary accessories) to enable a more relaxed or shared gaming experience, such as with console gaming. Games in the Apple Arcade which have controller support will have this listed on their page in the app store, both at the top of the page alongside other features and also further down in the ‘Supports’ section:

Screenshot highlighting where in the app information you can find whether a game is Controller Supported.

Outside of Apple Arcade there are paid for and free games which can be played using the XAC. However, the rest of the app store beyond Apple Arcade games doesn’t have a fixed way to list whether controller support is available for games. As a starting point, we’ve listed below some games we’ve found that do have controller support and included links (unaffiliated) to their pages on the App Store:

For more information as to what joysticks and buttons can be used with the XAC, see our posts about the XAC joysticks we use at SpecialEffect: https://gameaccess.info/how-to-use-joysticks-with-the-xbox-adaptive-controller/ and also the switches we use: https://gameaccess.info/how-to-use-switches-with-the-xbox-adaptive-controller/. 

If you have any questions, do contact us.

How to Update a Titan Two Adapter

Close up of a Titan Two plugged into a laptop.
Photo of a Titan Two Adapter

Overview

At SpecialEffect we often use a Titan Two Adapter within our work. We have previously written posts highlighting some of the features we use most frequently, such as its role in running voice control scripts and in allowing us to use controllers to work on different platforms.

A new Titan Two Adapter requires a few steps to set it up correctly, one of which includes updating it. For the best results, you will also need to periodically check that its firmware and software are up to date. This post describes how we do this as well as how we further configure the adapter.

Please see our other posts if you are interested in how we use the Titan Two in our work and how you might utilise it.

Updating the Titan Two

Step 1. Download and install theTitan Two software (GTuner IV) from the Titan Two website:

Screenshot of the downloads page for the GTuner software

Step 2. Select Extract All and select your file location:

Screenshot of the downloaded zipped file highlighting the extract all button.

Step 3. Double click on the Gtuner application to open:

Screenshot of the extracted GTuner application.

Step 4. Check for a GTuner software update: Click Tools > Check for Updates (without the Titan Two plugged in):

Screenshot of the route to find the 'check for updates' option in GTuner.

Note: Sometimes a warning message appears as Windows doesn’t recognise the application. If you have downloaded from the GTuner download on the Titan Two website, click More info > Run anyway.

Screenshot of the Windows defender message which may appear. An arrow highlights how to open more info.
Screenshot of the Windows defender message which may appear. An arrow highlights how to run the file.

Step 5. Plug  the Micro USB cable included with the Titan into the  ‘Prog’ port:

Photo of the Titan Two adapter with the Prog port highlighted.

Step 6. Connect the Titan Two to a PC via the USB cable provided. You should see a light appear next to the letter P to the right of the display. 

Note: The Titan Two adapter works best with the quality of USB micro cable provided in the package with the device. It may not work well with other USB micro cables:

Photo of the Titan Two adapter plugged into the laptop via the Prog port.

Step 7. Check for a firmware update. This is the same as Step 4 but with the Titan Two plugged in.

To do this, click Tools > Check for Updates. GTuner will then check for firmware updates and inform you when everything is up to date:

Screenshot of the GTuner software when you run 'check for updates'.

Once you have finished programming the Titan Two, remember to plug the USB cable into its ‘Output’ port before using it.

Further Configuring the Titan Two

The following steps are optional, but we apply them when setting up our Titan Two adapters for reliable use.

Step 1. Configure Titan Two adapter.

Go to Device Configuration (bottom right corner of GTuner next to Device Memory slots) > Recall Loaded Memory slot (scroll down to get this on right hand side of GTuner):

Screenshot of the GTuner software showing how to open Device Configuration and click Recall Loaded Memory slot.

Step 2. Finalise the update by disabling memory slot selection using the controller. We tend to turn this option off to prevent accidental profile shifting during standard gameplay.

To do this, go to Device configuration (bottom corner of GTuner) > Disable memory slot selection using the controller (ensure this is ticked):

Screenshot of the GTuner software showing how to open Device Configuration and click 'Disable memory slot selection using the controller'.

Once you have finished programming the Titan Two, remember to plug the USB cable into its ‘Output’ port before using it.

Once the device is set up, you can find more information on the GameAccess site about the ways in which it can assist with video game access, by searching via the Titan Two tag.

Hopefully you have found this guide useful, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the Contact Us page if you have any questions about updating the Titan Two Adapter.

Super Mario Odyssey | Controls

Image showing the Two Player control scheme.
An image of the Super Mario Odyssey menu screen. It shows the option for 2 player as well as the action guide and option menu.
Super Mario Odyssey menu screen

Super Mario Odyssey [PEGI 7] is a Nindendo Switch exclusive 3D platformer game with several control options including ‘Assist Mode’. Assist Mode is similar to ‘Mellow Mode’ in Yoshi’s Crafted World.

In this post we will look at this mode and also the controls used to play.

Standard Mode

In Standard Mode you must explore the kingdom to find the hidden and not-so-hidden moon pieces. If you fall from a height, you lose coins and a life and Mario will restart from your last checkpoint.

Assist Mode

You can switch at any time between Standard Mode and Assist Mode by pressing +, then Options, and Choose Mode.

Assist Mode gives you guidance by way of arrows. You start with double the health of Standard Mode (six health points instead of the standard three).

If you fall from a great height with Assist Mode on, you’ll be brought back in a bubble to where you fell off having lost only one health point. Don’t worry though, as you regenerate health when you stand still in this mode.

When swimming, there’s no air meter.

You’re given longer to complete time trials (with completion times varying according to trial).

The Action Guide

Super Mario Odyssey has a list of the controls scheme and special controls which can all be found in the Action guide. To access the Action Guide, simple press + when already playing a level to bring up the pause menu, and scroll down to select Action Guide. The guide shows you which buttons to press as well as has an image depicting the action on screen.

The Action Guide is a great reference to help a player remember what combination of buttons will do which action (even how to control a T-Rex!). However, this screenshot shows the basic control scheme for one player gaming. Some controls such as throwing Cappy can be used with motion controls or a button press, however motion controls can be turned off in the options setting.

Image of the button layout for single player mode. It shows which button presses or motions will act as what input.
One player button layout

Co-op Play

You can also opt for co-op play in two-player mode at any point by selecting Two-Player in the main menu. The Joy-Cons can be rotated and used sideways as player one and player two. Players can decide who will play as Mario and who will play as Cappy.

Two-player mode can be played in both Standard Mode and Assist Mode. The following screenshot shows the basic controls scheme of co-op two-player mode. 

Image of the button layout for 2 player mode. It shows which button presses or motions will act as what input.
Two player Co-op button layout

If you’re looking for more control walkthroughs and accessibility features, please take a look at the Games category.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by clicking on the “contact us” page.