The Razer Kitsune Is The Best Fighting Game Controller
Arcade-style fight sticks have traditionally dominated the competitive fighting game scene, but in recent times, gamepads have been gaining popularity among high-level players. However, a unique alternative has emerged in the form of leverless all-button fight “sticks,” commonly known as Hit Boxes. Hit Boxes, popularized by the company of the same name, have been gaining traction due to their distinct advantages. By utilizing four distinct buttons for directional inputs, Hit Boxes offer quicker and more precise movement control. Moreover, their ergonomic, keyboard-like hand placement provides additional comfort for users. Although these controllers have been relatively rare on the market, Razer has entered the scene with the Kitsune and made significant strides in perfecting this innovative controller design.
The Razer Kitsune represents the company’s take on the Hit Box-style fighting game controller. It features the familiar layout with left, down, and right buttons aligned with your ring, middle, and index fingers, respectively. This layout simplifies executing complex maneuvers, such as quarter-circles, which become as easy as a swift two-button press. The “up” or “jump” function is assigned to a thumb button, resembling the spacebar on a keyboard, while the rest of the buttons follow the standard configuration of a traditional fight stick. However, it’s the small details that set the Razer Kitsune apart, including its slim form factor, ideal dimensions, and, most importantly, the mechanical switches used for its buttons.
Let’s delve into the mechanical switches, a feature that significantly influences the controller’s performance. Razer has leveraged its expertise in crafting mechanical switches for gaming keyboards and implemented the same technology in the Kitsune. The controller uses low-profile optical linear-style switches with a short throw distance and actuation point of 1.2 mm, facilitating lightning-fast inputs. If you’re familiar with Cherry MX Reds or Razer’s proprietary Yellow switches found on gaming keyboards, you’ll find the Kitsune’s buttons equally smooth and responsive.
The sensation of pressing buttons on the Kitsune resembles the “thock” of a mechanical keyboard, in contrast to the plastic-y click of buttons on a traditional arcade cabinet. This might deviate from the Sanwa pushbuttons, frequently found on high-end arcade sticks, which may raise concerns among purists. However, combining the best features of gaming keyboards with a fighting game controller is a welcome innovation. Optical mechanical switches offer rapid responsiveness and a satisfying button press.
The utilization of keyboard-like mechanical switches is the key to achieving the Kitsune’s slim profile. The controller is as thin as a 13″ MacBook and just wide enough to sit comfortably on your lap. The chassis also provides palm rests, ensuring a comfortable gaming experience. Additionally, the Kitsune is lightweight, weighing in at approximately 1.76 lbs (800 g), making it effortless to carry around. Along with the leverless design, the ultra-slim form factor and minimal weight make the Kitsune exceptionally portable, suitable for taking to local gatherings, meetups, or tournaments.
Despite its lightweight and compact design, the Kitsune is far from flimsy. The solid aluminum chassis imparts durability and density to the controller. While the material may show smudges and fingerprints, it certainly doesn’t feel cheap. The packaging even includes vinyl skins for added visual appeal and to mitigate visible smears. The top plate is removable, allowing for customization or DIY designs, expanding the controller’s versatility. The package also includes a long 10-foot USB-C to USB-A cable, and the Kitsune features a locking latch to secure the cord in place, preventing accidental disconnections. As a Razer product, it naturally incorporates Chroma RGB lighting, but the Kitsune does so subtly, with an RGB strip around the base, adding a touch of style. Lastly, the rubber padding on the bottom ensures that the Kitsune stays firmly in place on surfaces and on your lap during intense battles.
The Razer Kitsune is designed for use with PC and PS5 (officially licensed by PlayStation and tournament legal). It includes the PlayStation touchpad in the top-left corner, along with the Share, Options, Home, and L3/R3 buttons along the top. If you wish to use it with an Xbox, adapters are available to make it compatible with the platform when the Kitsune is set to PC mode. Unfortunately, there is no native PS4 support, which may disappoint users considering the wide usage of the PS4 in the fighting game scene.