The 2023 Snack Box MICRO is a small but mighty Battle Stick – Liukin

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Written By techgiga

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The Snack Box MICRO 2023 is a compact version of the all-buttons game-style fighting controller. it’s so compact that I wondered how well it would work for me. At ten inches long and five inches wide (and a height of less than three-quarters of an inch), he is so small that I can almost cover his entire face with one hand. That size worried me that it would be too small to play comfortably after using the much larger Victrix Pro FS 12 in recent months, and using larger fight sticks for some time before that. Little did I know that its compact size would end up being my favorite element of this amazing controller.

Having really gotten into it in the last couple of years, I’ve been playing around with what seems best for input styles. Accuracy was what I’m looking for. The control pads and fight sticks worked well for directional inputs, but I found that nothing compared to the all-button style. Testing Victrix got a lot of things working, and moves that were constant headaches on other controllers suddenly worked (with a little practice). Even so, I still had to learn the arcade-style button layout, which meant hitting the wrong attack buttons or losing my hand position on the controller. Sometimes it was a button too far left or right, resulting in some interesting stalls. So, I solved a problem only to find a new one.

The Snack Box MICRO 2023 did a great job of solving that problem for me, and its size helped. While I love the feel of the larger fight sticks and the feeling of having a giant control pad (I’m terrible at steel battalion, but did I ever love that controller?), there was so much free space for my hand to roam around the controller. Yes, I know all the buttons are in one place, but when you’re navigating by touch and have a larger variety of similar-feeling buttons to shuffle around, it can be easy to move your hand to the wrong place. It’s something I could have fixed with constant practice, but it’s also something I could easily get wrong in a heated match, even after I got good at it. My hands shake when I’m stressed, after all.

The small size of the Snack Box MICRO 2023 meant that you could feel the edges of the fighting stick with your wrist and hand depending on where you rested them. The bottom right corner of the controller would be in the bottom right corner of my right hand. Same treatment for left hand. If my hand felt anything other than that angle, then I knew I had put my hands in a different position and should adjust. It seems like a small thing, but when you’re learning a whole new control scheme, something like this can help you get to grips with the controller as you familiarize yourself with it. It was a big help to be able to use my Roman Cancels and Blasts Guilty Gear Effort – buttons that might as well have been on another planet while he was using the bigger stick.

That smaller size also worked well because it allows me to easily adjust the position of the stick and find a place that is most comfortable for me to use. I don’t have a dedicated place to set up the controller while gaming in my room. I usually sit on the bed instead of at a desk. So this meant that the larger sticks had to sit on my lap, which, while functional and quite comfortable, meant that the controller had to stay in a specific position. There isn’t much ability to move it to better accommodate how my wrists or fingers move.

The Snack Box MICRO 2023 is small enough that I can make small adjustments to the way it sits on my lap, allowing for better wrist rotation and finger tapping. For example, enter Potemkin Buster Guilty Gear Effort it requires you to make a semi-circular motion from front to back, then forward again. Despite a lot of practice, my inputs were unreliable at best mainly due to how my wrist rotates and how natural it is to hit my fingers on the buttons. I naturally drum my fingers from pinky to index finger, which worked quite well when fighting on the right side. On the left though I have to twist and turn my wrist to get it right. That’s hard to do when the controller is flat, but if I put it at a slight angle, I can make the move pretty reliably. That was only possible because of this little light controller and how easily I can move it.

Image courtesy of Danny Valencia (Instagram, Twitter). Artwork courtesy of Saf (Instagram, Twitter).

It helps that the buttons also gently cup your fingers, helping to keep it in place. The stick has concave out-of-the-box keys that feel soft, but have minimal grip. I don’t know much about the intricacies of fight stick buttons, but I do know that the way these buttons keep your fingers oriented smoothly by simply curling them around the finger, and the fact that they have a bit of a grip, has helped hold my fingers in place while getting to know the club. The buttons also have a slightly softer feel to the press, which was nice, while still maintaining that delicious clicking sound that my brain loves when playing fighters.

The good thing is that this controller works on almost everything, so once I get comfortable with it, I can connect it to so many different systems. It works with PS4, PS5 and even PS3. Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S are covered, as is Nintendo Switch. I can connect it to my computer or even my Steam Deck if I want to. It will even connect to my Android device if I really want it to. Honestly, I used to have several different fight sticks for all the different systems in the house, but now I can just use this one and I’m good to go.

The Snack Box MICRO 2023 also has other interesting features. I chose the artwork case version which allows me to customize the art on the stick. I haven’t done that yet because I like being able to see the inner workings of the controller through the frosted casing. There’s also an LED lighting system around the buttons that lights up when you press them, creating a fun display that’s also useful if you want to look down and see why an input went one way or another. Seeing the wrong button glow was a fun learning experience. Watching everything light up while doing a Sky Potemkin Buster also makes an already amazing experience that much better.

Image courtesy of Danny Valencia (Instagram, Twitter). Artwork courtesy of Saf (Instagram, Twitter).

You can also set the lights to your liking with an app that lets you adjust the controller. You can change the brightness, play with the colors and choose different animations with it. While you’re there, you can also play with the Simultaneous Opposite Cardinal Directions (SOCD) system, although I’m not at a point where I want to make changes to the way it works. Just know that holding forward and backward sets the directions to neutral so you can’t walk and charge backward at the same time. That was good enough for me.

The closest thing I have to a stick complaint is that the MICRO 2023 Snack Box only comes with a six-foot cord. Don’t get me wrong, this is a strong and durable USB-C cable. The controller even has a little loop and Velcro strap to attach to the side to reduce wear and tear on the device’s USB port (quite a design decision there, honestly). It’s just that my TV is across the room and I have to sit close enough for this cable to reach. If you had a setup where you sat closer to your screen or TV, that would be fine, but a longer cable would be nice. Since it’s a USB-C cable, you can swap it out for another one (for example, from another battle device you also have lying around), so it probably won’t be a big deal for many people.

The Snack Box MICRO 2023 is just a solid little controller overall, especially for someone like me just learning to use the stick. Its compact size helps keep my fingers on the right buttons and allows me to adjust the stick to make certain inputs more comfortable. The concave buttons continue to help hold me in place and feel good to press. Finally, the controller looks really cool in action with its lights and the ability to see right into its electrical innards. It’s easily my favorite fighting stick, and with its size adding that ease of portability, I’m excited to start taking it to the locals to start making Potemkin Buster. Let’s see if they like the light show as much as I do when it’s on because I stepped on them.

Pre-orders for the next batch of 2023 Snack Box Micro battle sticks are open now at Junk Food Arcades.

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