Spectral Souls gets MOGA Pro Controller support on Windows Phone 8

The story of MOGA Pro Controller support for Windows Phone 8 has consisted of little else other than disappointment in the months following its March announcement. Microsoft touted Windows Phone 8’s support for the peripheral at the Game Developer Conference, where we actually played Drift Mania Championship 2 using the controller.

Somehow, the MOGA-enabled version of the game didn’t become available until June, several months after the controller arrived in stores. And since then, exactly zero Windows Phone games and emulators have included MOGA support. It’s like the March announcement was just a cruel joke.

The cruelty of that joke has just diminished, because a second game now supports the controller! Spectral Souls, the massive strategy RPG from HyperDevBox has been updated to work with the MOGA Pro Controller. We also know of at least one other app that will definitely support it upon release. Details after the break!

Spectral Souls

HyperDevBox’s sole Windows Phone 8/Windows 8 release actually started its life as a Playstation 2 game. As such, the developer chose to implement console-style virtual controls when porting it to touch screen devices. A more mobile-specific control scheme would have felt more natural, but it got the job done.

Those console-style controls are a blessing now that Spectral Souls supports the MOGA Pro Controller, however. Sync the game with the controller and you’ll be able to move characters and navigate menus with ease. The game uses four main buttons, and they map perfectly to the face buttons of the controller.

Spectral Souls is the only Japanese-style strategy RPG for Windows Phone 8. The detailed story revolves around a three-sided conflict between the established human army, a new rebel army, and an invading force of demons. As the tale unfolds, players will be thrust into battles against both humans and monsters alike.

The combat takes place on small battlefield maps. Each character has a certain range of movement and a unique assortment of attacks and skills they can draw upon in battle. It feels very much like Final Fantasy Tactics. The intricacies of combat can get pretty complex, but thankfully the game has both a tutorial and an extensive built-in manual.

Check out our original article for a more expansive analysis.

  • Spectral Souls – Windows Phone 8 – 575 MB - $12.99 – Store Link

MOGA Pro Controller certification issues

Neither Microsoft nor MOGA’s producer Power A have explained why so few Windows Phone 8 games support the controller just yet. Based on what we heard at GDC, you’d think that adding support would be quick and easy. And if that was truly the case, we’d see more than two controller-enabled games five months after the peripheral’s release. In fact, Power A tells us the controller doesn’t officially support Windows Phone 8 yet!

Spectral Souls’ recent MOGA-enhanced update does at least provide a clue into the quagmire. According to HyperDevBox:

“The MOGA controller coding was very easy to add and accomplished inside of two hours. However, Microsoft's review process [took] very long with little or no information returned, [delaying] this release over one month.I'm not [exactly] sure where the fault lies. It has to do with the MOGA and/or Microsoft documentation on Bluetooth being incorrect. I do not know if Microsoft's documentation was incorrect [and caused] MOGA to generate incorrect documentation. [Our update with MOGA Pro Controller support] almost did not get released due to this documentation bug.”

If HyperDevBox is correct, a Bluetooth issue of some sort seems to be the root of the MOGA support problem. Perhaps the issue came to light after GDC and neither Microsoft nor Power A is willing to open up about it.

We’ve reached out to Power A for comment and will update if they reply.


EmiPSX Vagrant Story

Vagrant Story running on EmiPSX

We recently wrote about EmiGens Plus, a Sega Genesis emulator from Andre Botelho. It turns out that Andre’s upcoming Playstation One emulator EmiPSX could be the third Windows Phone 8 game/app to support the MOGA Pro Controller! The private beta version already supports it, in fact. Unless the emulator runs into certification issues like Spectral Souls did, you can count on EmiPSX debuting with controller support when it launches.

Update: EMU7800, the Atari 7800 emulator, supports MOGA too. That makes three games/apps at present!

Thanks to Mark “Tippy” Tepper for the Spectral Souls tip!

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!