Amazon has dropped a lot of hurdles for trying Amazon Luna, its cloud gaming service, today. If you’re a Prime member, you can now play a selection of games for free without needing to sign up for a free trial. Additionally, all US residents can now use the service without needing an invitation. While those two are great, the biggest hurdle being removed is the need for a physical game controller because it is now possible to use your phone as a virtual controller. While it is certainly not ideal, it at least allows many to try the service without needing to buy any additional hardware, like the Luna Controller.
To use the Luna virtual controller, simply install the Luna Controller app (Apple App Store | Google Play Store) on either an iPhone or and Android phone. This app was originally used to pair the physical Luna Controller to the Luna service, but now it can double as a virtual controller if you don’t have something like an Xbox or PlayStation controller to use. Of course, if you’re playing through a PC, Mac, or Chromebook, you can always use the computer’s mouse and keyboard.
Launching the virtual controller presents you with the standard layout that has all the buttons you would expect to find on a modern controller, including dual analog sticks, L/R triggers, and L/R bumper buttons. These won’t be as good as physical buttons, but they should get the job done. The virtual controller even offers haptic feedback using your phone’s vibration motor, as well as swipeable X/Y/A/B buttons, which can be configured in the app.
In addition to the standard layout, the app offers an alternate arcade layout. In the arcade layout, the trigger and bumper buttons are removed to give you a bit more room and a place to rest your fingers without tapping a button. This layout is meant for older games and simpler games, such as those available in Luna’s Retro Channel.
Lastly, there is also a virtual controller made specifically for driving games. The driving controller removes the dual thumbsticks and instead provides a single thumbstick for steering and an analog gas and brake lever on the right. It also has the option to enable tilt steering so that you can use your phone’s gyroscope to steer instead of the thumbstick.