Do you like playing casual games on your computer? Do you own an iPhone or an Android device? Then how about forgetting about your keyboard and mouse and using your trusty old smartphone as a controller for games?
If it sounds to good to be true, you should give Wanderplayer a try. With Wanderplayer (still in beta), you can play 30 different games right on your computer (Windows or Mac) while using your smartphone as a handy remote control, preventing the need to squat or sit uncomfortably while trying to use the keyboard and mouse. Wanderplayer is very easy to install and use, and you can set up and start playing in about 5 minutes.
Setting Up Wanderplayer
To start, head over to wanderplayer.com and download the desktop version of Wanderplayer onto your Windows or Mac OSX machine. This is a tiny 1MB download, and the program, once running, takes up less than 4MB or RAM (on my Windows 7 machine).
Install Wanderplayer on the desktop, launch the Wanderplayer app on your phone, and watch how they magically find each other. Once this happens, the Wanderplayer icon on your desktop will turn yellow, and a message will pop up. Note that in order for this to happen, the computer and phone need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Since Wanderplayer is made for home use, this shouldn’t be a problem.
If you don’t like “My Android Phone” as your phone’s name, you can change it through the settings in the mobile app. You are now set up, and can start playing some games.
Playing Games With Wanderplayer
When you first launch Wanderplayer on your phone, a brief and friendly tutorial will appear, describing in 3 steps how to play games using the app. You will also have to enter your e-mail address, which will be used to make the feedback process easier (remember, it’s still in beta).
After going through the tutorial, you are ready for some real action. The app itself includes 4 different tabs: My Stuff, Play, Feedback and More. Let’s start with the most important one – Play. Here you can browse the list of 30 games currently available on Wanderplayer. It’s a bit of a guessing game, since there’s no description available for any of the games, but most of the names are self explanatory, and you can get some more information from the game icons, which describe the controls.
If at this point you tap on a game and the app tells you to install the desktop version of Wanderplayer, don’t be discouraged. Try again, or access a different area in the app and come back. It should then work without a hitch. Let’s say you decided to play Lego Grand Prix. Once you tap the game on the mobile device, a message will pop up on your desktop, and soon after, the game itself will launch.
The phone’s screen will now turn into the correct controller for the game. Each game gets its own controller. For Lego Grand Prix, you will get this controller:
But there are all kinds of different controllers available. Some are just a mouse pad, some are just buttons, and some have both a joystick and buttons.
Once the game has launched and you have the controller in your hand, you can start playing as if you were holding an actual joystick. The controller is surprisingly responsive, and there are no reception glitches whatsoever. It does take a bit of getting used to, and you may find yourself dying over and over again in your first few tries.
If at first you encounter some weird noises emanating from somewhere when you press buttons on the controller, don’t try to mute your desktop (I did!). You can turn those noises off through the mobile app’s settings (Disable Audio Feedback). Here you can also change the device’s name and disable background operation.
Where Does The Beta Status Come In?
As mentioned above, Wanderplayer is still in beta, and you may encounter some bugs along the way. For me, it was almost a smooth ride, except for the fact that some games that simply did not launch. I chose them through the mobile app, got the pop up window on my PC, and that was that. The majority of the games I tried, however, worked without a problem.
If you encounter a problem, a question or even want to give the developers a compliments, the feedback process is fairly easy. All you have to do is tap the Feedback tab on the mobile app, and choose which of these four you’d like to send.
The app will then take you through the feedback process, where you can report any bug you found.
Looking for more ways to use your smartphone as a remote control? Check out:
- The 7 Best Free Remote Control Apps for the iPhone
- Gmote 2.0 – Use Your Android Phone As A Media Center Remote Control
- Love Music? Learn How To Control Grooveshark From Anywhere Using Any Device [Chrome]
What do you think of Wanderplayer? Know of more ways to use your phone as a game controller? Share them in the comments.