When I started getting into fighting games the last generation, I started off with a pad. I then made the switch to a fightpad, which I used for a while until I went to my first Evo and decided I wanted to learn on an arcade stick. For the past 4 years, I’ve been using an arcade stick for pretty much all fighting games (sans for a few like MK, Smash, etc. which I still preferred a pad) until now. I’ve seen HitBox around for a while now and glimpsed them at their booth last year at Evo. Back then I looked at it and assumed “meh, this probably isn’t for me” and went on my way.
Seeing the rise of popularity over the past year of HitBox style controllers piqued my interest again, so I decided to check it out and give it a shot. While talking to the guys at the booth, the reason why I was thrown off by the controller originally was that I didn’t like the jump button placement. But that’s because I was looking at the controller wrong. I thought you used your left thumb to jump, but according to them, the HitBox was designed with the intention of jumping with your right thumb!
After learning this secret tech, I gave the hitbox a go and, albeit a little hard to adjust to at first, it’s quickly becoming my favorite controller to use. I tested pretty much every fighting game I own, and the only reason I can see not to use the hitbox is if you play Zangief or any other character that needs a full circle input, and that’s because it just feels a little wonky to input. I’m certain with practice you can get them out on a HitBox, even I, after a little while, was able to semi-consistently get them out. One thing I definitely noticed is my inputs overall are more consistent, and some harder tech stuff is made a hell of a lot easier. For example, doing a Mishima wave dash into an Electric Wind God Fist seemed like an impossible feat for me before, but with the HitBox, I can get it 9/10 times (I don’t even play any Mishimas’ either).
From Street Fighter to Tekken, to Marvel, and everything in between, the HitBox works great! I even tried out Rivals of Aether, Slap City, and Brawlhalla, and the HitBox performed just fine! I’ll definitely be looking forward to trying out their Smashbox sometime in the near future 😉
So enough for how it plays, let’s get down to modding and components. I received one of the newer models with improved feet, which require a Phillips head screwdriver to get into. You’ll also need your standard Allen key to get in, as is such with most arcade sticks. The HitBox comes stock with all Sanwa buttons, which fit very snugly inside the case. I ended up swapping all my buttons for Seimitsu, which fit a little more loosely inside, but it hasn’t proved to be any issues so far. Getting the cables off the buttons WILL be a little difficult, as they are on tight and snug. I recommend needle nose pliers to get the job done. I actually ended up snapping one of the cables when I first opened mine up, and luckily the guys over here were able to take care of me which I greatly appreciate. I haven’t replaced the artwork on my HitBox (yet) but I was assured it was very easy, you’ll see white pins that you can pop out with a pen which will uncover the Plexi top. It comes with a detachable 5 pin dc female to USB cable that is thick and braided, so you don’t have to worry too much about damaging it.
Overall I’m quickly becoming a part of team HitBox and thoroughly enjoy using mine for games like Tekken 7 and MK11. I think if you’re on the fence, it’s definitely worth reconsidering. Once again, thank you to Shawn, Dustin, and Cameron who took care of me over at HitBox and helped me out, and stay on the lookout for a Smashbox review in the near future! If you wanna support them, they have a new project, The Hit Box Cross|Up, on Kickstarter!