Playdate Review: Handheld Monochrome Console Has a Crank

The Playdate is the latest mobile gaming device on the block and serves as the first mobile device from Mac software publisher Panic. Panic is known for publishing games like Firewatch and more recently, the indie darling Untitled Goose Game. Separating itself from retro emulation consoles and Steam Deck imitators, the black-and-white screened Playdate utilizes two buttons, a directional pad, and a mechanical crank (yes, a crank) that serve as the main controls for most games. The crank is a major selling point as it allows for different game mechanics – for example, a fishing game where you have to reel in your catch.

And as the device’s name suggests, the Playdate will deliver a weekly scheduled release of games developed by indie studios around the world. These devs include Diego Garcia (Casual Birder), Katamari Damacy’s Keita Takahashi (Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure), and Bennett Foddy (Zipper), to name just a few.