Fightsticks have been around for a while now. The portable home fightstick rose to prominence in the mid-to-late 2000s and have been on a steady upward trend ever since.
More recently, there have been innovations in the fightstick world in the form of the Hitbox and Mixbox.
These fightsticks look familiar enough but are missing one crucial element: the joystick. Instead of a lever, you have buttons or keys like on a keyboard. Essentially, a stickless arcade stick.
What is the point of this?. Well, to put it simply. It allows for more precise inputs. In most cases, it gives you the advantage of someone using a fightstick with a lever. Whether or not this is fair is probably up to debate. In fact, Hitboxes have known to banned from tournaments.
In any case, you may be wondering what the difference between a Hitbox and Mixbox is. Do they do the same thing essentially? This article will compare the two leverless fightsticks, analysing the differences, and hopefully, if you’re in the market for one, help you decide which one to go for.
Mixbox Vs Hitbox Comparison
14.9 inches x 9.0 inches x 2.4 inches (38 cm x 23 cm x 6.2cm).
16 inches x 7 inches x 1¼ inches
5.5 lbs (2.5 Kg)
PS4, PS3, PC
PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch
What is a Mixbox controller?
The Mixbox controller is similar in shape to a fightstick. It has a sturdy metal case. The weight feels nice and hefty.
On the right-hand side, there are 8 OBSF-30 Sanwa buttons. As expected the quality of these buttons are solid with great responsiveness.
On the left-hand side, things get more interesting. Basically, there are 4 WASD keys that replace the joystick lever. These are Cherry MX mechanical Key Switches which are ideal for gaming. They’re precise and respond well. If you’ve ever used a keyboard to play fighting games then you’ll feel right at home.
Elsewhere, there is a slanted front panel that provides great wrist support and makes the Mixbox comfortable to hold.
Another great thing about the Mixbox is, if you get the universal edition, it supports most major platforms including PS4 Pro, PS4, PS3, Nintendo Switch, and even WII U.
What is a Hitbox controller?
The Hitbox opts for physical Sanwa buttons in place of the joystick. This feels more like familiar territory and is much closer to an actual fightstick.
Because of the sensitivity of Sanwa buttons, this allows for much quicker button inputs than if you were to use just a Sanwa JLF lever. There isn’t really a lot of science to this. In most cases, you press a button quicker than you move a joystick. That’s it.
There have been cases where Hitbox controllers have been banned from tournaments. This probably in response to Diago using a modded Hitbox called a Gastrobox in a tournament. Although, as you’ll see from the link this was based on false information.
What is the difference?
Functionally, both the Mixbox and Hitbox try to achieve the same thing. That is to allow for faster and more precise directional movement. Again, this is because they use buttons that are cleaner and easier, in some cases, to use compared to a joystick.
The difference between the two controllers is how they achieve this. The Mixbox opts for the style of ‘keys’ which is more representative of a keyboard and thus easier for keyboard players. The hitbox opts for Sanwa buttons which is more like a traditional arcade stick and so will probably appeal to both keyboard and people who use a joystick and want to make the switch to this style of controller.
In terms of comfort, I would say that the Hitbox feels slightly more comfortable. Don’t get me wrong the Cherry MX switches feel great but I don’t like the angle of the directional buttons. If they were rotated slightly 15° then it would be ideal. Fortunately, Mixbox did listen to feedback from other users and have released a version that rotates the arrow cluster slightly allowing for a more comfortable gaming experience.
I would say that, overall, Mixbox probably appeals more to 3D fighters, for example, Tekken, Soul Calibur, or Dead Or Alive. Hitbox can appeal slightly more to 2D fighters like Street Fighter but it can also hang with 3D fighters as well. So I guess, it really comes down to personal preference. Do you like the WASD style of buttons on the Mixbox? then get the Mixbox. Otherwise, the Hitbox is will suit everyone else.