While it's common to see fighting game players play on arcade sticks featuring authentic parts and a appropriately sized body, there are still folks who might be on a small budget and cannot afford the pricier models. Arcade stick manufacturers also make an affordable series of models where players can get an idea of how to play on stick while not worry too much about price. Hori's latest creation for the cheap fighting gamer is on the miniature side.
The Hori Fighting Stick Mini 3 is a PlayStation 3-only stick that's part of Hori's budget line of sticks which includes the Fighting Stick V3 and VX models. The FSM3 model is priced slightly less than the previous generation models likely due to the main draw: the small body size.
The overall body is smaller than that of the FS V3 and VX and can be comparable with the size of a small notebook but still has room to equip the basic necessities including lever, eight main buttons and start/select/home/turbo buttons. It's good to see they were able to put those components without having them obstruct each other. Big handed players might have a problem with it though but Hori likely intended the FSM3 to be made for younger players or those with smaller hands.
Being of small construction, it can be struggling for those who play it on their laps. The FSM3 does work best though when played on a flat surface such as a desk since it sticks really well even when doing some advance inputs.
The parts are nothing desirable since it's Hori's own budget hardware so no Hayabusa lever or Kuro buttons like in their Fighting Edge stick. After experiencing the quality of Hori's budget proprietary parts from previous sticks, the parts here are a decent improvement but not much. The lever has an awkward short throw distance. The buttons are smaller than common parts and after some time with it, I experienced some accidental button presses because of the size. New players won't mind the problems especially if it's their first sticks.
While it might not be preferable within a tournament environment, the more experienced player can find some worth in the FSM3 as a quick play up and play stick. If you are in a situation where bringing out a larger stick might not be a good idea, the FSM3 is easier to keep in a bag and take out.
The Hori Fighting Stick Mini 3 is definitely a stick for beginning players, especially those who might not have the money to afford the pricier types yet. It's a good stepping stone for those who are on the fence on using a stick or generally playing fighting games. The desire is limited for those who already have full-fledged arcade sticks too but it's all right for pick up and play and while on the go.
The Hori Fighting Stick Mini 3 is now available on Hori's US webstore for $39.99 USD.