Considering how ubiquitous the Wii is, you’d expect it to have as many third party controller solutions as the equally plentiful PS2. There aren’t too many Wii remote-alikes on the market right now, and while you might not have a huge selection to choose from at least one company is giving you a good alternative to Nintendo’s controllers. Nyko’s track record on the Wii is already excellent, with standouts like their can’t-live-without-it charging station and the Wing, a Virtual Console pad that is vastly superior to Nintendo’s cheapo Classic Controller. The Nyko Wand, though, might be their best Wii product yet.
I tested the Nyko Core Pak, which includes the Wand and Nyko’s answer to the Nunchuk, the Kama. Rather than split them up into separate reviews I’ll discuss them together, considering they are companion pieces of the same set that you’ll probably buy together anyway.
First, the Wand. Its appearance is functionally similar to the Wii remote but has styling similar to the Wing, in order to keep Nyko’s peripheral line consistent. The A, 1 and 2 buttons have the Wing’s distinctive red and blue color scheme, but more importantly, those buttons and power and home buttons are all square and just slightly larger than the Wii remote’s tiny circular ones. You’d think that this would drastically change the feel of the Wand, but after only a minute of playtime I wasn’t even registering the difference consciously.
In fact the Wand might just be a little more comfortable. The bigger buttons make sideways NES Virtual Console play easier on the thumbs, and it also improves using the Mario Kart wheel, if you even play with that piece of junk. The home button is just a tad easier to hit, and the power button is on the right side instead of the left, which was more natural for a righty like me. My only minor concern is the D-pad; it’s just a tad looser than the Wii remote’s, and like the buttons it’s a little bigger.
The B trigger is a huge improvement. It has a stiffer throw and is coated in textured rubber, which is great for long sessions with an FPS or lightgun game. The Wand’s battery door has a similar rubber grip, and while the Core Pak doesn’t include one of Nyko’s rechargeable batteries, you get those with the charge kit anyway.
In terms of performance the Wand is essentially identical to the Wii remote. I put the Wand through its paces in Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime Trilogy and The Conduit, and detected no loss of accuracy in either the accelerometer or the pointer. It seems to register the sensor bar at a slightly higher angle than the Wii remote but I got used to this fairly quickly. My only real complaint is with the Wand’s speaker—it’s about as crackly and tinny as the Wii remote’s, one area I had hoped Nyko would improve on.
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