The Wii has had its fair share of accessories since its launch. If you browse the virtual shelves on the Internet you’ll most likely come across tennis rackets, baseball bats, zappers and steering wheels; but surprisingly there are hardly any third-party Classic controllers available to the Wii gamer.
As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life, and it is Snakebyte who plans to add some diversity with their Wired Retro Controller for Nintendo’s Wii console. It’s clear that the main competition for Snakebyte’s Wired Retro Controller is Nintendo’s official offering. The problem facing the official pad is with its oversized Super Nintendo form factor. Unless you have hands like ET, it just isn’t comfortable for the average gamer, who are today used to the comfort of an Xbox or PlayStation controller. Thankfully this has been addressed with the Wired Retro Controller, which has more thickness to it and thus making the pad a pleasure to grasp. Ironically the pad resembles a similar form factor to Super Nintendo’s rival at the time – the SEGA Mega Drive. The pad’s edges are much thicker than the 80’s console controller which makes holding it around the edges much more comfortable.
The buttons on the controller features the same layout found on the official pad, though it’s a disappointment that the materials used feel and look slightly on the cheap side. The materials used on the controller is a mix of matt and shiny white plastic (black is also available), while the face buttons feature slightly smaller solid plastic buttons, which is poor when compared to the larger, more solid, and aesthetically pleasing clear plastic buttons that are present on the official pad.
The controller’s cable exits the controller in a similar fashion to the official pad, from the bottom, and its length is just shy of 1 metre. However, its length isn’t too much of an issue here as you are just plugging the pad into the port at the bottom of your Wiimote, and the cable’s length is just enough to place the Wiimote on your lap or by your side. Like the official controller there are slots underneath to attach the Wiimote to the underside of the controller. Sadly though the device to attach the Wiimote does not come in the box. The Wired Retro Controller draws its power from your Wiimote, lighting up a reassuring red LED that is situated in-between the two analogue sticks.
Connected and powered up you’ll find the Snakebyte Wired Retro Controller to be responsive as you would expect it to be, both in the menus and during fierce Virtual Console gaming. I fired up my test title of choice – StreetFighter 2 Turbo on Virtual Console to test out its speed. A game like SF2Turbo needs responsive buttons and the Wired Retro Controller delivered in this aspect very well, while also being a pleasure to hold. Each button is easy to reach, while the D-Pad sits itself high enough to pull off any challenging combo.
Overall, the Snakebyte Wired Retro Controller is worth looking into if you’re after an alternative to Nintendo’s Official Classic controller. The pad is solidly built and is much more comfortable to hold than the official alternative. Sadly though, this controller is let down by its cheap looking materials and its high RRP of £19.99, compared to the official’s RRP of £17.99. With competitive prices online you may find the Wired Retro Controller at a price matching its rival, and if that is the case then the Snakebyte Wired Retro Controller is worth checking out.