Nintendo Wii Reviews
NYKO Wii Gaming Accessory Round-up
By Stevie Smith Jan 23, 2008, 15:55 GMT
M&C takes a look a some of NYKO\'s Wii accessories. Credit: NYKO.
NYKO Wii Gaming Accessory Round-up
With leading videogame accessory and peripheral maker NYKO having emerged positively glowing from the recent CES show in Las Vegas – not least for the ‘Best of CES’ award it scooped for the innovative Wireless Nunchuck – we thought it would be a good time to put some of its existing third-party Wii accessories through their paces.
NYKO Net Connect (Amazon price: $15,99)
First up on the M&C Gaming product test is NYKO’s ‘Net Connect’ USB Network Adaptor, which is designed to give Wii gamers a quick and easy way to jump online and enjoy the downloadable delights of the Wii Shop Channel and Virtual Console.
Equipped with a standard Cat5 network cable and attaching to the Wii via one of the console’s easily accessible rear USB 2.0 ports, NYKO claims that the Net Connect adaptor requires no wireless network, no security code input, and, more importantly, no set-up complexities.
To put it succinctly, the Net Connect does not disappoint, even though it is a wired solution and lacks popular wireless glamour. Moreover, as a wired alternative, the Net Connect adaptor creates an online connection that operates both faster and more reliably than Wi-Fi… with the only potential downside being reliant upon how far you have to trail an Ethernet (or similar) network cable in order to link your computer modem/broadband router to the little device.
Usage is an absolute snip, a simple case of plug and play – quite literally. Having connected the adaptor and powered up our trusty Wii, it took only a matter of moments to click ‘Yes’ on a few introductory usage agreements before the Wii Shop, Internet browser, Virtual Console, Everybody Votes Channel, and more were swiftly opened to our eager eyes.
Downloading Channels and gaming content is quick and easy, as is the online purchase of Wii Points (credit card required) and, all-in-all, the Net Connect adaptor is an absolute no-brainer when it comes to those gamers looking for hassle-free online connection.
Furthermore, we’d also like to point out for those unlucky enough to be signed up to AOL (American Online) that NYKO’s net connection device works on AOL with no problems whatsoever, which is yet another tick in the plus column.
The NYKO Charge Station arrives on the accessory market as an ambitious attempt to kill not one, not two, but three birds of concern with one stone by addressing a selection of Wii issues in a single sturdy little package.
Specifically, although the Wii has been lauded for its motion-sensing controls and demographic-busting invention, having to periodically replace or charge a pair of AA batteries in the Wii Remote has attracted a degree of criticism.
The Wii Remote has also received its fair share of accusatory finger pointing thanks to its super smooth surfaces and snap-friendly wrist strap, which has seen Nintendo replacing straps with stronger alternatives and also recommending players integrate a textured Wii Remote grip housing to help maintain a secure grasp.
The NYKO Charge Station completely removes the need for disposable or externally charged AA batteries thanks to its snugly fitting NiMH rechargeable battery pack (2 are supplied), which clicks easily into the Wii Remote’s battery bay.
The Charge Station itself is able to house two Wii Remotes – allowing for continued play-and-charge use where applicable – with a single Remote receiving a full charge in 1.5 to 2 hours while two Remotes require 3.5 to 4 hours. A pair of LEDs positioned on the Charge Station indicate when the unit is charging (blue) and when the installed Wii Remote is fully charged (green).
The charging process is delivered thanks to NYKO’s pair of handy and unobtrusive replacement battery bay covers, which have golden connection points embedded into them. Those connection points marry up with similar (but raised) charge points located on both of the Charge Station’s Wii Remote slots. And, interestingly, both of the replacement battery bay covers also come equipped with a thoroughly sensible corrugated rubber surface to help promote improved grip during gameplay.
Intelligent design meets clean build quality and invaluable practicality with the NYKO Charge Station. It’s a great idea impressively implemented and the perfect way to keep gameplay constant while bypassing the need for changing out eco-unfriendly cell batteries or loose rechargeables.
NYKO Perfect Shot (Amazon price: $19,99)
Our final NYKO item up for appraisal is the Perfect Shot gun grip peripheral, which houses the Wii Remote and creates a more authentic light-gun style gameplay experience.
Although many gamers will be attracted to the unique design of the official Nintendo Zapper, the Perfect Shot offers up a viable alternative that delivers relatively solid shooting performance while also suffering with the same points of detraction evident in the Zapper.
We put the Perfect Shot to the test with the help of on-rails shooters Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Ghost Squad, both of which are games perfectly suited for adding the Wii Remote into a gun grip for improved immersion.
From a build and fit point of view, the Wii Remote sits snugly inside the Perfect Shot and is held in place at the end of the grip’s barrel by a swing-off security clasp. If, as with The Umbrella Chronicles, the Nunchuk is also needed to better view surroundings or increase interaction, the usual Nunchuk connector (now occupied by the Perfect Shot) is replaced by a secondary connector that’s located at the base of the grip’s handle.
All in all, the design is convincing enough and the trigger action doesn’t require an immense amount of effort to manipulate the Wii-Remote’s now covered ‘B’ button. However, the combined weight of the Perfect Shot and Wii Remote makes blasting somewhat of an effort after a while, especially when forced to play one-handed because the Nunchuk is needed. Also, the Perfect Shot’s rather chunky pistol grip might cause problems for those younger gamers with small hands.
Sadly, however, unchangeable in-game control configurations and their representative placement on the upper surface of the Wii Remote often mean that players will need to use their second hand to hold the Perfect Shot/Zapper’s barrel in order to access the ‘A’ button and D-pad, which sullies the overall experience – especially if required to juggle the Nunchuk too.
This is by no means a fault caused by NYKO’s peripheral, but rather by Nintendo’s Wii Remote design, which generally lends itself to increased interaction without any form of pistol grip extension – even the dual-handed Zapper. Therefore, while the Perfect Shot is perfectly decent and functions without fault, it’s hard to recommend it (or any gun grip) for anyone other than hardcore light gun aficionados desperate to feel a replica weapon nestling in their hand.
In closing, it’s important to stress that there’s a certain quality ingrained in NYKO products, a quality all-too often lacking in the offerings of other gaming manufacturers. From build strength straight through to presentation and packaging, there’s a tangible worth and value to NYKO’s expansive range that tells you well before usage that feeling shortchanged is something you’re unlikely to shoulder.
Given the wealth of rubbish available in the difficult-to-gauge accessories and peripherals market, that assured sense of reliability is a welcome yardstick for gamers looking beyond first-party devices delivered by the likes of Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.
Reviewer: Stevie Smith