Hands-on with Nyko's Wing Wii controller and Mega Man 9

I’m here in San Francisco today, eating delicious appetizers and playing Mega Man 9. Jealous? I thought so. I’ve also put my sweaty fingerprints all over their shiny new Wings, the wireless controller that Nyko is hoping will take the place of many gamers’ Wii classic controllers. Read on for impressions and more pictures, including Mega Man 9‘s title screen.

I think you could call this a review, but it’s worth noting that this isn’t the final hardware or driver so we’ll definitely take another look when they get that all figured out.

So they’ve loaded up their stations with some of the twitchiest games out there. Super Ghouls and Ghosts is next to two Street Fighter II stations, and in between is the frustration-alicious Mega Man 9. This leads to a little bit of trouble because these are the instant-death, no-second-chance games that reward extremely precise controls and punish the slightest delay, and it’s difficult to say when it’s you and when it’s the controller that made you die (kind of like the original).

The controller itself is well-put together, very light, and pretty small. If you’ve got big hands it might feel undersized but it’s definitely a better option than the diminutive classic controller or a wiimote in that department. It’s about SNES-controller-size, but thicker and with prongs facing you, so you kind of hold it like a Dreamcast controller. The buttons are nice and push-y, maybe slightly mushy but responsive enough for me.

It connects via a little attachment for your wiimote which they’re saying will work with the Wii MotionPlus. When I started it from zero it synced up instantly and with no issues. The unit on Mega Man 9 had some desyncing issues, but the others didn’t and Chris, the Nyko guy I was talking to, said that the drivers were still being finalized and they were squashing those desyncs as we speak.

The D-pad is a little slippery, and while I may not be a wizard at Street Fighter, I know how to do a Shoryuken and I was having a little trouble. Nothing that wasn’t alleviated by a little practice, but it reminds me of the Dreamcast’s D-pad, which could have been better. They say they’re modifying the D-pad to give it a little more texture.

I’ll get to the point: this is a nice little controller, and the wireless works just fine as long as you don’t get the same unit I was using on MM9. The others worked perfectly well. At only $30 I’d say this is an easy product to recommend; if you’re a big virtual console nut you’re going to want two and at that price it’s not an issue. They’ll be available in early October.

Mega Man 9, by the way, is awesome and super hard. I couldn’t get to the boss on either of the stages they had available, but with a little practice and a non-buggy unit, I bet I could have done it.