Monday, April 28, 2008

Wii Wheel review

Okay, so here's the review of the wheel itself. The Mario Kart Wii review will be up Wednesday or Friday, depending on when I think I'm ready to write it.

There's two things the Wii has a lot of: Shovelware and controller shells. You likely reacted to the Wii Wheel's announcement with "why?". After all, Ubisoft and many other companies have already released their wheels. What makes Nintendo's so special? Because a wheel's a wheel, right?

Well, that much is true. This is just yet another wheel, and it does nothing more than any of the competition's models. It's just a plastic shell for the Wiimote to fit into. But still, it is by Nintendo, so it deserves a look.

First of all, the wheel feels really good when you hold it. It's got a decent amount of weight to it, and it's very sturdy. Definitely feels worth a lot more than Nintendo's asking price of a mere $10.


The important thing, though, is if it adds to the experience. And I can say for sure that yes, it certainly does. Not only is this more comfortable than holding a Wiimote naked or jacketed, the wheel itself is just fun. It's just so entertaining to swing the wheel left and right like a madman. It's almost as fun as actually playing a game with it! But then again, I'm insane.

The wheel is pretty nice to look at, too. With a plain, white front bearing no blemish but a hole for the Wiimote, it's clean presentation fits in perfectly with all of Nintendo's other Wii accessories. And to make things a little interesting, Nintendo even added a blue circle on the back, with the word "Wii" embedded in the middle. Very clean and iPod-like, which is a great design choice.

A nice splash of blue mimics the Wii's disc slot light, and
also looks pretty damn cool.

Getting the Wiimote into the wheel really isn't any problem at all. Just take off any jacket or sleeve your Wiimote may be wearing (No matter how fashionable), and slip it in. Four rubber grips in each corner hold the Wiimote in firmly, and taking it out of the wheel is as easy as pushing through the hole in the back. Of course, the downside to the rubber grips is it stifles the rumble a teeny bit, but not by much. Otherwise, the wheel carries the rumble perfectly.

Every function of the Wiimote is available when in the wheel. Well, except for the expansion port, but that's to be expected. Players can even navigate the Wii menu with the Wiimote in the wheel thanks to an IR port on the left side of the wheel.

The B button extension on the back fits perfectly over the Wiimote's counterpart, with no gap in between. Even the wrist strap comes through the hole in the back, though I question how useful it is. I can't exactly picture people accidentally whipping their Wii Wheels at the TV without the wrist strap fastened. Oh well, better safe than sorry, I guess.

Worry not, players, as the Wii wheel has a hole for the
IR sensor! Navigate both the menus and the road!

I can only think of two problems with the Wii Wheel, and they're both quite minor. First of all, the Wii Wheel doesn't go very well with Excite Truck, as that game requires the Wiimote to be tilted, not turned. You can still play it with the wheel, but it feels a little odd.

Secondly, the Home, + and - buttons are a little hard to access. Every other button can be easily reached with the player's thumbs, but you're likely going to have to stretch to reach the central buttons. Once, I had to pause in a hurry, and accidentally tilted the wheel when reaching for the + button. Needless to say, my kart freaked out and hit a wall. Maybe I need a Finglonger.


Ease of Use: 10/10
All you gotta do is push it in, and to take it out, just push it from behind. It's so incredibly simple that I can't believe they actually included an instruction manual in the box.

Appearance: 10/10
The Wii Wheel looks nice and clean, just like any other Nintendo Wii product or accessory. The blue circle on the back looks great, too, and helps keep the wheel from looking too plain.

Performance: 9.5/10
It feels so much better than holding just a Wiimote, and even holding it is fun. However, it's not quite compatible with Excite Truck, and the inner buttons are a little hard to reach. No big deal, though.

Value: 10/10
Really, I can't believe Nintendo's selling this for only $10. I expected at least $15 or $20. Don't be fooled by the price, this is a quality accessory.

OVERALL: 9.9/10
The Wii Wheel is just a great little accessory for the Wii. It feels better than a Wiimote, its solidly built, it costs only $10, and it looks good, too. This is leaps and bounds above the Wii Zapper in almost every way, and it definitely enhances the gameplay. An excellent addition to anyone's game cabinet.

Discuss this review on the forums

The Duck Has Spoken.


Anonymous said...

The importer kid on infendo clearly doesn't know how he's supposed to hold the wii-mote in excite truck or he wouldn't be trying to use the wheel.

Anonymous said...

sorry, I meant on gonintendo
It's late!

Anonymous said...

Hey Duck, are these your hands holding the Wheel on your blog? They’re so small, no wonder you can’t press + or -. Are you a kid, a dwarf or just have small hands?

Here’s a present, hope RMC post it on his blog:

PsychoDuck said...

Well, Anonymous #2, I actually have really big hands. Perhaps that picture is a little misleading...

As for that video, he (Or you) still didn't manage to change his angle in mid-air, which is crucial for lengthening or shortening the airtime of a jump, as well as landing all four wheels at the same time.

The Duck Has Spoken.

Anonymous said...


It's me, the_importer. I figured the fact that I linked my YouTube account would be a nice clue >_>

As for how I played with the Wheel, this is how I play with the Wiimote alone, so the Wheel as nothing to do with this. You fail to understand that Excite Truck is NOT a real racing game, crazy tactics is what this game is all about, not guts no glory in other words.

PsychoDuck said...

"You fail to understand that Excite Truck is NOT a real racing game"

Oh, really? That's funny, because the following quote comes straight from my Excite Truck review:

"Excite Truck wouldn't be much of an Excite-brand game without the series' trademark over-the-top gameplay. Realism? Bah! In Excite Truck, you're gonna be sending your 4X4 off cliffs, through trees and practically into the stratosphere. Twist and turn the controller to steer as you weave through crazily exaggerated locales such as Scotland, Mexico and Canada."

But that's besides the point. What I'm saying is that the Wii Wheel's intended use is based on how a steering wheel turns in a real car. In order to play Excite Truck properly, you'd need to twist and turn the controller in ways that a real steering wheel would not.

I'm not saying that the Wii Wheel is 100% incompatible with Excite Truck. That's a ludicrous statement. All I meant was that the Wii Wheel just adds a hunk of plastic to the outside of the Wiimote as far as Excite Truck's concerned. To reiterate, no, the wheel is not incompatible with Excite Truck. But, the way it is turned in order to play Excite Truck is completely idiotic looking.

Perhaps you can't understand exactly what I'm trying to say. Well, too bad if you can't. I've had enough of your arguing, and I really don't want to hear any more of it. Goodbye.

The Duck Has Spoken.