Perhaps the most attractive feature the Nintendo Wii has to offer is its capability to play retro games from consoles of the past. With the Virtual Console, Wii owners have the option of downloading these classic games onto their system. Unfortunately, not all games downloaded this way can be played using the Wii remote. Only the Nintendo-branded Classic Controller is able to claim universal compatibility with Virtual Console games. However, now with the introduction of the Nyko Wing Wireless Classic Controller, Virtual Console patrons have a second choice.
The Nyko Wing is wireless, unlike the Nintendo Classic Controller, which has to be plugged into a Wii remote to work. Nyko avoided having to keep the Wing tethered to a Wii remote by opting to use a wireless dongle adapter, similar to how the Nyko Kama Wireless Nunchuk operates. You simply plug the adapter into the bottom of the Wii remote and then hit its sync button. Hit the corresponding power button on the Wing, wait for a solid blue light, and you're all set to go. We found that our initial sync took a few attempts, but once it was paired to the dongle, we never had problems connecting again.
The second major difference between the Wing and the Nintendo Classic is the ergonomics of the actual controllers. The Nintendo Classic favors a somewhat unconventional oval-shaped design, while the Wing sports a more grip-oriented shape reminiscent of something like a DualShock 3 or Xbox 360 controller. That said, we can confidently say that playing games with the Nyko Wing is more comfortable of an experience than that with the Nintendo Classic. Regardless of the wireless freedom that the Wing is able to provide, the controller just felt better in our hands.
You'll find that buttons on both controllers are laid out similarly, the major differences being the spacing in between the rear shoulder buttons. Both controllers offer a sort of trigger-feel to those buttons, which we like.
A large concern for most gamers revolves around the performance of the D-pad (directional pad). Most retro games rely heavily on that interface and playing a game with a poor D-pad can ruin an experience. That said, we're happy to say that the D-pad on the Nyko Wing performs just as we'd expect. Our trials with games such as Mega Man 9 and Sonic the Hedgehog showed off its solid performance.
Another aspect of the controller we found impressive was the performance of the two analog sticks at the center of the Wing. Compared with the Nintendo Original, the sticks on the Wing felt much tighter and more precise. However, when applied in a real gaming situation, we didn't find too much a difference in terms of gameplay. In other words, it'll take a few sessions to get used to their unique response time. While playing Super Mario 64 on the Virtual Console, we were comfortable with the sticks after just 20 minutes of play.
The Nyko Wing requires two AAA batteries and comes with a pair to start you off. If you own rechargeable NiMH batteries, the Nyko Wing can charge these while still inside the controller. Simply plug in a mini USB cord into the port below the analog sticks and connect it to a powered USB port. A convenient LED light lets you know the charging progress on the batteries. The Wing will even work with no batteries if you keep it attached a powered USB port.
Overall, the Nyko Wing truly impressed us in almost every aspect. Its comfort, design, and performance are all top notch. We definitely recommend it over the Nintendo Original, especially for anyone who is a dedicated Virtual Console enthusiast.