Nice third-party peripherals are few and far between, which is why I let out a sigh of relief when I opened Nyko’s Wand Core Pak for the Wii. The Core Pak includes Nyko’s Wand remote and wired Kama controller, which are replacements for Nintendo’s Wiimote and Nunchuck, respectively.
Here’s the Marketing Fluff…
The Wand Core Pak includes all the essential pieces to get the most advanced Wii™ control set up available. The pak includes the award winning Nyko Wand featuring Trans-Port Technology, allowing you to enjoy all your favorite Wii titles with full motion support, pointer functionality and vibration feedback. The included Kama with rumble controller utilizes Nyko’s Trans-Port technology providing the industries first and only vibrating Nunchuck™ style controller. The Kama Controller is compatible with all Wii software that utilizes the Nunchuk™ attachment and requires no additional software or modification of the Wii hardware to work, simply plug and play. With the Core Pak now you can play your favorite Wii games and feel the vibration feedback in both hands.
I was surprised at how similar the Nyko controllers look to their Nintendo counterparts. Both remotes are very similar in size. The buttons have similar placement, but Nyko chose to use a square shape for the A, 1, 2, and Home buttons, as well as enlarge them slightly. The B button textured and the battery compartment piece is covered with a rubber-like material, presumably to prevent the Wand from slipping out of your constantly-sweaty/greasy nerd hands. The color scheme of the Wand is very similar to that of the Wiimote, with the exception that the 1 and 2 buttons are colored blue and the A button is colored red.
Upon initial inspection, the Kama looks like Nintendo’s Nunchuk, but you will notice a difference once you put it in your hand. The Kama is bulkier than the Nunchuk, which may be more ergonomic to some of the male gamers, but for this item size doesn’t make a real difference to me. The C and Z buttons are also much larger, almost twice as wide in the C button’s case, with both buttons being square shaped. The Z button has a small lip on the bottom, again presumably to keep your sweaty fingers on the button and not slipping off. Like the Wand, the Kama also features a grippy underside.
The Wand features Nyko’s Trans-Port technology which enables it to integrate seamlessly with Nyko’s other peripherals, such as the Pistol Grip. This enables the Wand to relegate its own controls to the external device. Using the Pistol Grip as an example, when you use the Wiimote with it you had to use a variety of awkward hand positions to reach the trigger mechanism in order to fire your weapon. Now, the Wand transfers the trigger control to the Pistol Grip’s own trigger.
The Trans-Port technology also transfers rumble commands from the Wand to the Kama, meaning that both controllers now vibrate. Awesome…
As far as motion control goes, the Wand is on par with the Wiimote. The Wand syncs up with the Wii just as easily as the Wiimote does and so far has not presented any glitches during gameplay (unlike some other third-party controllers I’ve played with, grrr.).
The Wand is priced five bucks less than the Wiimote (at $34.99), and the Kama is five less than the Nunchuk (at $14.99). Buy them both together in the Core Pak for $44.99, which is a steal compared to a new Wiimote and Nunchuk which you still have to purchase separately for some inane reason.
I suppose the only reason someone wouldn’t buy the Wand and Kama is because they love Nintendo products. Both controllers are less expensive than Nintendo’s counterparts, can be bought together (jeez what a concept), both vibrate (AWESOME!), and both work just as well as Nintendo’s boring plain controllers.