XS Starter Pack

Mostly, Snakebyte's Wiimote equivalent performs well, with no complaints about wireless responsiveness or button feedback. Unfortunately, the D-pad is a different story. Firm pressure on any of the directional arrows caused it to respond very erratically, with the cursor in a grid puzzle game jumping every which way, including up and down when I only pressed sideways.

Admittedly D-pad accuracy is not an issue in many Wii games, but for those where it is this erratic behaviour is severely frustrating. It can be difficult to remember to press lightly when under pressure, and missing that last jump of a section it took you an hour to get to through no fault of your own makes those stories of throwing your Wiimote at your TV more believable.

Poor D-pads have, in my experience been a frequent failing with third-party console peripherals, but it's not the Wireless XS controller's only weakness. Rumble isn't quite as convincing as with Nintendo's remote either. For example, when navigating the Wii's main menus Nintendo's remote feels like something is pulling at your hand when you move between channels, whereas the rumble on Snakebyte's remote lasts longer but feels like vibration rather than resistance. Whether in menus or games it's usually just a less convincing experience.

Getting onto the nunchuk equivalent or Motion XS Extension, this is quite a bit larger than Nintendo's original and is shaped differently. Unfortunately, these changes are not a good thing. The new shape is less ergonomic, and the enlarged grip only makes the hand holding it tire quicker. The matte surface on the XS Extension's underside doesn't feel very pleasant either, and though the upper shoulder button has been enlarged compared to Nintendo's one, it's easier to make mistakes thanks not only to flimsy feedback but also both shoulder buttons being the same shape and the enlargement meaning their edges are closer together.

Verdict

If you absolutely must have black Wii peripherals Snakebyte's XS Starter Pack is the only option, but otherwise a saving of around six pounds compared to the Nintendo originals is not worth the trade off in quality and handling, especially considering the poor accuracy of the Wireless XS Controller's D-pad.

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