The Retro Controller is Snakebyte's equivalent of Nintendo's Classic Controller. Basically, this is a joypad somewhat similar to those that come with the Xbox or PlayStation, including twin analogue sticks, a D-pad, three function buttons, four action buttons and five shoulder buttons; plenty for the WiiWare games and retro titles the Classic was designed for.
Like the nunchuck, you need to hook up to a Wiimote or Wireless XS Controller using a one metre cable for the Retro to work. Alternatively, Snakebyte does have wireless versions of both its Motion XS Extension (nunchuck) and Retro Controller available, though these are obviously more expensive.
In terms of design, our glossy black sample of the Retro Controller is very different to the Classic controller. Indeed, at a casual glance is looks more like a PlayStation than a Nintendo controller. This is not only because of the glossy black finish of our sample, but also because of its shape: Snakebyte has elected to give its peripheral downward sloping 'wings' on either side.
Build quality is the one area where first-party controllers are consistently superior to third-party efforts, and the Snakebyte is no exception. But rather than this being due to poor construction, it's a testament to the exceptional build quality of Nintendo's peripheral. The plastic body of the Snakebyte just doesn't exude the same brick-like solidity as its inspiration, and buttons feel a bit looser. Also, for those unforgiving retro titles, the D-pad on the Snakebyte isn't quite as responsive due to being just a tad on the stiff side.
But don't let these minor negatives put you off too much, since overall the Retro Controller is very well-built and its slight inferiority in certain areas is only apparent in a direct comparison. To make up for it, the dark controller has some definite advantages up its sleeve (aside from being available in black).
As mentioned before, the Retro has curved ‘grips' or ‘wings' at either end. These combine with finger-rests beneath the main shoulder buttons to make Snakebyte's joypad more comfortable than the slab-like Classic controller. Though different people will have different ergonomic preferences, most will probably prefer the Snakebyte's look and feel.
Since Snakebyte's Retro Controller is roughly the same price as Nintendo's Classic one, it really comes down to whether you want the former's black or the latter's white and the Retro's superior ergonomics or the Classic's slightly better build and buttons. Either way, Snakebyte's version doesn't disappoint.