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Hands on with SnakeByte's XS Starter Pack

Posted by Damien McFerran

It’s always struck us as rather strange that Nintendo held off allowing third party manufacturers to produce controllers for the Wii for such a long time. It’s only recently that we’ve seen ‘unofficial’ Wiimotes and Nunchuks hitting the marketplace, and considering the relatively high price of Nintendo’s own brand of peripherals, it’s a welcome move.

SnakeByte – the company behind the Retro Controllers we reviewed recently – has now pushed its own interpretation of Nintendo’s Wiimote and Nunchuk combo onto shop shelves, and although the company is offering both items separately, it’s the XS Starter Pack that has caught our attention.

Nintendo’s own controllers are a tad expensive (£29.99 for the Wiimote and £14.99 for the Nunchuk, at the last count) but SnakeByte’s pricing is a little more reasonable - £39.99 for both controllers (although it should be noted that when sold alone, the price of each item is the same as Nintendo's).

The saving of £5 might not seem like much, and it’s probably fair to assume most of you would rather pay the extra cash for official goods anyway, given the relatively poor reputation that third party accessories tend to have. However, in this case we were very impressed with the quality of Snakebyte’s goods.

The Wiimote is practically identical to Nintendo’s version, for example. The D-pad is a slightly different shape but it makes no odds to its responsiveness. The buttons feel sturdy and after a few minutes play we honestly couldn’t tell the difference between this and the official offering.

The same story applies to the Nunchuk; aside from a slightly different stick design, this is essentially a carbon-copy of Nintendo’s Nunchuk. We were also pleased to note that both items operate just as effectively, too.

It’s also worth noting that the XS Starter Pack is available in white, black and pink – something that Nintendo’s official controllers can’t offer (at present). The company also has a pack that contains a wireless Nunchuk.

While we’re still loathe to champion third party goods over official stock – especially when there’s not a significant saving to be had – we can’t help but think that the XS Starter Pack makes excellent sense if you’re looking to expand your controller collection with the minimum of effort. Also, with Christmas on the way this would make an excellent present for the Wii-owners in your extended family – and let’s face it, even your gran has one these days.

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User Comments (23)

LinktotheFuture

#1

LinktotheFuture said:

Nintendo needs to start making more controllers to keep up with these 3rd parties, at least a turbo controller for the VC.

Bensei

#4

Bensei said:

I heard that those have a lack in motion sensing, comparecd to the original...

ALDAWGZ

#5

ALDAWGZ said:

hey heres a thought instead of making controllers how bout a good 3rd party game we wii owner can enjoy wouldn't that b amazing

slambert215

#6

slambert215 said:

I agree with aldadawg. We don't need crappy third party controllers, we need non crappy third party games. Nintendo's controllers are way better anyway.

MrDziekuje

#7

MrDziekuje said:

I just hope Nintendo comes out with a better Classic Controller. I feel it needs "legs" so it's easier to grip. It feels weird without them. Even the Genesis and SNES had a little something to hold onto. The Classic Controller has nothing. I bought a CC (in one of those three packs with the wiimote and nunchuk) but I hate it so much that I use my tattered old Gamecube controllers for all my VC needs.

Ricardo91

#9

Ricardo91 said:

@Will. It looks just as phallic as the 1st-party nunchuks, so what's your point? :P

@ALDAWGS. I hear ya man. We need some 3rd-party games that are worth something, not more of these crappy controllers that no one wants.

Tides_of_Chaos

#10

Tides_of_Chaos said:

It seems a bit iffy to buy a 3rd party wiimote when the controller is so important for the Wii.
Also, does it work with the official nunchuk and will it work with Wii Motion Plus when it comes out? There are chances that it might not and it would be wasted money then.

King_Elemento

#11

King_Elemento said:

The only thing here that remotely interests me is the wireless Nunchuck, but I'd rather have one made by Nintendo to be perfectly honest.
Still, I might get one if they're not too bulky.

ouenben

#12

ouenben said:

"It’s always struck us as rather strange that Nintendo held off allowing third party manufacturers to produce controllers for the Wii for such a long time."

Why would it be strange? More money for Nintendo because consumers wouldn't be buying the 3rd party alternatives for whatever reason and plus if they were really bad or had poor motion sensors they could put off potential wii owners. I'm surprised Nintendo has/will let ANYONE make a 3rd Party Wii remote given how important it is to the console.

Clayfrd

#13

Clayfrd said:

I'll just get the official stuff. I need to; I just lost one of my Wii Remotes :(.

Twilight_Crow

#14

Twilight_Crow said:

Not really impressive, the official will always be better, and I doubt the pack will still be cheap over here.

Captain_Konami

#15

Captain_Konami said:

Although I join the other folks expressing caution about buying generic for a motion sensitive controller that makes up the heart of Wii motion gaming, I will say that I support any solid market competition for Nintendo that might provoke the Big N to stick to quality and offer some better deals and variety than they would with a monopoly.

I won't buy these 3rd party controllers (typically, save for special purpose ones like Hori's fighting stick.....which doesn't really compete with Big N hardware, since Big N only seems to do enough to fundamentally support the Wii), but I'll cheer the 3rd party companies on to take as much market share as they can.

Maybe it'll at least provoke Big N into some alternative colors, styles, and maybe even an auto-fire (not something I use much, but it's nice to have the option for certain games........ YEAH, that's right, I'm pointing YOU Track and Field II).

Talicus

#16

Talicus said:

I'm actually quite surprised that this is so well received, I bought a Wii Remote and Nunchuk bundle off Dealextreme once (was advertised as OEM, but it really wasn't) and it was horrible. The Nunchuk was alright, but the Wii Remote had a near-faulty D-Pad, it lost focus with the Wii Sensor Bar after just a few feet and the sound that came out of the speaker was extremely loud (even on the lowest sound settings) and really just a lot of static....

stinssd

#17

stinssd said:

They should just release adaptors to allow us to use old SNES, Genesis, and NES pads with the Wii.

KingMike

#18

KingMike said:

According to the exchange rate today, 39.99 GBP is about 50 cent savings over the combined US cost of the official controllers ($59.98). :)

Captain_Konami

#19

Captain_Konami said:

Actually, yes, if any semi-reliable company put out a wireless N64 controller, I'd probably throw caution to the wind and snag it none too long after it came out. Such a release would also create an up tick in the number of N64 games I currently own on the VC. :)

Viral

#21

Viral said:

Anyone living the UK could do what I did easily, buy your Wii-motes and Nunchuks from America. Easy.

Talicus

#22

Talicus said:

It's not really worthwhile to import accessories because the GBP has such a low value nowadays...

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