Nintendo’s Wii Wheel: Useless Gimmick or Worthy Accessory?

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Gimmick or not? The debate over the Wii Wheel has raged ever since it was first unveiled alongside Mario Kart Wii, with most gamers and pundits throwing their opinions of the device behind the gimmick side of the debate. Well, I just received my final copy of Mario Kart Wii today and have thusly been able to get my hands on the Wii Wheel for the first time, and therefore decided I’d give you my take on the maligned pack-in peripheral.

You’ll probably be surprised to hear that I actually like the Wii Wheel quite a bit (and maybe doubly surprised that I feel rather “meh” about the game thus far…). I took it out of the box, stuck my Wii Remote inside, fired up Mario Kart Wii and within the first race I was steering my kart around with ease. Continuing a few races further with the wheel, I then removed the remote and used it to steer without the wheel shell for a few more races to compare.

Both control schemes function nigh identically, but with the wheel I find the handling to have a slightly more balanced feel to it given the heftier weight and larger size of the device. Holding the Wii Remote sideways is a bit tricky, I think, due to its small, elongated form factor. To me it’s just not a very comfortable way to steer.

Another benefit of the Wii Wheel, subtle as it may be, is its larger, flatter B button, which is needed for launching weapon pick-ups. With just the remote, I think it’s slightly awkward pressing the B button in the same manner since it’s in the shape of a trigger. Small difference, I know, but it’s something I noticed switching between the two control schemes.

So yeah, I’m unexpectedly thrilled by how well the Wii Wheel works, especially since damn near every review and impressions piece I’ve read has pretty much panned it so far. Like the Wii Zapper, it’s nothing incredibly innovative or game-changing, but for racing games — Mario Kart Wii at least — it definitely provides a more intuitive gameplay experience. Or maybe that’s just me, certainly wouldn’t be the first time…

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!