Wii New Play Controls Hands On: GameCube Games Are Better With Wii Controls

Attempting to revive GameCube games that didn't do so well, Nintendo is bringing back a few titles—including Pikmin and Mario Power Tennis—that are better suited for the Wii with its enhanced motion controls.

With the success of Wii Sports, it's easy to see how swinging your arms in Mario Tennis can be more fun than playing tennis with your thumbs. And with Pikmin, using gesture controls to direct your Pikmin is better than commands via buttons. Essentially, some GameCube games would just be more successful on an active-controller supporting platform. On May 4, Nintendo will be releasing Donkey Kong Jungle Beat for the Wii, but unlike its GameCube version, this one uses Wiimotes and Nunchucks so you won't have to pay $US50 for bongo drums.

On most Wii games, you have the ability to use Classic or GameCube controllers; however, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat Wii only works with Wiimotes and Nunchucks. In the GameCube version, banging on the right and left bongo drums made Donkey Kong move, slamming on them together made him jump, alternately banging both of them pounded on things, and clapping your hands triggered special moves. Worried that the Wii would have identical controls—just on Wiimotes and Nunchucks—I was pleasantly surprised with the Wiimote's more intuitive controls, using basic Nintendo commands: A makes DK jump, B produces a nice buttslam, the analogue stick directs him, and shaking either wrist activates special moves, including sonic booms that will do anything from shaking bananas out of tress to slaying your enemies.

The greatest thing about the new play controls is that you won't end up breathless, with stinging palms and a sweaty body. Your arms won't get tired as your thumbs and the analogue stick control directions, and the controls are sensitive enough that jiggling your wrist lightly for special moves works fine. Sometimes you'll have to quickly alternate moving your left and right hands up and down to pound enemies to death, but it's barely noticeable or tiring. You may have sweaty palms when you're done, but at least your body will be dry and ache-free. Moreover, because the Wii versions of these GameCube games are basically almost the same games, they'll cost you $US30 instead of the typical $US50 for a Wii game.

So, what other GameCube games we could be expecting as part of the "New Play Control!" series? According to Wikipedia, Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2, Pikmin 2 and Chibi-Robo! will be available in Japan this year. Assuming that the technology, game-control conversions and gameplay have already been modified for their Wii counterparts in Japan, it seems safe to anticipate American copies of these games shortly after. [Nintendo]

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