Back when Nintendo introduced Mario Kart Wii and the Wii Wheel to the public I was interested in the game, but not so much in the cheesy new shell for the Wiimote. How many of these lameass shells have I seen for the Wii and associated controllers? Even the Wii Zapper looked like it was poorly thought out with the cords and sliding doors involved. It just seemed like Nintendo had really gotten the whole Wiimote down, but everything else after detracted from the experience. Third party addons were just cheesy shells that often did nothing to enhance gameplay. So is anyone ever going to get it right?
After picking up Mario Kart Wii at midnight last night, I've been taken from one extreme end of the spectrum to the other. The Wii Wheel is indeed just a plastic shell for the Wiimote, but the very nature of its design and the meticulous programming on the game software makes for a completely new way to play - the way Nintendo has been trying to push for a while. The fact is holding the Wiimote sideways makes you feel like you're holding a TV remote and you won't drive with the finesse of a real driver - the Wii Wheel drives this finesse. No, I'm not kidding, the Wii Wheel creates a brand new, more fun experience that I've been begging for a while. It takes the tacked-on feel of Wii controls and integrates them as tightly as possible. And it feels natural. The game feels as responsive as ye olde joysticks of yore and you honestly don't look like as big an idiot as you think playing with this new method. In other words - the Wii Wheel is an essential part of the new Mario Kart.
Personally, I'm kicking myself for only taking the wheel in the game package. I hope I can find some today before this peripheral's sales take off like mad and you'll have an easier time finding the Wii itself. I was a hard, hard skeptic and now I've been made a believer. If you've doubted as hard as I have when it comes to Wiimote accessories, try the Wii Wheel once and you'll be made a believer.