What Controllers Work for the Wii U

You understand nothing in the plethora of joysticks and other controllers offered by Nintendo for the Wii U-many more than on the Wii where it became already complicated? Here is an attempt of clarification.

Three new generation consoles, the Wii U is indeed one that offers the widest choice of controllers. On the one hand, gives freedom of choice to players, who can choose what they prefer (according to allow games). But it also means more confusion, more risk of not having the right equipment to play any particular game, and overall more chances that back a bit expensive, these stories – especially if we start to ask the question of the multiplayer – crucial for the video game with your family. PS3/PS4 and Xbox 360/One, it’s simple: you buy a controller by player, end of discussion. But on Wii U?
The situation was perfectly illustrated by Nintendo, with this promotional video accompanying the release of Super Smash Bros. Wii U :
GamePad Wii U, gamepad Pro Wii U, Pro Wii controller, gamepad Classic Wii, Wiimote and Nunchuk, Gamecube controller, and 3DS… Super Smash Bros. will be playable with all this. Other games of Wii U are compatible with several controllers. It offers flexibility, certainly, but we can get lost. Most of the current Wii U packs are sold without controller, outside the famous GamePad with its touchscreen.Should what levers I buy to support the console and be able to play multiplayer?
Let’s quickly the different means of control available.

The GamePad Wii U

It is sold with each console, so the question of his purchase arises. It’s a big controller, equipped with a touchscreen, and some functions of a Wiimote for motion detection. It allows to play most of the games solo. In multiplayer, it can either be used as any other controller, or offer the player who uses it a different gameplay and therefore a distinct role from that of the other players in the game. The GamePad Wii U is not sold separately from the console.
Accused of having leaded the sales of Wii U (increasing its selling price), the GamePad provokes varied reactions. The main criticism that it is done is actually linked to the games rather than equipment: too few games use the very particular gameplay that allows the GamePad. Nintendo use more or less depending on the games: Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart. don’t use it practically, but future large outputs such as Splatoon or Captain Toad should exploit it.
The GamePad bonus: it can be used as a big mobile home console, displaying a game that runs on the Wii U, without mobilizing the TV screen. Perfect to let a child play Mario while another watches a movie!

The Wiimote and the Nunchuk

Wiimote Vs. Wiimote: what’s the difference?Both versions of the Wiimote are interchangeable, both are compatible with the Wii and the Wii U, and work with the same games. The difference lies in the precision of motion detection, better with the Wiimote Plus.The Wiimote sold new today are a Wiimote Plus (except old stocks dug up in the New Mexico desert). To simplify, so I speak later in Wiimote, just short.
The Wiimote offers several possibilities of game.It detects movements and the position of the player opposite the sensor placed near the screen. Held horizontally in both hands, with the d-pad on the left and buttons 1 and 2 on the right, it emulates a joypad. Held vertically in one hand, it serves to target on the screen. The other hand can hold the Nunchuk, used by some games. The Nunchuk add 2 buttons and a stick analog, absent from the Wiimote. The single Nunchuk is useless: it plugs into the Wiimote, which ensures communication with the console.
Some games use the Wiimote, others use the Wiimote + Nunchuk optionally duo, and finally some may work with the Wiimote only if it is accompanied by a Nunchuk…
Outside the pack Wii U Basic + Wii Party U + Nintendoland, no Wii U pack contains Wiimote (packsMario Kart 8, Zelda, New Super Mario etc contain only the Gamepad).

  • The Nunchuk prices:between 15 and €20 (available in white and Black)
  • Price of the Wiimote Plus:between 40 and €50 (available in white, Black, Red, pink, Blue, Red Mario,Luigi green, pink Peach, green and white Yoshi…)
  • More Wiimote + Nunchuk package price:between 50 and €60 (this package also contains a Sensor Bar, already included in all the Wii U except the Basic Packs packs)
  • Good plan #1:Wii Party U a Wiimote Plus with the game package is available at a price very fluctuating, sometimes down to 35 to €40 (including Amazon) – cheaper than the only Wiimote with a game and more!
  • Good plan #2: given the huge amounts of Wii that have been sold, including to ultimately uninterested compulsive buyers, you can easily find used tons of Wiimote and Nunchuk.Attention to the State (it can be old hardware, the Wii is released in 2006), brand (prefer the official Nintendo hardware, on occasion – copies are not expensive new so the risk-taking of the Cygnus is useless) and the presence or not of the Wii Motion Plus (not essential, but the value of a Wiimote is not a Wiimote plus).

The gamepad Pro Wii U

It is what comes closest to the Playstation or the Xbox controller: a controller corresponding to the current standards, quite impressive, with lots of buttons, two directional sticks and a cross. It is particularly suited to the non-exclusive games to the Wii U, whose gameplay is often designed for this type of controller.
But it is also, for the players accustomed to conventional controllers, controller the least disruptive and most effective for some exclusive Nintendo Games such as Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros. or Mario games. The GamePad can do everything that a gamepad Pro, but is bigger and heavier, and runs faster.

  • some Wii U games are not compatible with the Pro controller.A complete list is here: List of Wii games that U use the Wii U Pro Controller (this list also shows the Games compatible with the Pro Wii controller).
  • Wii games (which all work on Wii U) are not compatible with the gamepad Pro Wii U

Unlike Pro Wii and Wii Classic (see below), the throttle levers Pro Wii U is a true stand-alone controller: there is no need to connect it to a Wiimote to make it work.

  • The gamepad Pro Wii U price:between 40 and €50

Classic Pro Wii and Wii Classic controllers

These two gamepads date from the Wii. The first is a kind of light version of gamepad Pro Wii U: we find the 2 analog sticks, buttons… On the other hand, it connects to a Wiimote, and will not work without it. In other words, owning a Classic Pro Wii controller does not offer a possibility of additional player. The Classic Wii controller as it is a gamepad to the old, compact enough, however with 2 analog sticks; It is particularly suited to retro-gaming (via virtual console Wii U), but also at the current games. Like the Classic Pro, it connects to a Wiimote and does not work alone.
Attention: some games compatible with the gamepad Pro Wii U are not with the gamepad Classic Pro Wii, as can be seen in the previously mentioned compatibility table.

  • The Classic Pro Wii controller price:about €30
  • The Classic Wii controller price:about €20

The GameCube Controller

We can move quickly on this controller, since on Wii U, a single game is compatible: Super Smash Bros.This requires an adapter (sold with the game or separately). The adapter allows to connect 4 GameCube controllers to the console.
After a misunderstanding, Nintendo has officially clarified that this adapter and GameCube controllers will work with Super Smash Bros. A shame since these controllers are close enough (number of buttons) Pro and Classic Pro controller, it is therefore not clear what problem to exploit in Mario Kart or other games.
This is all the more surprising that Nintendo has raised production of GameCube controllers, 7 years after the end of production of the GameCube, and including some very cool editions Mario or Yoshi… All this for a single game (which it will sell whole pallets, it is obvious, but all the same…).

  • Price of the GameCube Controller:about € 25 (requires an adapter sold alone or in a pack with Super Smash Bros. Wii U)

The 3DS

In some games, the Wii U operates the 3DS connectivity, and allows to use it as an additional controller.This is the case in Super Smash Bros. However, it’s still quite rare at the moment.

How many controllers for how many players?

You guessed it: some devices are able to communicate with the console, others need to be plugged into a Wiimote.
As each player in multi must have equipment that communicates, the maximum number of players is equal to 1 (for the GamePad) + your number of Wiimotes + your number of controllers Pro Wii U. But this can vary depending on the game, some do not support the Pro, other throttles not working with the Wiimotes unaccompanied Nunchuk.

Council of combination of controllers according to your game projects

  • To play alone: the GamePad provided with the console is sufficient for almost all of the single player games, even if it is still the most suitable according to the types of game. Attention, in some games based on the specificities of the Wiimote, the GamePad is not usable.
  • To play two: in addition to the GamePad, the most versatile to allow a 2nd player is the Wiimote + Nunchuk combo. It will play all the games using the specificities of the Wiimote, as well as games to the classic gameplay, since together the Wiimote and Nunchuk offer about as many controls as a gamepad Pro Wii U. By replacing the Nunchuk by a Pro Wii or Wii Classic Controller, one can get a classic controller (and the GamePad itself, if we disregard of its size and weight, also offers the equivalent of a classic controller).
  • To play three: the question that arises is to choose between a 2nd Wiimote and a gamepad Pro Wii U. If you mostly play games at motion detection, the 2nd Wii Remote is the best choice. If however you plan to play the classic gameplay and portages multi-console games, having a gamepad Pro Wii U can be a good idea: she will allow a 3rd player in games like Mario Kart, Super Mario World 3D or Smash Bros. Brawl, and will also serve solo for a player who prefer this type of controller closer to the standards on the other consoles.
  • To play four: the question is the same to spend 2 to 3. Is it rather for motion detection games (in this case: Wiimote) or classic games (in this case: gamepad Pro Wii U)?

And unofficial Wii and Wii U controllers?

Many manufacturers sell Wiimotes, Nunchuk and unofficial other controllers Wii U. The cost is much lower (from 2 to 10 times less expensive), but the quality is obviously not the same. Users indicate generally be satisfied with material for its price, but report occasional problems of compatibility/recognition by the console, sometimes less comfortable to use, buttons etc.
This option can be interesting for very casual use of the console, tight budgets, or the needs of many facilities to play with a lot of people a lot of different game types.
The quality depends on the manufacturers, so the only advice we can give, is to read the reviews, for example Amazon, on the copy that is proposed by any particular manufacturer, before you buy.

How many controllers to the main games?

  • Wii Party U: playable in 4, but requires for 4 Wiimotes (in addition to the GamePad) because some mini-games don’t use the gamepad
  • NintendoLand: depends on the minigames;the number of players varies from 1 (only GamePad) to 5 (+ 4 Wiimotes GamePad)
  • Super Mario World 3D: playable in 4 with the GamePad + 3 Wiimotes
  • Rayman Legends: playable only (the GamePad or the Wiimote) or two (Gamepad + Wiimote)
  • Mario Kart 8: playable in 4, with the GamePad, the Wiimotes with or without Nunchuck, Pro and Classic controllers
  • Super Smash Bros: playable at 8, with almost all the possible combinations of controllers

The compatibility of each game with different controllers, which can refer to the back of the game box, or pictograms represent compatible controllers. Or, more simply, the introductory page of the game on the official Nintendo website, where also these informative pictos.
This is. Not sure it’s much easier to make choices, because that’s the situation itself that is problematic: the Wii U games do not work with all available controllers, so no combination (except owning everything in 4 copies…) allows to play all games with their maximum number of players. This is the limit of this too diverse ecosystem that Nintendo has implemented: paradoxically, while Nintendo is supposed to be on the niche of the video game for all, his system is more complex to understand due to the proposed variety.


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