Nyxi Wizard review: A modern Wavebird

Rebecca Hills-Duty
Nyxi Wizard controller

Nyxi offers the best of both worlds with a GameCube-style controller that can also work as Joy-Cons. But, how does it stand up to day-to-day use?

If you hang around in retro gaming spaces, you might hear a GameCube fan wax lyrical about the Wavebird. The first official Nintendo wireless controller, which is still greatly coveted by retro collectors to this day. Now Nyxi has released a controller that pairs the style of the Wavebird with modern functionality to make using your Nintendo Switch a better experience.

Key Specs

  • Connectivity: Wireless (Bluetooth), Wired (USB-C)
  • Weight: 248g
  • Compatibility: Nintendo Switch
  • Features: Hall Effect sticks, mappable rear buttons
  • MSRP: $69.99
ProsCons
Comfortable retro designBulky when attached in handheld mode
Hall Effect SticksPrice is a little steep
Backlit face buttons

Design

The Nyxi’s design is one of its best features. At first glance, it looks just like a classic GameCube controller, with the big green A button, small red B button, and even the bright yellow right thumbstick. Then you notice that this controller can come apart, revealing that it can act like Switch Joy-Cons, complete with additional buttons such as the Home, Plus, and Minus buttons. The A, B, X, and Y buttons all light up when the device is powered on, which is a nice touch.

Nyxi Wizard controller attached to Switch in handheld mode

Thankfully, Nyxi has not gone so far as to keep the Z-Trigger, instead placing the L, R, ZL, and ZR triggers up top in a similar configuration to a Joy-Con. Like the other buttons, these have a pleasing action and an audible ‘click’ which makes them very nice to use.

When removed from the central connecting frame, the Wizard controllers can be paired to a Switch by attaching it to the rails, identically to any Joy-Con. With the Nyxi Wizard attached, the Switch becomes almost comically wide, but thankfully the clever ergonomics of the Wizard make sure it remains a comfortable experience. I was a little concerned about how the yellow thumbstick would feel, as I know how stiff and awkward the original could be. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find the right analog stick was just as smooth and responsive as the left one.

Features

One of the best features of the Nyxi Wizard is the use of Hall Effect sensors for the analog sticks. This means you never have to worry about stick drift, which is a delight for Switch users like me, whose second set of Joy-Cons is starting to show signs of drift.

One feature I’m not keen on is the rear paddles. They are set behind the finger grips. Like many other third-party controllers, they are meant to be programmable for combos or macros. In practice, I found that I’d inevitably end up hitting them accidentally, which could often cause unpredictable effects on my game. I might be in the minority, but I don’t really find these extra ‘macro’ buttons that helpful.

Nyxi Wizard controller underside

The rings around the analog stick are interchangeable, allowing you to opt for standard round rings or an old-school octagonal surround. The latter provides slightly more precision, and I ended up sticking with that option.

Performance

Since Xenoblade Chronicles 3 requires the use of every button, and regularly changes the button function depending on context, I decided it would make a great first test.

I found myself delighted with the performance of the Nyxi Wizard for this game. Once you got used to the slightly different placement of the buttons, it was much more comfortable to use in docked mode than my normal Joy-Cons and cradle. The complete lack of stick drift was also pleasing. The buttons are very clicky and responsive, with a nice action. I actually found myself completing the entire game with the Nyxi controllers, since I was enjoying the experience so much.

It was a little more awkward to use when attached in handheld mode. The sheer size of the console with the Nyxi controllers attached makes it feel heavy, and it does force a slight angle. This means it is necessary to do some experimenting to find a comfortable position for gaming.

The only slight problem was that an accidental press of the rear macro buttons could cause some unusual behavior from Xenoblade Chronicles 3, with no obvious means of undoing it.

I honestly was not expecting the Nyxi Wizard to be practical to use in a multiplayer wireless configuration. To my surprise, it was functional for games such as Super Smash Bros Ultimate. For people with small hands like mine, using half the controller was fine, but those with larger hands would not have a good time, especially since the triggers in this mode are somewhat over-sensitive.

Should you buy it?

The Nyxi Wizard controller is a brilliant alternative to regular Joy-Cons. It suits those who prefer the GameCube-style layout while providing modern features. It’s versatility and clever engineering works as a great complement to the Nintendo Switch.

The Nyxi Wizard works best as a controller for single-player titles or for games played in Docked mode. It can be a bit awkward and bulky in Handheld mode, which may put off people who regularly use the Switch in its portable configuration. For RPG fans or Super Smash Bros players, it will make an excellent purchase.

Verdict: 5/5

The Nyxi Wizard is a modern answer to the classic Wavebird controller. The only faults I can find are very minor issues regarding the extra back buttons. It combines the best features of the Joy-Cons and the Pro controller, but with added features like Hall Effect sticks to eliminate drift. The Nyxi Wizard has become my go-to Switch controller as it simply improves the experience of a Nintendo Switch massively.

If you click on a product link on this page we may earn a small affiliate commission.

Sign up to Dexerto for free and receive:
Fewer Ads|Dark Mode|Deals in Gaming, TV and Movies, and Tech