The world of Wii accessories is an endless abyss. It seems as though every company known to man has jumped on the bandwagon of creating attachable accessories for Nintendo’s Wiimote(s) in order to enhance the gameplay experience. All that you need to do is to go into the video game(s) department of any retail store and the wall of Wii accessories is easily the size of the other consoles’ entire accessory areas combined. Hyperkin is one of the latest companies to throw their hat into the fray and has recently released a new line of Sound Plus accessories to retailers. The company has asked us to take a look at two of the products from that line: the Wii Baseball Kit and the Wii Golf Kit. I am not a huge fan of these sorts of accessories personally but many of the members of my family are… and we have regularly scheduled Wii gaming nights.
The names themselves
pretty much tell you what is included in each pack. The Wii Baseball Kit consists of a single baseball bat attachment accessory while the Wii Golf Kit actually includes two separate clubs for multiple users. There are a couple of differences in Hyperkin’s product(s) versus the countless others that I noticed right out of the box. First off, the attachments come in two separate pieces: a base and the actual attachment. The base is simply a form fitting plastic box that holds the Wiimote inside of it. The actual attachments, be it the bat or golf club(s) snaps into the end of the base.
Any given base can attach to any given accessory from the line. The base that came with the Wii Baseball kit will fit the club heads from the Wii Golf kit, or the Rackets from the Wiii Tennis kit (also available, not present for review). This is a really nice change of pace from the usual Wii sport accessory as players are usually required to constantly switch the Wiimotes in and out of attachments when they want to pass them along to the next player, which can get monotonous. With the Hyperkin products though, the base simply snaps off and on from the accessory attachment with the press of a button…actually slide, but you know what I mean.
The other thing that I noticed right from the start was that the base that I mentioned above had an open bottom for the lower end of the Wiimote, allowing for the attachment of the Wii Motion Plus accessory. Both of these “features” may sound simple and meaningless but they are not. I have used many Wii accessories that lacked both abilities and weren't nearly as convenient. These are also two features that got regular mentions from the other gamers in my house, often noting that they liked having the convenience factor versus the other accessories we have lying around. For no other reason than their convenience, the Hyperkin accessories quickly became the favorites in our house.
The weight and feel of the Hyperkin accessories is much better than most of the Wii accessories from other companies. Both the bat and golf club attachments are made of soft but solid foam, giving the experience more than just the look of holding the real-life counterpart. The bat feels heavier toward the end, like a real bat does. And the same can be said for the golf clubs. This is an aspect where many Wii sport accessories fail. About 90% of the other ones that I have tried were literally feather light and did nothing but “look” different. The Hyperkin products actually make your Wiimote feel different when they are attached.
The big marketing push behind this line though aren't the things that I have mentioned, it is what you hear when you use them. The main selling point of these accessories is their Sound Plus feature. Acrrording to the packaging, you can “feel and hear every swing” of the bat or club. That is true, though it often doesn’t make sense. The Sound Plus accessories have what is best described as a ball or weight inside of them that, when swing in full motion, is “slid” all of the way to the end of the barrel (of the bat or club) and makes a smack or hitting sound. The sound is reminiscent of a bat hitting a ball and sort of feels like it too. In terms of the feel that is relays to the player. This works really well in theory but it just does not make sense to me that it sounds like I just knocked one out of the park when, on the game, I just whiffed one for strike three. Now I know that there is nothing that Hyperkin can do about that issue, but it just sounds weird when you are playing.
Honestly, this is just a minor complaint and annoyance and something that I am really nitpicking on. The truth is that these things feel pretty good for what they are. The Hyperkin products give as good of a sense as any Wii sporting accessory on the market that I have gotten my hands on. If I have any concerns with the product(s) it is the longevity and durability of the bases and the price point. The base is a simple, open ended plastic sleeve that the Wiimote slides tightly into. My fear is that over time, the firmness of the base, which is what holds the Wiimote in place, will start to give and the base will become less functional. I don't know if this will become and issue or not and am just making a generalization about the physical “feel” of the product. For all that I know, these things will last years without ever causing an issue, but it doesn’t “feel” like that will be the case. Only time will tell on that issue.
The only thing that concerns me about the Hyperkin products is the price point; the price point of these accessories is a little high compared to most of the competitors’ offerings. Most products in this line of accessories cost between $10-$15 and the Sound Plus line retails for $25. It is very hard to justify the purchase of a product that is nearly double that of many of its competitors even though it does do its job adequately. The additional features and quality of these products is nice, but just not "twice the price of admission" nice. Dropping the price $5 would work wonders in my consideration of the product, or perhaps offering the attachments in packages without the base(s) since they are all interchangeable.
Hyperkin Sound Plus products are available for the Nintendo Wii in the following packages: Nintendo Wii Baseball Kit (includes one base and bat attachment), Nintendo Wii Golf Kit (includes 2 bases and 2 club attachments), and the Nintendo Wii Tennis Kit (includes 2 bases and 2 racket attachments. All three Kits are available in one of three colors: white, blue, or pink and retail for $24.99. Product samples of the Nintendo Wii Sport Baseball and Wii Sport Golf Kits were provided by Hyperkin for our review.