If there’s one thing that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U isn’t lacking it’s the literal plethora of controller options. Your choices range from the Wii U Gamepad, a cluttered mess of Wiimotes and attachments, to even the 3DS handheld itself. All of them get the job done, but none are quite as revered as the GameCube controller, which has since become the preferred way to engage with Nintendo’s nostalgia-infused brawler.
Because the Wii U has no proper controller ports something like the GameCube Controller Adapter was pretty much a given, especially if you and your buddies horded piles of those eccentric controllers, or maybe just want to relive your junior college heydays of Star Wars prequels and Friday get-togethers of Domino’s Pizza with cheap beer (Pabst, Miller, or Mickey’s Malt liquor – take your pick).
Aside from the Wii U logo stamped on top, the adapter looks featureless with a hard plastic black shell and feels a little cheap and hollow to the touch. There are four GameCube controller ports upfront but unlabeled based on player number, with two USB cables dangling out that are hardwired to the unit itself. Since two USB ports on the console are required to power the adapter, either the front set (hidden behind the flip door with the SD card slot) or the ones found on the rear will need to be unoccupied.
The setup works the moment you plug it in and start playing Smash Bros – all you need to do is start the game at the title screen with a GameCube controller or when making your pick on the character select screen. It automatically detects anything connected just like a Wiimote or Pro Controller all with no input delay and remaining comfortably identical to what you’d expect. With I and three other friends participating, we preferred this method over the more contemporary alternatives, as there’s no tactile learning curves involved if you’ve regularly played Melee or Brawl before. Even the official WaveBird controller was amazingly seamless to use despite being wireless and tied through the external accessory.
For that extra dash of absurdity, you can also connect two adapters to one Wii U console for 8-Player Smash melees, it works incredibly well if you ignore the endless disarray of cords going everywhere.
However, the appeal is strictly limited to just Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and isn’t integrated to operate outside of the game. This is a notable disappointment and missed opportunity if you were hoping that it would work on the Wii U menu, or more importantly, bring that beneficial sense of ease to other Nintendo titles like Mario Kart 8 or the remastered Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Some traditionalist will counter that’s exactly the point behind this device but even a little forethought for extended compatibility still would’ve been nice. And no, this adapter won’t work with your PC/Mac by default either.
For the money, there isn’t much to the GameCube Controller Adapter for Wii U other than the convenience of dusting off your oddly-mapped controllers from the closet and enjoying the newest Smash Bros. Of course, this means you’re fully aware its functionality is meant for the pickier competitors (ironic I know) and will only work with this game alone, not exactly what most could consider versatile. But if these limitations don’t turn you off this accessory is an absolute no-brainer, current availability and price gouging notwithstanding.