Nintendo Wii Mini
Amid the fuss surrounding the launch of the Wii U it’s easy to forget that Nintendo also released another new piece of hardware at the end of 2012: the scaled-down Nintendo Wii Mini. Essentially a Wii in different clothing, the system is currently exclusive to Canada but could be coming to other regions down the line. Is this revision worth a look, or is it just money for old rope? With our beloved copy of Super Mario Galaxy 2 at hand, we set out to find out.
The most obvious advantage of the Nintendo Wii Mini is the price - it retails for $99 Canadian dollars, which equates to about £60. Second-hand Wii consoles aren’t exactly expensive these days of course, but if you’re looking for a brand-new system that hasn’t been gathering dust in someone’s bedroom for the past six years then this could seem like an attractive option. Another plus point is the console’s new design; while it’s clearly intended to appeal to youngsters, the black and red colour scheme is easy on the eyes and we can’t help but be taken in by the old-school flip-top disc drive.
The package is rounded off by a matching red Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller combo, complete with a red Wii Remote silicone jacket. As far as external beauty goes, the Wii Mini certainly isn’t a duffer - sadly, what’s underneath that plastic skin is considerably more disappointing.
Where to start? Once you’ve gotten over the appealing case design, the Wii Mini is a catalogue of schoolboy errors, the most glaring of which is the lack of online connectivity. The console cannot connect to the web in any way, shape or form. That means no online gaming, no Virtual Console downloads, no WiiWare, no YouTube - nothing. In this day and age, where even the youngest mobile user is connected to the net via their sub-£100 smartphone, that’s an almost unforgivable omission.
Alas, it gets worse. The only way of connecting the console to your TV is the bundled composite cable, which produces a middling picture that looks muddy and ill-defined on a large-format LCD screen. Amazingly, superior Wii component cables won’t work on the console - Nintendo has removed the support on a hardware level, crippling the system from an AV perspective.