NYXI Wizard Review: As close to the WaveBird 2 as you can get

The NYXI Wizard is a GameCube style controller that works in both handheld and docked mode

The NYXI Wizard controller attached to a Switch OLED
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The NYXI Wizard brings GameCube style Joy-Con alternatives to the Nintendo Switch with plenty of extra features, like backlit buttons and joysticks with Hall Effect sensors to prevent stick drift. It works just as well in docked mode as it does in handheld mode but the controller is on the larger side and might be too big for those with smaller hands


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    Backlit face buttons

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    Swappable joystick rings

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    Two remappable rear buttons

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    Comfortable and nostalgic design


  • -

    Quite large for small hands

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    Bulky when attached to the switch

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The NYXI Wizard is a wireless Bluetooth controller that can also be attached to either side of the Nintendo Switch when playing in handheld mode. However, unlike other Joy-Con alternatives, it features a GameCube style design and button layout. There are a few twists on Nintendo’s iconic controller though, including backlit face buttons, swappable rings for the joysticks and most importantly, Hall Effect sensors in both joysticks to prevent the kind of stick drift Nintendo’s Joy-Cons are unfortunately known for.

Whether you’re an avid Super Smash Bros. Ultimate player or are looking to play some of the best GameCube games that are on the Switch right now like Metroid Prime Remastered, Tales of Symphonia or Super Mario Sunshine, having a controller with the layout these games are meant to be played with can be a huge advantage. The NYXI Wizard gives you that nostalgic feeling along with some modern conveniences, like a full size C-stick that makes it possible to play the latest Nintendo Switch games without compromising. Our NYXI Wizard review will help you decide if this is one of the best Nintendo Switch controllers available today and a viable alternative to Nintendo’s Joy-Cons.

NYXI Wizard review: Price and availability

NYXI Wizard what's included

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The NYXI Wizard is available on NYXI's website in either purple, black or platinum for $70. Besides the two Joy-Pads, you also get a frame to connect them together to use as a wireless controller, two joystick rings and a USB-C charging cable.

NYXI Wizard review: Design

The NYXI Wizard controller in black and purple

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

With the frame in between the Joy-Pads, the NYXI Wizard looks a whole lot like an updated version of Nintendo’s WaveBird controller for the GameCube. However, there are some additional buttons for the Switch like the Plus and Minus buttons as well as a Home button. Besides these, NYXI has also added a settings button underneath them as well as turbo buttons at the very bottom of the controller.

The bumpers and triggers on the NYXI Wizard controller

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At the top of the NYXI Wizard, there are clicky L and R bumpers as well as mechanical triggers for ZL and ZR. Besides giving a nice audible click, the triggers have a travel distance of just 0.3 mm which makes them very easy to actuate.

The USB-C ports on the NYXI Wizard controller

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While the Joy-Pads can be charged as well as paired by attaching them to either side of the Nintendo Switch, there are also USB-C ports at the bottom of both of them for charging them without your console. Although a single USB-C port in the center of the Frame might have looked better, you wouldn’t be able to charge the NYXI Wizard without a Switch if you lost this connector.

The programmable rear buttons on the back of the NYXI Wizard controller

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On the back of the NYXI Wizard, there’s a programmable button towards the top of each of the controller’s handle. These can be configured using the settings button on the front of both Joy-Pads. In addition to single button presses, you can also program macros or a series of button presses strung together. 

These FR and FL back buttons are located right where your middle fingers rest on the back of the controller but I didn’t find myself accidentally pressing them while using the NYXI Wizard. However, as the device is technically two separate controllers, only buttons on the left or right Joy-Pad can be programmed to their respective back button. This is the case with all Joy-Con alternatives but it’s still worth pointing out for those who haven’t tried these types of controllers before.

The backlit face buttons on the NYXI Wizard controller

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When attached to the Switch or used wirelessly, the face buttons of the NYXI Wizard light up. This certainly gives the controller more of a futuristic look but it can be distracting when you have your Switch docked with them attached.

A rear view of the NYXI Wizard controllers attached to the Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Another thing worth noting when attaching the NYXI Wizard to your Switch is that there is a significant amount of space between the controllers and the console itself. It’s much more pronounced at the top of the Switch where the gap is an inch tall, but this drops down to under half an inch at the bottom of the console. You won’t really notice this while playing though. 

When attached to either side of the Switch, the NYXI Wizard does increase the width of the console from 9.4 inches (with the Joy-Cons) to 11.5 inches, bringing it quite close to Valve’s Steam Deck which is 11.7 inches wide. If using the Switch with the Joy-Cons in handheld mode leaves your arms feeling a bit cramped, you’ll definitely appreciate this extra width though.

NYXI Wizard review: Features

The NYXI Wizard controllers and their connector bracket

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The NYXI Wizard is a feature-packed Switch controller that can be used in several different ways. In addition to using it attached to the Switch in handheld mode and wirelessly like a GameCube controller, you can also use one Joy-Pad in each hand or use a single Joy-Pad sideways like you would with a Joy-Con.

One of the more interesting accessories included with the NYXI Wizard are the joystick rings. Besides a pair of circular ones like those found on the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and most other modern controllers, the company also includes a pair of octagonal rings like those found on the GameCube controller.

Changing the joystick rings on the NYXI Wizard

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To swap them out, you just need to turn the ring counterclockwise slightly and then lift up the joystick. From here, you can put on either the circular or octagonal joystick ring on top of the joystick, push it down and then turn it clockwise to lock it in place. While most Switch owners will likely prefer the circular ones, Super Smash Bros. players will really appreciate the option of having an octagonal ring just like on the original GameCube controller.

NYXI Wizard review: Performance

After unboxing the NYXI Wizard and swapping out the octagonal rings for the circular ones, I just had to slide each Joy-Pad on either side of the Switch to start using the controller. One nice thing about this controller compared to other third-party ones is that its Home button can wake the Switch from sleep.

Playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with the NYXI Wizard in handheld mode

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As the NYXI Wizard is a GameCube style controller after all, I first tested it out by playing a few rounds of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on a Nintendo Switch OLED. It was a nice change having the GameCube button layout in handheld mode and the extra width the NYXI Wizard added to the Switch made it more comfortable during longer play sessions. 

Regarding how the face buttons feel to press, the B, Y and X buttons are slightly taller and have a bit more travel to them than the A button, which is raised slightly and has less travel. Unlike the official Joy-Cons, NYXI has bunched together the Plus, Minus, Screenshot and Home buttons at the top of the controller along with the additional settings button for remapping the back buttons. This did lead to some accidental presses now and again but I’m sure with a bit more playtime, it would be easy to remember where each of these buttons is located. The D-Pad is serviceable but it doesn’t have the same level of polish as the ones you find in 8BitDo’s controllers.

Playing Tears of the Kingdom with the NYXI Wizard in wireless mode

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Since the NYXI Wizard can also be used wirelessly, I also played a bit of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom using it. The full-size right joystick came in real handy here, as did the built-in motion controls for aiming my bow or using Link’s new Purah Pad abilities like Ultrahand. Just like when attached to the Switch, the NYXI Wizard is a bit wider than a standard GameCube controller. I found this made it a bit more comfortable to play with even as someone with smaller hands. However, those with larger hands will feel right at home with the NYXI Wizard.

One thing worth noting is that while each of the Joy-Pads does have their own sync button where they attach to the Switch, they’re inaccessible when connected together using the Bridge. As such, I often found it easier and faster to pair the controllers by sliding them onto the Switch, taking them off and then connecting them together using the Bridge. 

NYXI Wizard review: Bottom line

The NYXI Wizard delivers on something Nintendo Switch fans have wanted since the console’s launch – GameCube style Joy-Cons. While there have been both wired and wireless GameCube style controllers for the Switch since the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, these are the first ones you can use in handheld mode. 

The extra features NYXI has added like backlit buttons, mechanical triggers, programmable rear buttons and two sets of joystick rings are the cherry on top when it comes to this controller. However, at $70, the NYXI Wizard is a bit more expensive than I’d like, especially when wired GameCube style controllers can be had for $25 and wireless ones sell for $50. Whether or not that extra $20 is worth it to be able to use GameCube style Joy-Cons in handheld mode is up to you. However, if you’re a serious Smash Bros. player or grew up playing GameCube, the NYXI Wizard certainly hits in terms of nostalgia while giving us a glimpse of what a WaveBird 2 from Nintendo might have looked like. 

Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home. 

  • CarrotsNotCake
    Hoooold on. That is just not true. Doyoky's GameCube JoyCons are much closer. Better face buttons, a C stick that's much closer to OEM GameCube. The face button heights are nearly perfect on Doyoky's. Nyxi's are vastly different from GameCube. Doyoky is even releasing the next batch with Hall effect sticks.