Wingman XB Review: Brook proves that great things can come in small packages
No doubt about it, I love video games. However, if there’s one thing that grinds my gears, it’s having to re-buy the same fight sticks, steering wheels, and controllers for all of my consoles. After all, that money would be better spent buying new games to enjoy. Thankfully, the fine folks at Brook, the makers of Universal Fighting Board and the Auto Catch Plus, are here to help save us some cash (and some closet space) with the Wingman XB. This handy device lets you use your DualSense, DualShock 4, Switch Pro, and countless other controllers on the Xbox family of consoles. Easy to set up and inexpensive, the Wingman XB is an excellent solution that should help players save some cash and cut down on that cursed controller clutter.
Setting up the device is a cinch. First, however, you’ll want to take a minute to update the Wingman XB to the latest firmware to ensure your compatibility list is up to date. Once you’ve downloaded the latest version of the firmware, all you have to do is run the executable and, when prompted, press and hold the two buttons on the side of the unit as you plug it into your PC’s USB drive. Then, wait a few seconds for the wizard to work its magic, and you’re ready to rock. It really couldn’t be any easier.
With your device up to date, all you’ll need to do is pop the Wingman XB into one of your console’s free USB slots. Then, to pair your controller, simply hold the pairing button on the USB stick until it flashes blue and put your controller of choice into pairing mode. In just a few seconds, you should be up and running.
I tested a variety of controllers on my Xbox Series X for this review and found the device to function pretty much exactly as advertised. So whether I was cruising the vast expanses of Mexico in Forza Horizon 5 or trading plasma fire with bloodthirsty Grunts in Halo Infinite, playing Xbox’s best console exclusive titles with my PS5 DualSense controller felt great, and the inputs were tight and responsive. All of the buttons are mapped precisely where you’d expect them to be, letting me spend all of my time just enjoying my games rather than fiddling about in menus to make everything work as it should.
But that’s not to say there isn’t a tradeoff when playing Xbox games with your DualSense controller. For starters, none of the games I played seemed to support the DualSense’s vibration functionality, which was disappointing and definitely hurt the immersion. So if you need to feel the gravel shifting beneath your wheels or the satisfying punch of a shotgun in your hands as you’re mowing down the competition, this might come across as a disappointment. Additionally, the Wingman XB doesn’t currently support headsets that need to plug directly into your controller. So if these caveats are a deal-breaker for you, you’ll want to keep them in mind.
As for me, the wealth of controllers the Wingman XB supports makes it very much worthwhile. Not only can you effortlessly sync up your favorite Bluetooth controllers, but you can also connect wired controllers to the unit via the USB A port on the front of the stick. And whether I was cracking skulls in Dragon Ball FighterZ with my HORI Real Arcade Pro for the PS4 or weaving in and out of enemy fire in Deathsmiles using my Switch HORI Fighting Stick Mini, the input lag was virtually nonexistent. Hell, I was even able to plug in my Sega Genesis Mini six-button and Sega Astro City Mini pads – a fittingly old-school solution for playing Berzerk Studio’s love letter to Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, Infernax (now on Game Pass).
Of course, these controllers don’t have as many buttons as the standard Xbox Series X controller, but that wasn’t much of an issue. Specific button combinations (generally start and another button) work to make up for the missing inputs. Of course, this works better in some games than it does in others. So if you plan on playing something that requires split-second timing, you’ll probably want to forego the retro-style controllers in favor of a more modern solution.
I tested the Wingman XB with every controller I could find, and everything worked without a hitch. This is hardly a surprise, however. Brook claims the device supports over 125 peripherals, and with regular firmware updates, that number will only get bigger. The most recent update even added support for PlayStation and Switch Taiko controllers, which is great because one doesn’t exist for the Xbox at the time of this writing. So if you only own an Xbox console and want to enjoy Bandai Namco’s latest offering, Taiko no Tatsujin, in all its glory, that alone might justify plunking down the $45 for the Wingman XB.
Overall, the Wingman XB is yet another excellent piece of hardware from the team at Brook. Affordable and feature-rich, it’s a must-have solution for anyone looking to use their collection of peripherals on the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and even OG Xbox. While missing bells and whistles like rumble (with some controllers) and a lack of support for headsets are somewhat disappointing, the staggering number of controllers the Wingman XB supports more than justifies the asking price.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Full disclosure: This review is based on a sample unit provided by the manufacturer.