Excite Truck


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 3

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 7


Excite Truck is fun. That's it. This is the type of game where the only thing you need to know are those four simple words that started this review. Aside from a rather lacking feature set, Excite Truck is a wonderful Wii showcase racer.

excitetruck1_wii.jpg (32214 bytes)Taking it's name from the classic Excite Bike (and later butchered Nintendo 64 update), Excite Truck becomes the insane, over-the-top racing game for the Wii that fits nicely into an unfilled niche. There is little focus on crashing, physics or even finishing first. It's about being as stupid as possible when flying (literally) around the courses and making it through with style.

The game works because of its simplicity. The only modifications to slowly unlocked trucks are paint jobs and color swaps. There is no career mode, no online play and the game is devoid of any sort of license.

Maybe it's the glut of racing games on the market that do provide all of that which makes Excite Truck feel fresh. You start, you race, you finish, you move on. Rather obviously focusing on racing trucks, a simple variety of tricks and boosts are they key to mastering the wonderfully varied tracks in record time. Excite Truck is also attractive aside from some ugly weather effects.

As stated above, finishing first is not a requirement to win. You can finish dead last and still walk away with a passing grade. Excite Truck is about earning stars, and it's worth noting finishing higher grants more stars as a bonus. You do so in an incredible amount of ways, from gaining airtime to plowing through a forest and coming out unscathed. Boosting is critical and as in Excite Bike, you need to watch you temperature gauge to ensure you're not pushing your vehicle too hard.

You can cool off faster in shallow water or in the air. Tilting the Wii Remote takes care of the control set up almost entirely. You'll hold your controller sideways, moving it up and down to subsequently move left or right. In the air, tilting it towards or away from you will lift or lower the car respectively. Boost is handled by any of the d-pad directions, and tricks require a rather convoluted set up involving two buttons along with a tilt.

The latter is the only control failing in the game. The unresponsive air spins are better off left alone, as the increase in the number of stars isn't worth the frustration of landing awkwardly when the Remote doesn't respond properly. Every other function responds flawlessly, and this is arguable some of the best use of the technology to date.

Sadly, it's over too soon. There are four brackets to unlock, each with a max of five races. Finishing with a somewhat simple to attain B grade on each unlocks the next set of levels. Once all are completed, you'll unlock a harder difficulty, though with hardly any incentive to complete them aside from extra trucks. The same goes for the challenge mode that offers a small selection of different race types with specific goals.

Split-screen multi-player follows the same path with few options. This is a title screaming for online play, and while gaming with friends in the same room is always more desirable, the mechanics could lead to some incredible encounters. Also, online play would greatly extend the game's life.

Still, this is a great launch title for the new hardware. It shows it off with some vivid graphics, does a marvelous job of using the features available, offers custom soundtracks with the SD cards and is accessible to anyone after a few races. Excite Truck will develop a solid fan base, and a sequel down the line with a better feature set needs to happen.


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Last updated: Friday, December 08, 2006 09:50 PM