It isn’t all that often that we see new consoles hit the market, but when they do they have quite a major impact on the gaming masses, and thus has been the case with Nintendo’s latest console the Nintendo Wii. With the launch of the Wii came a major list of launch titles that were aimed to really take hold of the Nintendo fan base and even rope in new sets of gamers as well. One game that was somewhat of a surprise was Nintendo’s Excite Truck, which shares the same name as the original Excitebike for the Nintendo Entertainment System that was an extremely popular and well loved game. Since then we haven’t heard from the "excite" franchise until now with Excite Truck for the Nintendo Wii. Can this arcade racer use the Wii’s new capabilities to its advantage? Read our full review to find out!
One of the big questions on anyone’s mind when looking at a game like Excite Truck for the Wii is whether or not it will be able to use the controls to their advantage. With what was a very simple arcade racer on the NES, now twenty years later I was interested to see what sort of game Excite Truck would be like and if it would be able to really last against a great market of great arcade racers.
The big draw factor for Excite Truck is not so much that it is an arcade racer, however that it is using the Wii remote. The controls are actually as simple as they come, by holding the controller horizontal and using both hands rather then the usual one. Steering your truck is actually done with tilting the remote, which is an interesting idea that actually does work rather well. You also get to use your boost with the D-Pad, and then you’re accelerating and braking is done with the 1 & 2 buttons. The controls are as easy as they come and really manage to work rather well together, although there is a slight learning curve.
At the start of the experience you begin with a mandatory tutorial that is really sort of a downer, because it forces you to do so rather than just giving you the option. Once you get through the tutorial, which of course teaches you the basics of the game and its simple mechanics. From there you have the Excite Race and Challenge modes, followed by the two player multiplayer. The amount of modes right off the bat is a bit underwhelming, as there really isn’t a lot to choose from something that this stage of the game you really feel like you want more after just going out to buy a console.
The challenge mode is where most of the depth in the game is at, with plenty of cups in which you will have to go race through to continue to progress through the game. The interesting and unique portion of Excite Truck’s is its scoring system, which you need to get a certain amount of star points in order to continue on. Now you can either just race the race and go for first place or you can try to get some points for getting tricks and from there try to get a high enough place in order to get the need points to move on. The ability to go through in two different ways is actually nice which does help give some added depth to the game.
In the end, Excite Truck is just a good arcade racer that has a great deal of variety in the courses and not a whole lot more. The biggest problem I have with Excite Truck is that besides having a very innovative control scheme the game really doesn’t seem to do anything outside of the ordinary. There is no real resemblance of the old Excite Bike game, nor was there really anything that stood out as being overly new. This is a good racing game that struggles because of its bare boned selection of modes and overly simplistic gameplay.
Visually Excite Truck doesn’t look fantastic, but it does have some things that do stand out about it, which starts with the tracks. The one thing I have to hand it to the developers on are the environments, which are rich with detail and just have a very unique feel between all of them that really make each race feel different from the last. Also Excite Truck has a pretty good frame rate that does manage to keep up with the action on screen that helps the games experience as well. Overall though there is nothing that really jumps out at you with this game, and I think that is probably my biggest gripe with the visuals.
The first few races of Excite Truck are actually pretty exciting, and the new controls really do help make it that way. However once you have a few races under your belt, the underlying racing mechanics of this game are just not as impressive once you get the hang of it. Much of what you find in Excite Truck is a good racing experience that has been done better on more than one occasion. Excite Truck is not a bad game by any measure, but it is one that had more potential then the final product gave us.
Excite Truck is a game that will be played mainly because it is a game that launched with the Wii. Had this game launched anywhere thereafter, it probably would have just been forgotten about and probably never talked about. So instead Excite Truck is a game that has some underlying elements that are pretty neat, but the overall game of Excite Truck just isn’t anything to write home about.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.