Concept: Race pickup trucks around undulating off-road courses and earn stars from stunts and race position. Earn enough stars in each race of a league and unlock the next league.
Gameplay: This involves holding the wiimote in two hands (with the buttons at the top) and tilting the ends up and down to steer. The buttons are used to accelerate, boost and brake. Boosting off a ramp or hill sends the truck flying. Tilting the wiimote forwards and back controls the trucks angle when flying. Some of the power-ups on the course give extra speed, others cause the terrain ahead to morph, creating enormous ramps or drops.
Save System: Autosave after each race.
Comments: It's a wacky racing game. If you like the kind of game where you drive around at high speed with a blatant disregard for the laws of physics, then you'll like this. If you don't, you won't. The motion-sensing Wii controls don't really add anything to the experience over using a joypad. The tilt works well (particularly in the air) but using the buttons at the same time feels awkward. Trying to achieve a mid-air spin is unnecessarily complicated. The morphing looks cool but is little more than a gimmick.
This was a launch title in the States and it still has that basic feel to it. There aren't many courses and progression can be frustrating at times. There are challenges to complete as well but they don't add that much. The gameplay is fun but sometimes you're left wondering if the number of stars you gain has much to do with how well you're driving. It's like they didn't have time for tweaking but polished up a preview version, slapped some menus on it and shoved it out the door. You have to suspect Nintendo Europe realised the game wasn't that special and held it over a few months to pad out the release schedule and maybe sell a few extra copies to Wii owners desperate for new games. (Remember, folks, it's this or Barnyard. Choose wisely).
Conclusion: Excite Truck is definitely worth renting for a night or two but whether it will hold your attention longer is debatable. You might want to dust off Burnout 2 instead.
Graphics: Good but sometimes lacking in detail. Everything moves fast and smoothly.