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Excite Truck Review

Blistering off-road racing for the thrill-seeker in you

his isn't 'Simulation Truck'. Or 'Realistic Truck'. From the moment you blast off from the starting line in your first race, you'll know why this is called Excite Truck. With a complete disregard for realistic handling, gravity or the laws of physics, Excite Truck clearly has one aim - to excite, and it does that superbly. You're looking at the fastest, most insane racing game since Burnout 2 on the GameCube.

Trucks are inherently heavy and slow machines, but you can forget about that here because these "big damn trucks", as Nintendo's 'Mr Excitement' Reggie Fils-Aime called them, shift at a pace so fast you'll sometimes barely be able to focus on the road ahead. This is the sort of racing game we like to play.

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And it's especially cool on the Wii with a simple but effective control system that enhances the experience beyond using a traditional control pad. Using just the Wii Remote on its own, you turn the Remote on its side, holding it like a NES pad. Braking and accelerating is done with the 1 and 2 buttons and to steer your truck you simply tilt the Remote left and right like a steering wheel - a control method that looks to become the standard for most Wii racing games.

The controls are certainly intuitive but they still take a little getting used to - even for those of you who've played racing games using a steering wheel before - because of the Remote's obvious lack of a fixed central pivot. Your hands are free-moving and that feels strange for a while. You'll probably find yourself snaking down straights while you adjust, but once your hands are naturally configured to the sensitivity of the Remote, it's undoubtedly better than using the analogue stick.

Boosting is done by pressing any direction on the D-pad and although your boost power is essentially infinite, boosting causes your engine to heat up and overuse causes it to overheat, which slows you down temporarily. This means you have to use your boost strategically, and you soon discover that boosting is an integral part of the game.

Excite Truck might borrow a part of its name from previously released Excitebike games, but aside from packing a fair few ramps and some nitro-boosting action, it doesn't actually have a great deal in common with those reto motorbike racers. In fact, it's far from being a standard racer because reaching the finish line in first place isn't actually your primary objective in these races.

Instead, the key to beating the game is earning a set number of Star Points during each race. Star Points are earned in similar ways to the boost points earned in Burnout - you get them for crashing into opponents, driving dangerously close to trees, jumping ridiculously high into the air and drifting. That's the most basic side of it, but there are added layers of depth to this brilliant points-based system that make Excite Truck more, well, exciting than your average racer.

Get the hang of the basics and you move on to the more exhilarating stuff - Turbo Jumps and all that comes with them. Every course is packed with huge ramps that flick your insanely fast trucks hundreds of feet into the air. But that's not high enough for Excite Truck. Tap the boost button just as you leave the top of the ramp and you'll activate the Turbo Jump that launches your truck so high it's like you've broken gravity (and you'll pick up major Star Points too). This is where the motion-sensing control gets clever, not to mention where you'll earn the bulk of your Star Points.

While gliding through the air, tilt the controller back towards you and you'll turn the nose of your truck upwards which makes your truck travel through the air for longer, or you can tilt the controller forwards to nose-dive and hit the ground sooner.

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  1. Anonymous Friday 15th Aug 2008 at 02:07

    sadly there hasn't been a better racer since, maybe more in depth racer but none as good, lets hope for exite truck 2

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