Having Excitebots: Trick Racing in your Nintendo Wii is like having a fridge filled with nothing but cake. You might enjoy it for awhile, but too much of it may make you sick or hyper.
Excite Truck was one of the more overlooked and underrated launch titles for the Nintendo Wii. The fact that a game featuring trucks flying hundreds of feet through the air and into each other managed to fly under the radar is a feat in and of itself (blame Wii Sports and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess), but developer Monster Games have ensured that the sequel, Excitebots: Trick Racing, won't suffer the same fate by loading the game up with an unprecedented level of insanity.
I get the feeling playing Excitebots: Trick Racing that the word "no" was never uttered during a feature pitch meeting. Anthropomorphous bugs and animals that can race, run, and fly? In-race minigames dedicated to making sandwiches, collecting butterflies, throwing pies, and kicking goals? An entire mode dedicated to a racing-poker hybrid?
All of these concepts had to be pitched, and none of them were rejected. It makes for one of the unique games I've ever played, and it certainly keeps the races from getting boring.
Excitebots: Trick Racing - Race Like Crazy
The "standard" racing mode in Excitebots: Trick Racing consists of four cups, consisting of five races each, set in locales all across the world from Canada to Kilimanjaro (good luck telling them apart, save for a randomly placed landmark or two).
At the beginning of each race, a star goal is given. True to the game's insane features, winning in Excitebots: Trick Racing takes way more than finishing in first.
Throughout the race, engaging in the aforementioned minigames, completing mid-air tricks, crashing through competitors, and swinging from vertically and horizontally oriented bars all earn differing amounts of stars, with better bonuses being doled out for finishing closer to first.
A final grade is then assigned according to the total amount of stars collected. Due to this system, it's possible to fail a race while finishing in first or pass while finishing in last, both of which happened during my time with Excitebots.
There's a reason to go above and beyond when racing, however, as stars also act as the game's currency, allowing you to purchase new animal-automobiles, paint jobs, and other assorted collectibles. The racing seems to be fairly balanced, and the controls for most of the tricks are natural enough whether you're using the Wii Remote or Wii Wheel. The only major issue is the breakneck speed at which obstacles and stunt opportunities are doled out.
The other modes and minigames all have the same similar goal (earn a certain amount of stars), but vary wildly in execution. Poker Race consists of collecting different poker hands by gathering cards scattered about the course, earning more stars for better hands.
It's a very interesting (and bizarre) concept that ultimately fails due to the speed of the game betraying the more methodical nature of poker. I have a hard enough time determining what cards I need when one is doled out every 30 seconds, much less having to choose from five when they're rapidly approaching.
The minigames fare much better in execution. If one of the many in-race oddities tickles your fancy, you can try your luck at events that consist of nothing but one particular minigame. Whether you're flipping from bars like a gymnast made of steel, grease, and wheels, or tossing darts at a multitude of targets while blasting by them at high speeds, most of the minigames serve as suitable distractions should the main game get too hectic.
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