Excite Truck Hands-On

We hit the dirt with one of the first driving games to arrive on Nintendo's Wii.

Every console launch needs a good driving game. And with Excite Truck, Nintendo attempts to show you how well the Wii can handle one of gaming's staple genres. This dirt-track racer will let you drive a variety of four-wheeled vehicles by holding the Wiimote horizontally and tilting it as you would a steering wheel. We tried a preview of the game at Nintendo's prelaunch event in London, and we managed to play quite a few Excite Race single events.

The preview build of Excite Truck featured tracks in Mexico, Fiji, Canada, and Scotland, all of which varied wildly in terms of design and scenery. In Mexico, wide tracks and numerous bumps provided a gentle introduction to the basics of jumping. In Fiji, however, winding tracks provided more obstacles and water sections. Scotland looked suitably gloomy, with trees to block the path of the more adventurous driver, and castles dotted the scenery to remind you of the venue's heritage. The graphics were fairly rudimentary, but the designers clearly put some thought into the track layouts.

This arcade racer provides plenty of spectacular jumps and power-ups...

It will certainly take some time to get used to Excite Truck's control system, but after a couple of races, we stopped skidding around every corner and finally gained some control of the vehicles. You hold the Wiimote horizontally with your hands placed at each end of the unit. You soon forget you're holding a bar and a natural steering instinct comes into play. One thumb is placed on the A button to accelerate, and you slow down either by letting go of this button or by performing controlled slides around corners. In addition, you can tilt the Wiimote backward to attain higher jumps at the crest of a hill and forward to bring your car down when it's in the air.

Your aim in Excite Truck is to earn as many stars as possible by completing challenges throughout the race and finishing the race in the highest position. Numerous bonuses are scattered throughout each race, some of which automatically terraform the track in front of you. Others bonuses draw rings in the air that you need to jump through to earn stars. There are also power-ups, such as boosts, which you can use to power around the track, but less cautious drivers could find themselves ploughing into a roadside obstacle. If you total your car by crashing into an obstacle or another car, you have to tap quickly on the controller to rebuild it. Stars are also awarded for gaining air, and just like in the Mario Kart series, you're awarded an overall grade at the end of the race.

...while tracks range from the beaches of Fiji to the dirt tracks of Mexico.

Of the 11 vehicles that are set to be available in the final game, we got to play with three in our demo--the boulder, firefly, and wolf. These three trucks varied in size, from smaller buggy-style vehicles right up to the full-on trucks that are promised by the game's title. Each car had a number of paint jobs available, and with six vehicles per race, things can get fairly hectic on the track. The demo we played let us sample the single-race game, but the finished game will provide challenges, a versus mode, and tutorials. It will also feature two levels of difficulty in the form of "excite" and "super excite," as well as bronze, silver, gold, and platinum level cups to win.

You don't often hear the words "excite" and "truck" together, but Nintendo's game looks like it will deliver on both accounts. It also looks as if Excite Truck will be one of the first ways for racing fans to test out the new controller, and on the evidence so far, it should be great fun to play in multiplayer mode. While the jury's out on whether or not it will provide a long-term challenge, it seems to nail down the simple mechanics that have served previous launch titles, such as WaveRace 64. We'll find out whether it deserves to make it into your new Wii soon enough, with the game launching on November 19 in the US and on December 8 in Europe.

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Discussion

34 comments
Evzy
Evzy

Sadly this game is not a launch title in the U.K but i will get it when it comes out!!

thippo94
thippo94

I think this game will be a really fun racing game! I can't wait! Oh, and for people who don't know... It's coming out on launch so it won't be sold out if you're lucky!

dell900
dell900

I'm gonna get this game! it looks great, and the new controller will make the game awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rockclmbr6
Rockclmbr6

Looks pretty crazy, and I'll be sure to add this to my Christmas list...I don't know if I want this or Monkey Ball yet, but I'm pretty sure this is going to be it.

bobreturns
bobreturns

wot has this article got to do with wind waker

alpowerfull
alpowerfull

I really hated Wind Waker, it had a good story line I guess, but after playing it, all I remember was sailing back and forth all the time. I think the true titles are Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, and Twilight Princess. WInd Waker is just there...

Phel
Phel

well EverAB, it's more like it's roughly 2 times better Cube, not a possible 3 times like you mentioned. It does whip Xbox , but even though the Wii's graphics aren't polished, I doubt we'll see much difference. However, I'd like to see some cell-shaded graphics like The Wind Waker, the game looked great on GC! Red Steel though by far has the greatest graphics viewable for the Wii right now, unless I missed a game. Here's a flashback for ya, remember Halo 2? I do. Those graphics were incredible when I first saw them, so were the 360's. But you get used to them and it all looks the same after awhile.

EverAB
EverAB

"Remember Wii 2-3x as powrful as Cube, and 2x as powerful as Xbox. People seem to forget this, and these are launch games. Launch games are NEVER a good example of console true graphics! Remember the 360's launch graphics? Now look at it!" - EXACTLY, notice how games get progressively better on consoles...yeah.

qah661
qah661

I will be getting that.

DFTricks
DFTricks

Interesting! (yeah i know nothing else to say)

DS_fan_atic
DS_fan_atic

I CAN NOT WAIT FOR THIS GAME!!!! getting it on launch day!

beedouk
beedouk

wow this game looks amazing lol i wasnt going to get this at first now i am soo cool

LikwidX3
LikwidX3

awesome. ill be pickin this up. i like the graphics, theyre not extremely beatiful like ps3 but theyre at the point of where videogames should be. wii is gonna be awesome.

Thorpe89
Thorpe89

Excite Truck looks awesome.

Blazer59
Blazer59

Excite Truck ROCKS!!!!!!!!!

plonker19
plonker19

can't wait the Wii keeps on giving suprises and nice ones at that vroooooooooooooom!!!

wiirev
wiirev

As I recall Half-life 2 was on Xbox! As I recall agian Wii is stronger than Xbox which Half life 2 is on. So your both wrong! Remember Wii 2-3x as powrful as Cube, and 2x as powerful as Xbox. People seem to forget this, and these are launch games. Launch games are NEVER a good example of console true graphics! Remember the 360's launch graphics? Now look at it!

SyluxElite
SyluxElite

Reminds me of Burnout.........WHICH IS GOOD

Staryoshi87
Staryoshi87

i actually think i might get this...first driving game since mario kart :)

-supercharged-
-supercharged-

I can't wait to get my hands on this game! This is definately going to be in my Wii collection.

Shazenab
Shazenab

ChiefFreeman weak graphics. this game was clearly rushed out the door to make launch. - I'm guessing with Mr Freeman in your name you're going to compare everythinh to half life 2. But honestly, its wishful thinking to compare the fantastic graphics of HL2 to a wii game.. saying that its unfair to compare an arcade racing game graphically, to most other games. In my oppinion it looks like a really fun game.. especially in multiplayer. I just hope there are unlockable galore, since arcade games don't last very long...

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

weak graphics. this game was clearly rushed out the door to make launch.

lzorro
lzorro

Can't wait!! Vroooom:)

juanfraino
juanfraino

thanks for the update, I`m looking ford ward to this game.

MVBDX
MVBDX

Wow. Nice, but... I hope, big N dont forget "Mario Kart"... Im luigi, Number 1! thanks a lot.