Excitebike: World Rally Hands-On

A new perspective and old-school fun: We check out the upcoming WiiWare Excitebike game.

The original Excitebike was one of the best games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, so it's somewhat surprising that Nintendo hasn't gone back to the well that many times over the years. Beyond the well-received Excitebike 64 for the Nintendo 64, Nintendo just hasn't done much with the Excitebike series. That looks to change with the upcoming Excitebike: World Rally, which will be available on Nintendo's WiiWare channel on November 9.

Old school motorcross meets a new 2.5-D perspective in Excitebike: World Rally for WiiWare.

If you've played the original, the formula in Excitebike: World Rally should be very familiar. You play as a nameless motocross rider who tackles a series of off-road races filled with jumps, obstacles, and your fellow riders. In true Excitebike fashion, racing is straight ahead with no turns (though you can change lanes to avoid obstacles or hit jumps and power-ups). Your speed is regulated not just by mashing the gas on your controller, but also by how well you negotiate your landings after taking off on a jump; if you nail the landing perfectly, you'll get a quick burst of speed as you go. Hitting an obstacle (or another rider) will cause you to briefly crash, and you can recover by shaking the Wii Remote. There's also the issue of keeping your engine cool--rev it too hard for too long and you'll break down. Driving over illuminated arrows on the course will give you an instant cooldown and allow you to get back on the turbo button.

There are two control schemes in World Rally and both have you holding the Wii Remote horizontally. The classic control scheme uses the D pad to change lanes and your rider's position midair; the 2 button acts as gas while the 1 button provides a turbo boost. The new control scheme lets you tilt the Wii Remote left or right in order to control your rider's position midair and is surprisingly sensitive and effective.

We played the Bronze cup races in World Rally, which is one of several series in the game. The series included such locales as London and Canada with different challenges at each track. Unlike the 2D original, World Rally plays at an angled, 2.5 D perspective, giving you a slightly better look at what's coming up ahead of you on the track. The game will also support online play via the Wii's Wi-Fi capability and includes a track designer where you can control every aspect of your track using a variety of preset jumps and obstacles. You can test your track either from the beginning of the track or at specific points along the way.

The game moves at a quick pace--so quick, in fact, that it's easy to run in to other riders even with the new angled camera. But with a little practice (and a little luck) at each track, you should be able to earn a trophy. World Rally doesn't seem to be pushing the Excitebike franchise very far, but the essential fun of fast bikes and huge jumps remains.

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Discussion

18 comments
SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

So how many points is it?? Anyone know? Looks interesting :)

teknic1200
teknic1200

wow!! eXcite Bike coming back in it's pure form! can't wait. this game is going to be epic. for a straight line racer the gameplay is fairly deep. this is an insta-buy for me. I spent many many hours rockin out with eXcite Bike. The eXcite franchise has been very kind to the wii.

graham6853
graham6853

This is Wiiware people! You can't rent it from gamefly, and no, this does not look like any game from SNES (prove me wrong). You will pay less than $20 for it. Did anyone read the entire preview??? T

aransom
aransom

For a Wiiware game, this looks pretty good to me.

beel-kun
beel-kun

What a crap graphics & game, I hate it!

bDoza
bDoza

Sounds like it could be fun. Probably a gamefly rental only. I dont see the kind of depth that would make me buy this.

QWERTYCommander
QWERTYCommander

This sounds like a step back from Excitebike 64. I don't think I'll get this.

Dualmask
Dualmask

Though I used to love the original Excitebike--never got tired of making my own tracks--this might be a little TOO old school for me. It seems all they did was revamp the graphics. Online play is nice...I guess...but I would have been more interested in some tricks, customizable bikes/riders or something.

Hoodstock
Hoodstock

This looks like something that could have come out on Super Nintendo. I'll be excited when they bring back StarFox

fleetmenace
fleetmenace

i was excited when i saw the title, but disappointed when i saw the actual game and read it. Wii is really lacking in the racing game genre, let me know when the new f-zero comes out

Axcel_94
Axcel_94

this is pretty exciting news, im impressed.

AngelCage-2
AngelCage-2

This looks pretty good actually and i wanna play it now... and that's kinda weird comming from me... is a Wii game... but i love Excite bike... and i want this... but i hate Wii and pass from it long ago... Oh man, my head hurts!!!!!!!!!!

WllDan7
WllDan7

Sounds good. And nintendo has been back to the franchise. Excite truck and excite bot are both games in there.

atopp399
atopp399

Looks good. If the online aspect is similar to Mario Kart I might give this one a go.

huntervaneg
huntervaneg

Retro updated jewel, I was sold from the first moment I heard about it!

skatergeek
skatergeek

sounds preety cool. ill have to get this one for sure.