Most people think of Excite Bike on the NES when they were the word Excite with Nintendo, but a truck series? It intrigued people and had the potential to be as addictive as Excite Bike all those years ago. Being a launch title on the Wii, just like Excite Bike was for NES, it had a lot of hardcore Nintendo fans excited. Insane speeds, jumps, stunts, smashing? Was this Excite Bike evolved for the next generation?
The short answer is no, and the long answer is God, no, but it does have some good merits. While not really resembling anything Excite Bike related, not even a track editor, it has its name and name only. Excite Truck pits generic monster trucks against each other and equally generic tracks turboing and drifting around corners to rack up as many stars as you can. This includes jumping through rings, morphing terrain, and getting invincibility power-ups. Sounds exciting, and it is quite thrilling, but it's all flash and no substance.
The entire game is controlled with just the Wii remote on its side and you steer by turning the remote. The controls right off the bat are way too sensitive and this is especially noticeable once you are going at mach speeds and on cars that don't have a high grip rating. I crashed into trees and went off course numerous times, but thankfully if you mash the 2 button fast enough you can hop back on track with a boost. Another underlying issue is the track design isn't built for these insane speeds. It's like they finished building the tracks and then decided to make the cars faster. A lot of times I would be a top speed-boosting through jumps only to jump farther than the turn or overshoot things. When you're going this fast you shouldn't have to hold back on the boost, it defeats the purpose. I'm not going to strategically manage my boost as most arcade games don't do this. It feels like they were trying to make the player compensate for their mistake by letting you go too fast.
The speed and squirreliness of the cars lead to missed pick up items such as the terrain morphs (they add a jump in front of your or lower you down to the water to cool your boost meter) or the invincibility pick up are too small to hit when going at insane speeds. It just feels so unbalanced and not playtested enough. I constantly missed these things unless I slowed down to a crawl, and thankfully the AI is brain dead and incredibly easy as even in my worst races I still made first. There's just too much to do in this game on the track at these speeds. I don't want to do 360s in the air, I don't want to morph the terrain. I want well built, memorable tracks with insane jumps and better physics.
This leads me to more problems. The lack of content and just the overall meh feeling of everything. The tracks are some of the most generic I have ever seen. Just random turns and jumps with dirt and trees splattered around. I can't tell one track from the next, and the visuals are so bad (even for Wii standards) that you won't care. Awful aliasing and flat textures are just everywhere. Outside of the 25 races in the main event, there are challenging that have you racing through gates or flying through rings. Not very exciting honestly. After the first cup was finished I saw all there was that this game offered and it wasn't much. This is one of the most generic and plain racers on the Wii and it shouldn't carry the Excite name at all.
Overall, Excite Truck is a game with an awesome sense of speed, and after about 10 races it all wears off. Horrible track design, generic presentation, lack of content, and just too much speed for tracks not designed for it. I never felt completely in control of a race or my car no matter how good I was at it. A track editor would have been nice to make better ones than the developers provided, and there's no online play. At best, it's a filler launch title that I would have been mad to pay $50 for. It's just like eating a small bag of potato chips. It's fun during the 10 minutes it takes to eat them then you toss the bag and forget all about it.