If there's one type of gaming that truly benefits from Wii's sensory-overload controller, it's the racing genre. Instead of holding the wand like a pointer, you use both hands to position it horizontally - like a steering wheel. Everyone, in theory, knows how to drive using a wheel. This makes Excite Truck all the easier to play, and its accessibility is only enhanced by its amazing simplicity.
For E3, Nintendo had two levels to try out, one tropical and another an arid desert. Regardless of which we played, it was clear that Truck was all about speed. The only buttons you use are the two on the wand's surface... and they're gas and brake. While in the air (and you will catch some serious air), you can rotate the wand to re-level the truck for a solid landing, giving you a fiery speed boost that rockets you ahead of the pack. And that's it. Jam down the gas and go.
So, yes, it's fast and it's fun. That's the most important part. But Excite Truck is pretty damn ugly. There's still plenty of time to clean things up, and for what it's worth, it does look like a modern-day GameCube title. But there were pretty scarce visual effects - in what we played, the trucks didn't even seem to phase the dirt tracks they were driving on. It looked like they were floating and sliding across the terrain instead of digging in.
But again, this still felt early. There's no solid release date, but given its name (a reference to the NES classic Excitebike, which was a launch title), there's a pretty fair chance we'll see more joyous trucking soon.
May 11, 2006