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Excitebots: Trick Racing review

AT A GLANCE
  • Cool robotic racers
  • Odd sense of humor
  • Lots of play mode variety
  • Can't import custom tunes
  • Race locations repeat slightly
  • Excite Trucks part deux?

When so many modern racing games favor hyper-realism and street cred over playfulness and accessibility, it’s nice to see one that kicks all that macho nonsense in the teeth every once in a while. There’s nothing even remotely serious about piloting a transformable robot animal-vehicle (frog, mantis, ladybug, bat and more) at breakneck speeds through steep, mountainous courses. Especially when those courses are filled with random floating poles to spin around on, soccer balls to knock into goals, pies to launch at giant floating clown heads, tambourines for tapping “Shave and a Haircut” on to gain a quick boost, and other ridiculousness. And that’s why Excitebots: Trick Racing is ultimately such a blast.

We know the concept sounds a little absurd. But developer Monster Games’ wacky robot racer builds on the strengths of its predecessor, Excite Truck, in ways that make it a more enjoyable experience. At their core, the two games play very similarly, utilizing a simple sideways Wii Remote setup with tilt-sensitive steering controls and buttons jabs for gas, breaks, and boosting. You’ll find yourself thundering around numerous winding race tracks in exotically detailed locations that blur as you zip past.

Running over certain boxes causes the terrain to morph and shift as you go, and an equal amount of time is spent between tearing up terra firma and launching yourself outrageously high into the air to pull off crazy tricks. Ranking in first-place isn’t as crucial as executing enough stunts to earn the minimum number of stars needed to move on to subsequent races and unlock extra tracks.

The most immediately noticeable difference in Excitebots is that you get to pilot a giant mechanical grasshopper, hummingbird, frog, or some other odd creature. All of the game’s 12 different robo-critters can alternately roll on wheels, get up and run on two legs, or spread out and glide at different points in each race. Each one sports a slick design and has its own weight, handling, and speed attributes.

Beyond the charm of racing a big robot bug (or some other critter), the game throws tons or random silliness into your path. You’ll be cruising along and suddenly pick up weird stuff like a big dart that can be chucked at a passing target, a soccer ball you’ll have to swerve into to knock into a goalie net, the necessary ingredients to make a sandwich, and even false teeth you can send chomping towards nearby opponents. The near-endless array of often wild and creative antics keeps things lively and injects a dose of humor into the otherwise intense and speedy racing gameplay.

Aside from a handful of extensive solo circuits to race on, there’s a poker game mode that has you picking up cards to play hands and earn points while racing and plenty of minigames to test your mettle. Online multiplayer is a great addition, letting you place bets on races against up to five other players to rack up large amounts of stars that can be spend on unlocking new rides, collectible figurines, and other goodies. All around, Excitebots is a step up from its four-wheeled cousin and possibly just bizarre enough to hold your attention for far longer.

Apr 24, 2009

More Info

Release date: Apr 20 2009 - Wii (US)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Racing
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Monster Games
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Mild Fantasy Violence
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

15 comments

  • charley235 - July 5, 2009 7:10 p.m.

    this game is fun as hell, itf it were rated on fun alone itd get a 9
  • Ravenbom - April 28, 2009 3:07 p.m.

    It's pretty fun, except for those stupid Red Bar spinning parts which really slow down what is otherwise a crazy fast game. And I wish they had more crazy locations, like the last level of Excite Truck where you're on the moon. I mean, it's all basically the same levels we've played in Excite Truck. The game is so off the wall insane, it should have featured off the wall insane courses like a Rainbow Road, or a space station, or a Micro Machines micro-sized course. Its just because the courses are basically all the same, it just feels like a weird Excite Truck, rather than it's own game.
  • fionnoh - April 27, 2009 4:32 p.m.

    looks pretty damn good, shame about it being offline though. i'll probably be able to pick it up cheap.
  • RonnyLive19881 - April 27, 2009 12:22 a.m.

    I'm not. I love the game. Finally something new in the racing genre! Reminds me of Beast Wars except it is cool. How is it insulting you? Do you wish Nintendo would just give us F-zero 4? I like they tried something new. Vaguely reminds me of PURE for some reason...
  • Romination - April 26, 2009 5:01 p.m.

    ronny... you wind up sounding like your mocking the hell out of the game. i'm tempted to pick this up...even though i feel somehow that it's insulting me...
  • RonnyLive19881 - April 26, 2009 8:41 a.m.

    ^^^^ If he would give it a try he would realize it is a revolutionary BLAST of awesomeness!
  • RonnyLive19881 - April 25, 2009 4:30 p.m.

    ^^^^ Go suck a Duck
  • Levy - April 25, 2009 2:49 p.m.

    I'm amazed this scored an eight, and I really don't like the idea of this game, but whatever
  • RonnyLive19881 - April 25, 2009 2:32 p.m.

    This looks awesome! Why do they have to nitpick at no custom soundtracks? Just turn off the Music, turn up the sound effects and hook up your MP3 player to your sound system. IT IS THE SAME THING! And since when are racing sequels not a part deux Lol you must have hated RE5(great game too).
  • Dead - April 25, 2009 3:29 a.m.

    I loved Excite Truck while it lasted and this sounds like an awesome multiplayer game. Totally getting this once I get some money.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - April 28, 2009 6:29 a.m.

    I see the info box to the side says it's offline, when in fact it's 6-player online as mentioned in the review. You can bet stars on your races, making it much easier to unlock all the really expensive stuff like colors, new 'bots etc.
  • RonnyLive19881 - April 28, 2009 4:39 a.m.

    I think it is the fact that when you are in the air you can see the whole level, that is why it reminded me of Pure. I like this a little more!
  • doc-marten - April 27, 2009 6:05 p.m.

    I played this game, and didn't like it at all. One thing I know, it's NOTHING like PURE...and revolutionary? C'mon...Maybe for the younger crowd. Certainly, everyone should play it and decide for themselves...
  • lava_lamp - April 25, 2009 7:56 p.m.

    ^^^^^ Levy has a right to his own opinion follow your own advice
  • AuthorityFigure - April 25, 2009 3:03 a.m.

    Hey I might just have to pick this one up - as long as it is a bit more varied than ExcitedTruck...

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