Joystiq Review: Excitebots: Trick Racing


At first glimpse, Excitebots: Trick Racing is very different from its Wii launch title predecessor, Excite Truck. However, the more time you spend diggin into the races, the more the two games start blurring together. Aside from the gigantic, robotic animals you're racing as and the quirky, brief mini-games you'll partake in mid-race, these are pretty much the same games, with the same problems.

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Like my time with Excite Truck back at launch, my initial experience with Excitebots was exhilarating, thanks to the speed of the cars and tension in the races. It's fun, but, like Excite Truck, the learning curve is just too low.

Before long, there's no contest whatsoever in Excitebots. In the beginning, I wasn't steering so well, I missed a lot of pick-ups, and I couldn't get the turbo jumping down to save my life. But, after only a handful of races, I was proficient enough that I only saw my CPU competition during the brief few seconds before the start of each race. I think Excitebots is best played in short sessions, where one would pick up the Wiimote, crank out a race or two, and move on before things get dull.

The other flaw that has carried over from Excite Truck is the unresponsive controls. It seems like Excitebots could have really benefited from MotionPlus, because it's incredibly hard to make sharp turns when going at top speed. There's that cut-off point when you turn the Wiimote so far that it doesn't recognize your input any longer, and if you make an error during a drift or wait too long to prepare for a turn, you're going to be frustrated time and time again when you crash and burn. It's not usually a huge problem, but during those more windy races, I found myself pretty upset at the lack of response.

Excitebots isn't all bad, however. Monster Games has added fun new gimmicks, such as the short mini-games throughout each contest (like playing a violin mid-race), as well as new motion-based stuff, such as turning your racer into a walking mech, tilting the Wiimote back and forth to accelerate. These things help mix up the monotony of racing through the same locales over and over again, and help Excitebots stand out. But, like everything in this game, the more you partake in these, the easier they are to excel at, and the less fun they become.

The best way to sum it up is as such: if you liked Excite Truck, then you're going to like Excitebots. If you loved yourself some Excite Truck, then you're going to love this. But, if you were someone like me, who found Excite Truck charming at the outset, yet shallow and tedious further on, then you're going to think the same of Excitebots.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.