If there’s a genre I never was able to get into, it’s the racing genre. Sure, I’ve had fun with Gran Turismo 2, Need for Speed 2 and Mario Kart, but nothing ever grabbed me for a longer period of time. This is probably why there are so few racing games in my collection: My knowledge and experience with the genre are really limited and I don’t know what to collect. However, when I found Excite Truck used for 8€, I knew I needed to get it, since it was a game that was published by Nintendo and thus collectible. It collected some dust since then, since I never really played it, but two weeks ago, I had a go at it. And it’s an amazing game!
Excite Truck is a bit weird when compared to other racing games: While it is a good thing to win a race, winning alone just isn’t enough to beat a track. You have to gather enough stars in order to complete a race. How do you get those stars? By making long jumps, drifting, crashing into other trucks or flying through rings. This makes the races incredibly entertaining, since you’re not only focusing on being first, but you also try some reckless manoeuvres. I think this is why I enjoy this game so much, since it wants you to try some crazy stuff in order to get more stars.
All these gameplay mechanics would be worthless of course, if it weren’t for the good controls. You hold the Wiimote sideways and actually steer with it. What’s surprising is the fact that this controls scheme really works. It takes a few minutes of getting used to it, but it all works out surprisingly well. That’s a good thing, since the speed of the game needs you to have some quick reflexes in order to get through the harder courses. Personally, I only made it up until the gold cup, where the difficulty ramps up and I’m unable to actually win anymore, but it never feels cheap when I loose.
One of the things that surprised me the most is the technical side of things: For a launch game, the graphics were pretty good and the framerate is always holding up. That’s pretty impressive, considering that at some points on the tracks, you can actually trigger changes in the terrain that happen immediately. This doesn’t only make for some variation during the tracks, but also looks great, as you can see the hills growing right in front of you. Outside of that, I really need to mention the amazing soundtrack that includes a lot of rock music that really fits the game. It’s also quite nice that you can use your own soundtrack in the game!
As I already wrote, the earlier cups are pretty easy, but it’s still going to take you some hours to complete them. Races are short and even if you fail, restarting them only takes a short moment. This makes loosing a race free of frustration, which is always a good thing. Even beginners like myself can easily get into this game. You learn quickly when and how to boost, how to do boost jumps and how to earn a lot of stars.
If you haven’t gotten this game in your Wii collection yet, it comes highly suggested by me. Not only was this an amazing launch title, but it still holds up today. It’s easy to find and quite cheap to, so if you see it, grab it immediately. You won’t regret it!