Excitebots Trick Racing Preview: Excite Trucks Gets a Make Over

The word Excite isn't the only thing that Excite Truck and Excitebots: Trick Racing have in common. Anyone who spent time with the off-road Wii racer may notice a few similarities between the games.

But a developer doesn't have to reinvent the wheel to make a game fun and a new enough experience to warrant a buy. But does Excitebots do the trick?

What It Is
Excitebots: Trick Racing pits wheeled robotic insects and animals against on another in a series of off road races and mini-games.

What We Saw
I played through a couple of races, but missed out on the sandwich-making, clown-pieing mini-games.

How Far Along Is it?
The game appears to be finished or close to it, as it should be with an April 20 release date.

What Needs Improvement?
Tracks: Granted I didn't see them all, but they were a bit too similar looking to the ones featured in 2006's Excite Truck for my tastes.

Vertical Bars: There are times in the game when you want to try and hook a bar with your bot to spin around it and shoot off ahead of the pack. The horizontal bars worked flawlessly, but the vertical bars required an odd motion that didn't seem to fit the on-screen action.

What Needs to Stay the Same?
The Controls: The racing controls felt relatively sharp, and certainly responsive enough to make tearing around the tracks fun. And motion controls weren't just about steering. You also use the remote to tweak the tilt during a glide and to interact with things, like those boost bars.

Drive, Fly, Walk: The racing is fun, but soaring over the track, controlling your glide is even better. The best, being whammied and forced to hoof it on stick-like robot legs by pumping the controller up and down.

Diversity: I only saw a few of the bots, a frog, a beetle, a bat, but there are a dozen in the game, each with their own special abilities. The frog I controlled, for instance, performed massive jumps when hitting a hill.l

Final Thoughts
Excite Truck was a fun, though little-played game in our house. I think that's because after a few races it all felt too similar. Excitebots looks like Nintendo recognized that and blended the best of Excite Truck with just a touch of Mario Kart.

The question is, is it enough Mario Kart.