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Isn't this just Excite Truck?
In a word, No. In many words; what Excite Truck did was introduce gamers to the very abstract idea of controlling a speeding truck with the tilt of your hands. At the time, this was a new concept and it certainly took some getting used to. The game was fast, fun and, let's be honest, very much a launch title. It was relatively short with the only real replay value coming in the form of multiple course runs for the sole purpose of achieving higher rankings. Excitebots expands on the approach to racing that Excite Truck introduced, then throws it at the wall and scribbles on it with colored markers.
To be blunt, the game is just plain insane. Gone are the ultra beefed-up 4x4s and in come giant mechanical insects and rodents, each with their own unique style of control and pros and cons. Gone are the barren stretches of course to build up your speed and we are instead given ridiculous minigames to play while in the middle of the racing itself, such as hitting giant soccer balls into goals or throwing darts at enormous targets.
This may all sound just a bit too strange to be entertaining but trust me, it's a blast. Excitebots is the kind of game that is very rare these days; a video game that knows it's a video game. Fun doesn't have to make sense, and Excitebots takes that fact and throws it in your face over the course of 20+ tracks and a host of multiplayer modes.
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A rarity for Wii titles these days, Excitebots includes a fully fleshed-out multiplayer offering with the ability to race against up to five other players online simultaneously. Once you have your game connected to the Nintendo WiFi Connection, you have a few choices as to how you want to show off your skills to the virtual masses.
You can race straight-up against your opponents, while placing money on the outcome of the race. This is a rather unique take on the online racing scene as you end up being the only person to blame when your horse comes in last place.
However, if gambling on the outcome of the race just isn't your thing, you can take it to the next level and play cards while actually competing in the race itself. The Poker race mode allows players to race around the tracks while collecting cards in an attempt to have the best hand when the race is over. It's these kinds of additions that make Excitebots a unique experience and one that simply must be enjoyed.
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As with any Wii game, the visuals are an area where special attention must be paid. Lacking the graphical prowess of its two major competitors, it can sometimes seem like a natural handicap is inherent to any Wii title on the market. Thankfully, Excitebots' art style stays as true to the winning formula of Excite Truck as possible and delivers a crisp and fast-moving presentation.
While still utilizing much of the same graphical tidbits as Excite Truck, the developers behind Excitebots managed to squeeze a bit more out of the Wii this time around, delivering textures on the order of four times the resolution as their previous attempt. Water effects are very well done and the dust and speed blur effects add just enough sparkle to do the job. The framerate stays true through it all and if you're enjoying it in progressive scan set, Bots is a very pretty game.
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I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little unsure about Excitebots when I was sliding it into my Wii. The box art alone is enough to make a seasoned gamer like myself a little nervous about what to expect. However, I am pleased to report that the experience contained within was one that I will not soon forget. I've not been this surprised by a game since the original Boom Blox hit shelves many months ago and I urge anyone with a hint of silliness in their bodies to at least give this racing/puzzle/did-I-just-do-that? game a shot.