Preview: ExciteTruck (Wii)

At a recent showing of the Nintendo Fusion Tour, I was able to get some hands-on time with Nintendo’s go-to Wii-launch racer, ExciteTruck. If the taste of game play demonstrated at the event is any indication of what to expect in November, players will have plenty of reasons to get excited over ExciteTruck.

While the demo unit only allowed for a single player to sit behind the wheel, the retail release will allow for four people to hit the dirt at the same time. By resting the Wiimote flat on your hands, ExciteTruck gives you full control over your virtual vehicle. The game throws the generic video game driving controls out the window and fully utilizes the remote’s tilt technology.

In order to control the on-screen trucks, players will tilt the controller left to turn left and vice-versa to turn the other direction. Button 2 acts as the gas with Button 1 located right next to it in case you have to hit the breaks in a pinch. Much like the classic ExciteBike, turbo activated through the digital directional pad is available to players at the cost of adding excess heat to your engine. If you’re not paying attention and push your temperature all the way into the red, say goodbye to your truck, as it will burst into a fiery mess.

However, the vehicles’ turbo aren’t the quickest way to get your tailpipe moving. When a player takes to the air, in tune to ExciteBike, landing flat on all your wheels keeps your forward momentum going. As an added bonus in ExciteTruck, landing flat by tilting the controller appropriately awards players with a huge boost of speed. There’s no time for sulking after a wreck either since the game allows players to mash on button 2 to fill a meter and take off with a turbo boost after resetting on the screen.

In the preview version, players could visit four different locales based on countries around the world. The single player mode pitted players not only against the track but also an overall time limit in which to gain a specific number of performance points pictured as stars (much like Burnout Revenge). This mode gives players a double duty as not only do they have to keep up with the pack of five other racers, but also obtain the highest rank possible through performance.

Also similar to Burnout Revenge, players are awarded stars for accuracy in sticky situations (such as driving through an area full of trees), knocking out opponents with turbo-induced nudges, catching massive air, drifting and more. Power-up icons also litter the tracks and range in results – some will launch your truck into the air, change the landscape for huge jumps, give you a huge speed boost and even allow you to charge unscathed through forests of trees.

After crossing the finish line, players will be graded on their performance with bonus points awarded for the number of hoops jumped through, tricks performed, final position in the race and more.

At this point, ExciteTruck is scheduled to hit the U.S. in time for the Nintendo Wii launch on Nov. 19, about two months before the title is slated to hit Japan.

 

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