14.12.06

Excite Truck! quick impressions


These impressions are from ~30 minutes of play time.

I got it today from a co-worker. The controls feel almost uncomfortably loose; it takes a while to go from the analog stick to tilting of the wiimote in a racing game. It's seems closer to an SSX than a typical racing game in that it's more about crazy jumps than riding a tight line. It rewards "style" driving more than any other racing game I've seen. Progression through the game is based on the number of points you accumulate through the level. You get points for doing stunts, jumps, and smashing up others cars as well as your finish position, so theoretically you can come in last and still "win" and get an S rank. (It's certainly easier to get an S rank with the 1st place bonus points, but it's possible otherwise.) There's also these bizarre power ups that deform the terrain; typically they make steep ramps for some ludicrous jumps, but sometimes they just make a ditch. (Maybe some are bad? I dunno.)

For those who like to tracking how many crazy things they did and unlocking stuff for it, ExciteTruck may be one of the greatest games ever made. It counts how many times I've made tree runs (driven a good distance between trees), seriously wrecked other player's cars, and how many times I've made jumps that lasted over 30 seconds, and a bunch of other stuff I don't completely understand yet. Each time you complete a goal, you get a trophy and/or unlock a car. Unlocks are also car-based too. They track how frequently you've raced with a given car and how many S grades you've gotten with it and will unlock new types of that vehicle as you progress. Unlockable rewards come at a brisk pace but not so frequently that it feels like ExciteTruck is begging for your attention.

If there's anything to gripe about, the graphics look somewhat dated and plain. Most of the time you're flying through the air, doing huge jumps, and you're too busy driving to nit-pick. Yet when you crash and are mashing the button to get your "pity boost", you have time to stare at the thing you hit and think "yeah, that tree is probably less than 30 polys". The game appears to run at 30 fps, maybe even 60.

I got it for $30 and felt like it was a fair deal. If I paid $50 for ExciteTruck, I may have been left wanting.

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