A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this racing game showcases big crashes and rewards players for smashing into other trucks. Players can also throw competitors into the air or knock them off course by altering the racecourse during a race. The action is always cartoon-ish, though, and the wrecks never involve more than a few parts flying off the vehicles. The use of the Wii controller as a steering wheel is innovative, but it may take awhile for some players to get used to it.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Like the motocross motorcycles of the Excite Bike games, the trucks in EXCITE TRUCK spend almost as much time flying through the air as they do zooming along the track. To control these jumping jalopies, players hold the Wii remote sideways and turn it as if it were a steering wheel, with one button for gas and one for brakes. Players' skills will be put to the test on 20 tracks spread over five countries. Each track is a jumbled collection of ramps and obstacles, and the landscape constantly shifts and evolves over the course of a race. Advancing through the game is not strictly tied to winning, but rather to collecting stars in each race.
Is it any good?
Excite Truck is one of the least realistic racing games in recent memory, and that's a good thing. The over-the-top action and good use of the Wii controller combine to make this one of the best games available close to the launch of Nintendo's Wii system.
Between the controls and the shifting tracks, Excite Truck might sound complicated, but the races and controls are actually pretty forgiving. In fact, serious racing-game fans might find Excite Truck to be a bit easy. The game does have two difficulty levels, but many players will see all the tracks in a few hours' time. But for players interested in short blasts of arcade-style racing, Excite Truck should provide plenty of fast, fantastic action.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the best way to win a race. Do players like to drive as skillfully and as quickly as they can, or do they enjoy knocking other racers off course in order to win? Families can also discuss safe driving and contrast the game's over-the-top action with the responsibilities of real driving.