The Motherloot Blog: Product Reviews

excitebotsThough it launched on May 20th, we’ve been so busy playing the new game for the Wii called Excitebots: Trick Racing that we’ve had no time until now to write a review. Like MarioKart, Excitebots is a fun racing game played with an optional wheel controller. Excitebots is a lot different from other racers we own however.

First off, you’re not racing cars. Oh no, with a name like Excitebots, cars just wouldn’t do. You have your choice of a variety of giant robotic insects and similar creatures. Yup, you’re in complete control of things like a speeding metal lady bug, laying waste to all that oppose your polka-dotted fury.

Then come the tricks. In this game, finishing first is not the primary objective. As you tear around the outdoors in your grasshopper of destruction, you score points for a variety of crazy maneuvers. These are as simple as crashing into other bots or jumping hundreds of feet through the air, to flipping around bars with retractable arms and shaking a tambourine. Yes, I said shaking a tambourine.

On the tracks are special gifts you can unwrap. Inside are a variety of surprises that either help you gain an edge in the race or unlock an on-track mini game right in front of you. These include sports-related actions like knocking a soccer ball into a goal to the downright scary like throwing a pie into a freaky clown face. As silly as this all sounds, all of it is incredibly fun and satisfying (at least for a while).

The other major feature that makes this game fun is the sense of speed. When you hit your turbo, the world around your flying centipede literally becomes a blur. The developers have done a great job of using this technique to give you a real feeling of incredible speed without blasting your robo-spider forward so fast it’s uncontrollable. In fact, the game is very forgiving when you make mistakes. This is great for kids who are easily frustrated. Jump wrong off a cliff and heading towards a forest? Your bot can easily be steered back on course mid-air. Even when things go terribly wrong and your hummingbird of terror smashing into a million pieces, the game goes into slow mo and if you shake your wheel you are reassembled, put back on the track, and you get an extra speed boost to help you catch up.

At the core, all these tricks earn you stars. The more stars, the more tournaments you unlock. In addition, you can use stars to purchase new bots. Each bots is good at certain things, so it’s not just a change in looks when switching between a beetle and a bat. You can also buy new colors for your bots, which I didn’t find much value in. Do well enough and you’ll unlock a special outfit for your bot. I did find it amusing to race around in a mechanized insect wearing a top hat, but I’m not sure it worth more than a chuckle.

In order to add to the replay value, they’ve included several mini-games as well as the option to race online against players around the world. Unlike MarioKart where you get new challenges delivered all the time, the tracks and challenges will get repetitive after playing over and over.

All in all, the kids found it was high on fun and relatively low on frustration. Their interest did wane after a while, but they still get a kick over that lady bug.

Suggested Retail Price: $49.99 (with Wii Wheel) & $36.99 (without Wii Wheel)

Website for More Details: Excitebot: Trick Racing

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