'Excitebots: Trick Racing': Robo-critters rev their engines in Nintendo's new racer
If you spent your formative years crushing koopas, you probably also spent some serious time enjoying one of the other classic big gray cartridges: Excitebikes. The dirt-kicking series — which saw sequel Excitetrucks race alongside the Wii’s launch in 2006 — returns with Excitebots: Trick Racing, a fast, fun, over-the-top entry that absolutely oozes with Nintendo’s signature wacky style.
Treading a variety of trick-encouraging tracks, race fans get behind the wheels of bizarre robot-, insect- and reptile-hybrid vehicles. From tweaked-out ladybugs to our favorite, the road-ruling Praying Mantis, players control a pack of robo-critters that make the Transformers look like plausible real-world science. But racing these inventive rubber-burners is only the beginning, as Excitebots really hits its stride when it litters the tracks with creative mini-games, incorporating everything from simple sports and musical challenges to sandwich-making. Seriously. The “what’s next?” appeal of these mid-race challenges nicely complements the need-for-speed action. While it lacks some of the personality-packed charm of Mario Kart, Excitebots should still keep gamers of all stripes clutching their Wiimotes till they reach the finish line. — Matt Cabral