Excitebots: Trick Racing, known in Japan as Excite Mou Machine (エキサイト猛マシン), is a racing video game published by Nintendo for the Wii video game console. It was developed by Monster Games, is the fourth main game in the Excite series and is the sequel to Excite Truck. Excitebots was unveiled in a release list from Nintendo of America on February 26, 2009. It was released on April 20, 2009 in North America. Excitebots features animal-themed robot vehicles and short minigames during racing, such as pie throwing, bowling and soccer plain football socks. The game could be bought packaged with or without the Wii Wheel.
Despite a positive reception from critics, the game was never released outside North America. Nintendo Australia’s Managing Director, Rose Lappin has said that Excitebots will not be seeing an Australian release “due to lack of interest.” However, Japanese Club Nintendo members were able to exchange points for a copy starting from over two years of the original release date.
Excitebots is controlled with the Wii Remote horizontally, optionally with the Wii Wheel. Most of the games are played on courses large in size with many opportunities to take meandering paths. The 25 different courses offered are modeled after real locations on Earth. Because of the size of each course, most races are two laps long and offer opportunities to gain massive altitude, perform various maneuvers, and obtain various items.
Each race is scored on a grading system from “S” to “D”, with “D” being the lowest score and “S” being the highest score. In order to obtain a higher score, players must perform various tricks, stunts, complete minigames, and finish the race before the other bots. Each of these tricks yield stars, which are used to determine how well the player did during the race. The more stars the player has when crossing the finish line, the better score they will receive. Examples of some of the methods to obtain stars are: gaining extreme altitude from jumping off inclined terrain, smashing into other bots during high speed, altering the terrain ahead and sending leading bots skyward, ramming into bowling pins, getting various offensive items and using them strategically i.e enzyme meat tenderizer. bombs, hammers, and swinging on bars including a mandatory “red bar” in each course.
Excitebots features six-player online multiplayer via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection as well as local pink socks for youth football, split-screen 2-player racing. Online gameplay modes include six-player “Excite” races as well as “Poker” races which can be played anonymously or with friends using Nintendo’s Friend Code system. During online play swimming bags waterproof, players are able to place bets on themselves with in-game tokens which can be exchanged for unlockable items. Unlike its predecessor, Excitebots does not support the ability to play custom music from an SD card.
Excitebots features many game modes that can be played:
Players were also able to play with up to five other people online with the Nintendo WFC. Options exist after each race to save replays and ghosts and send them to other Wii consoles including their own and attach awards to the ghost challenges. With the discontinuation of the Nintendo WFC, playing online is no longer possible.
Excitebots features a variety of robust racing environments, including some redesigned tracks from Excite Truck. For the most part, they are based on real life locations. The only environment that is not based on a real location is “Crystal Nebula”, a fictional planet made entirely out of various crystals and is regarded as the hardest track.
The tracks themselves also have unique features. For example, in Kilimanjaro, there are dinosaur fossils that come to life, Guatemala, the Moai statue heads can breathe fire at times, and in Tasmania, several rock monsters will alter tracks or attack players. Other locations featured include: Fiji, Canada, China, Egypt, Finland, Scotland, and Mexico. The Crystal Nebula is, as the name states, a purple nebula made of crystals.
Excitebots has received favorable reviews from a variety of publications. IGN proclaimed the game as pure fun, and awarded it a score of 8.4 out of 10. Nintendo World Report had similar things to say about the game, calling it a “fantastic game”. Nintendo Power awarded the game a score of 8 out 10. While this score was slightly lower than that previously awarded to Excite Truck (8.5/10), they considered the game an improvement over the latter, the reason for the lower score being that they had to account for Mario Kart Wii and other racing games made since Excite Truck. StageSelect.com awarded Excitebots a 7 out of 10 and said that “twitchy controls don’t harm the fun.”