It's not the most glamorous launch game in history, but Excite Truck's high-octane action succeeds on many levels. The hilly, morphing terrain and spectacular crashes provide a sense of speed that'll grab the attention of casual gamers everywhere, while unlockable cars and secret paths reward players who've got a better handle on this whole "video game" thing. A customizable soundtrack (courtesy of Wii's SD card slot) sweetens the deal even more, letting you toss in your favorite mp3s and soar gracefully through the air as a half-ton piece of road-ripping machinery.
The premise may be exceptionally blatant, but there's a surprising amount to do on each course. As the name implies, Excite Truck is all about big air and going as fast as possible at all times - this comes through in gameplay as a star-collecting system that awards points for cooler, longer performances. Drift through a turn, get a star; hold that drift longer and the number of stars goes up. If you hit a ramp and jam on the turbo button, the resulting nitro explosion hurls you in the air for even more stars... you get the idea. This constant stream of accolades makes the already scenic and intense racing all the more enticing.
But it's not just a matter of coming in first. You also have to meet star goals for each track and pass with a B ranking to proceed onto the next circuit. Trying to secure first place and nail a truckload of tricks as the environment dips, shifts and heaves around you is tough, but oh-so, well, exciting.