Game Reviews
assist09_071003a
Excitebike: World Rally (WiiWare) Review

Growing up, I can remember playing the living crap out of two games on my NES; Super Mario Bros. 3 and Excitebike.  While many may look at Excitebike as just another 8-bit racer, it really was more than that… It was simple and addictive; a quality that makes a game timeless.  The new WiiWare title, Excitebike: World Rally, is now here to cater to fans of the original, and maybe grab a few newcomers.  Do I think this game will succeed in today’s market, seeing as it is basically the same game as its predecessor?  It’s hard to say, really; nostalgia-hounds like myself will eat it up, but it may seem to archaic for children who grew up with these high-adrenaline, extreme racing games.

If you were to explain this game to a newcomer, the best comparison would be “slot-car racing.”  You are pitted up against a number of racers, but none of that really matters; Excitebike has always been about beating the clock, not your opponents.  The game is the epitome of simple gameplay, with an easy to use interface.  The 2 Button is acceleration, while the 1 Button is your turbo, but be careful because you can overheat if you don’t hit the arrows on track that cool you down.  In World Rally you are offered a main single-player mode known as “World Tour.”  In the single-player mode, there are four classes;  Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, each consisting of four races in different locations.  Your main goal is to try and achieve the “S” Rank in each race, which allows you to unlock new bike colors.   Don’t get too “excited” though, the bikes don’t really handle different, just a new paint job.  There really is not much replayability in World Tour mode, which is why your next venue will be the Online and Track Editor modes.

To go along with the simple gameplay of Excitebike, the hassle with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection mode is kept to a minimum.  Hopping into a game was extremely easy and quick, and I liked the point system.  You get so many points per race, which will then allow you to unlock more bike colors…may not be much of an incentive, but at least it’s something.  The track editor mode is great, and easy to use, but I doubt it will keep your attention for long.  You can only make so many jumps and obstacles before your friends get bored with your creations, and look elsewhere for fun.  If your Wii isn’t online, you won’t be able to race people or share tracks, so I would maybe save the ten dollars, since the developers neglected to add a split-screen multiplayer mode.

Excitebike: World Rally is game that plays it safe, and overall, doesn’t bring enough new stuff to the table.  As a long-time fan of the series, I don’t see that as a bad thing, but a little more innovation would have been nice.  Visually, the game looks fantastic, with its colorful simplicity.   A new, little visual tweak added in, is the ability to change the angle of the camera, allowing the player to see farther down the track.  It takes some getting used to, and it actually made landing jumps much harder for me.  The controls of the game also have a Wii upgrade (or downgrade, depending on how you see it), you can now tilt the Wii Remote to change the angle of your bike.  Thankfully, this new way of controlling the bike is optional, because I prefer the classic control scheme…call me old-fashioned.

This game is hard to recommend at that rather steep asking price of 1,000 Nintendo pts. ($10).  I think the major, deciding factor will come down to how much replayability you will get from the online mode.  If you aren’t going to be playing with friends, or seeing how you stack up against random people, then you should just go download the original game for half the price.  Even though I wasn’t thoroughly impressed with this title, I am glad they put some care into it for us fans.  This doesn’t go without warning though; if you weren’t a huge fan of the original game, World Rally is not going to convert you.

assist09_071003a

1 comments
The Pit
The Pit

I need this game, now.