my favorite things together at last: sandwiches and robots

Is there anyone else out there who still plays Excite Truck for the sheer…excitement? The crazy loose physics that practically have you flying over tracks? Excite Bots: Trick Racing looks like a little more of the same with some added antics in the form of robot machines. This could be all it needed.

True, no one wants to play a clone of a previous game but some of the best games have been those that stuck to the source material without too much reworking. These can be a source of controversy for some gamers as to what makes a game great (ahem; Mario Sunshine), but we won't get into that.

Excite Bots: Trick Racing, due out April 20, is near finished and looks a lot like it’s predecessor in mostly good ways. Some tracks are overly similar to the original, but the new features set it so far apart that this may actually be a small point since the original also didn’t rely on great track design, but rather crazy physics.

Excite Bots takes this theme and sprints with it. The controls are similar to Excite Truck with some added functionality to serve the dozen or so Bots available, including a frog a beetle, a grasshopper and a bat. Jumping, flying, and even running using a pumping action when wheels are blown off.

The emphasis on a points system for ranking is intact here and expanded because of the focus on tricks. There are vertical and horizontal bars that allow you to reach out, spin around and launch yourself forward like a monkey. Everything you do wins you more stars including, yes...pie throwing.

There is an addition that’s been given the dreaded title of Mini-games, which turns off many of the more seasoned gamers. They include poker playing, sandwich making, pie throwing; all while racing at full speed. This is a lot more fun than it sounds as it’s incorporated into the gameplay itself.

It looks as though this newest instalment may not support SD card function for adding your own music mix but it remains to be seen. Split screen multi-player looks similar to Truck with a vertical split-screen for local multi player, but any online modes have yet to be confirmed so I wouldn’t keep my fingers crossed this close to release.

For a single player experience of fast paced racing excitement, expect this one to deliver at least what Excite Truck did and then some.