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