Your aim in Excite Truck is to earn as many stars as possible by completing challenges throughout the race and finishing the race in the highest position. Numerous bonuses are scattered throughout each race, some of which automatically terraform the track in front of you. Others bonuses draw rings in the air that you need to jump through to earn stars. There are also power-ups, such as boosts, which you can use to power around the track, but less cautious drivers could find themselves ploughing into a roadside obstacle. If you total your car by crashing into an obstacle or another car, you have to tap quickly on the controller to rebuild it. Stars are also awarded for gaining air, and just like in the Mario Kart series, you’re awarded an overall grade at the end of the race.
As has been the case with many early Wii titles, Excite Truck’s controls are simplicity personified. You hold the remote horizontally, with your left thumb resting on the small D-pad and your right thumb over the 1 and 2 buttons. To steer, you simply tilt the remote left or right and you can tilt it forward or back to control how your truck lands. The 1 and 2 buttons deal with braking and acceleration whilst boosting is controlled by pressing any direction on the D-pad. It may not sound that exciting when written down, but the controls are ideally suited to the Excite Truck style of gameplay. Tilting the remote to steer does take a little getting used to but it quickly becomes second nature, and tilting forward and back to adjust how your truck lands feels perfectly natural.