Now for the bad news. The biggest problem is the game has only five tracks. Just five! That is too few. Oh, I'll just design my own then, you say? You can only save one at a time, and it vanishes as soon as you you turn off the system. Battery-powered saving was still three years away. (Today, of course, you can use save states on the NES Classic or Switch.)
Worse still, there is no music to go with the five different tracks (they use different color palettes, at least). Adding good, unique music to each track would seriously improve this game!
Don't get me wrong: trying to master the five tracks is fun, but unless you're really into track design, that's all you can get out of this game. Still, because of what it does right, especially judged as a launch title, Excitebike is a fine game.
"It may not be the longest ride, and it’s definitely not perfect, but it’s a classic nonetheless and at least deserves a look."
— Dave Letcavage, Nintendo Life, 7/10
"Everything from the goofily fun intro theme to the cutesy graphics of the racers and the audience made this a flag-bearing title which helped buoy the system in its precarious early existence in the U.S."
— Pat Contri, Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library, 4/5
"Excitebike distanced itself from the pack by offering truly addictive motocross gameplay."
— IGN, #14 of Top 100
"The game remains a landmark NES classic, and a good time even if you’re not much for racing."
— Jeremy Parish, NES Works