The game was released in November 2009 for WiiWare, and is a direct port of the the original NES Excitebike. The game was released to moderate-to-positive critical reception, however many critics argued that the format had not been updated enough, and that it showed the limitations of the original title.
The graphics of the game have been updated; instead of sprites, the characters are now polygonal. The view can also be shifted from a 2D perspective to an isometric one, however, generally it does remain at the original perspective.
Races take place in various countries and continents, from Italy to Mexico, however the tracks themselves usually only differ in terms of object location or jump placements.
Players do not directly compete with the other racers on the track, who are merely there to provide opponents to pass, or, in a new touch, to wheelie over. Instead, the chief enemy is the clock. There are two times onscreen. One is the player's current time on the track, whilst the other is a target time. The ultimate goal of each track in Excitebike is to achieve an S-Rank time.
Like the original release, there is also a track creator mode. Excitebike World Rally also adds a new multiplayer mode
As with the original title, the player is not in control of steering, as such. The track itself is fixed, and the player cannot move off this. Instead, the player is able to shift up and down through lanes on the track. There are obstacles, such as oil slicks, to avoid, and others such as turbo boosts, to hit. The controls are simplistic in that neither of the two Wii face buttons are used to brake. These instead are used for both acceleration, and turbo acceleration. If a player overuses turbo acceleration, their bike will overheat. This is cooled down by either hitting specific strips on the road, or releasing the acceleration.
The player also has control over tilting their bike when in mid-air, in order to land as smoothly as possible. This can be done with either the D-Pad, or players can opt to tip the Wii remote itself to adjust their balance.
There is a map creation mode, where players can add details to not only the tracks, but also to the environment. These objects are versions of ones that appear in the varying countries throughout the game (for example, cactii from Mexico, or Shinto temples from Japan.) These maps can be saved and also sent to friends via WiiConnect 24.
Finally, the game adds a new multiplayer mode that can be played either with friends or strangers. This is online only, and can support up to three players at a time. This shifts the nature of the title from time-attack to competitive racing against other players.