If you’re into skateboarding, it’s quite possible you remember Roll7’s OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2 fondly. I’ve got good news: they now have a younger sibling, who’s here to outshine them in just about every way.
The latest entry into the OlliOlli series has ditched a numeral and instead goes by the moniker OlliOlli World. It’s fitting, since this level-based game, split over five distinct worlds, feels more like it’s set in a fully-fledged world than ever before. Perfecting your skateboarding skills by nailing tricks, grinds and grabs is still the backbone of the game, but this time there’s a whole lot more going on.
OlliOlli World sports a whole new art style, for instance. Gone are the basic but charming visuals of the previous games, now replaced with a shiny cartoon veneer that wouldn’t look out of place on Cartoon Network. It’s also had a truck full of personality poured into it, with a series of characters to meet as you progress through the game. Whether you’re taking advice from Dad – not your dad, that’s just his name – or trying to complete all the challenges that Mike sets for you, you’ll enjoy getting to know each and every one of OlliOlli World‘s endearing personalities. There are some surprises along the way too – including none other than Danny Trejo starring as a guest character. C’mon, it doesn’t get much cooler than that.
I feel that I should stress that none of this detracts from the skateboarding experience. It exists only to enrich it and to provide some fun, colourful context to your action. Cutscenes and conversations between characters are never more than a minute or so long, so you’re never kept out of the action. And you can skip through conversations if you’d rather jump straight to it. (You probably shouldn’t though; dialogue is very well-written and has plenty of genuinely witty moments.)
But as nice as the whole package of OlliOlli World is, it’s of course the skateboarding action that’s going to ultimately keep you playing. And, thankfully, it’s wonderful. It’s much more welcoming to newcomers than the previous OlliOlli games; controls have been simplified, meaning landing basic tricks is much easier – a god-send for less skilled players simply trying to make it ot the end of the level. Of course, plenty of advanced features still exist for those looking to nail the highest score possible. In the first OlliOlli game for instance, it was imperative you pressed the ‘X’ button just as you were landing a trick, otherwise you’d fail. That’s not necessary here, but pressing X at just the right time will nail you extra points.
Tutorials are doled out to you gradually, introducing new features at a steady pace so not to overwhelm you. You’ll not learn about grabs until near the end of the second world, for example, but there’s nothing stopping you performing them before that point if you already know what you’re doing. But for players new to OlliOlli or to skateboarding games in general, the pace is almost perfect. Though that’s not to say you’re still not going to meet tough challenges every so often.
There’s nothing more frustrating than your perfect run coming to an end as you meet a tricky section in a level. It’s practically a given that you’ll eventually come across a jump or a wall ride that you simply can’t reach on the first try, and you may have to reattempt it once, twice, seventeen times, before you can finally nail it. Keeping momentum is key, but it’s often easier said than done. Since OlliOlli World is linear and level-based, you can’t simply skip over a tricky section, and so your only option is to keep trying. This is a game that requires a lot of patience and learning – but it means that when you do nail that tricky section, and when you do start to pull off harder tricks and combos, it feels really good.
It’ll take you around six to eight hours to simply complete OlliOlli World‘s five worlds of levels. But there’s much more gameplay to indulge in to prolong the experience. Each level has various challenges, and so true completionists will want to tick off everything on each one. You’ll want to complete every level without using a checkpoint, for instance, then complete all side quests, optional levels and beat all local hero scores. If you’re a skilled player, sometimes you’ll be able to tick everything off in a level in one go, but some levels having multiple routes mean you’ll need to play through them more than once in order to beat every challenge.
To keep you coming back every day, even once you’ve completed everything the main campaign has to offer, there’s the ‘Gnarvana League’. There’s a daily challenge in which you’ll complete a tricky course and compete with other players on a high score leaderboard. Depending on how you perform, you’ll be ranked to a bronze, silver or gold tier, and rewards are available for those who perform the best.
If you enjoyed Roll7’s previous OlliOlli games, it’s safe to say that you’ll love their evolution into OlliOlli World. Even if you weren’t a fan, there’s more than enough here to entice new players. The controls are accessible and easy to get to grips with, though there’s still plenty of depth for advanced players. Combine that with beautiful visuals, a kicking soundtrack and wonderfully animated characters, and what more could you possibly want? It’s never felt better to land a truly epic trick.
OlliOlli World Review – GameSpew’s Score