Monday 20 February 2023

OlliOlli World Review (Switch)

The OlliOlli franchise is something we have been playing since back in 2014 when we first came across it on the Vita. There haven’t been too many versions of it since with a Sequel in 2015 and a few ports along the way. OlliOlli World though is the potential jewel in the crown of the franchise and certainly the game with the most ambition.

For those new to OlliOlli, it’s basically a 2D skating game with a simple to grasp yet difficult to master control scheme. The first two games were sort of akin to a side scrolling Tony Hawk but OlliOlli World blurs the lines between skating, platforming and runner style games far more and manages to stick the landing on all three counts.

The controls are simple. The left analogue stick is used to perform tricks and jump and the A button is used to land jumps successfully. Holding down the stick and then releasing it launches your skater into the air, doing this at different angles or with a half circle motion produces different spins and tricks. You can also use either shoulder button to spin you around for further combinations.

Once in the air the aim is to land on a grindable service or at least flat on the ground again. To grind you need to press down as you hit the surface. Doing this at the exact right moment gives a higher score and allows you to maintain your speed. Pressing the stick down at different angles also allows you to land in different types of grinds. The one stick trick system works well and allows for a surprising amount of trick variations.

There are also manuals to keep tricks going between grinds and switches to add variety. There’s a ton of other stuff as well which is drip fed to you as you progress around the different themed worlds all with the aim of getting you more point and tying your fingers in knots. By the end you’ll be holding both analogue sticks and several buttons with dexterity you never knew you had.

Maintaining speed is all important as you need to make it to the end of each level without bailing in order to move on to the next. A lack of speed is likely to see you not able to jump obstacles and pits or simple fall off the grind rail you are sailing along. If you are on the ground you can kick to speed up but you’ll have to master the perfect grinds as you won’t be spending much time on the ground in later levels as they become one huge grind fest.

The different worlds throw up a continual array of new obstacles to tackle as well so you’ll not just be using the grind rails for long. Soon, you’ll have crystals to smash through, rocks to jump and any number of collapsing surfaces to avoid. It’s helpful then that the graphics are very clear and it is easy to see what is an isn’t a grindable surface. In the previous two games this was one of our biggest complaints but happily no more.

Thea mix of tricky obstacles and opportunities for big scores will leave players with a choice of how to play. You can just survive and progress or go all Tony Hawk in 2D and try and hit the big scores. There are of course an absolute ton of additional challenges and local hero scores to beat as well and each level has at least two different routes through it so be prepared to lose a lot of hours.

Very quickly, the addiction to high scores and creating perfect runs becomes embedded in the players mind and it creates the same need to instantly restart and do better as well. The five worlds have a good amount of variety in look and challenge so you won’t get bored of the visuals and even the early stages have challenges that will make you wince. There’s a lot of stuff to do no matter how you want to play.

Overall, OlliOlli World is the best version of OlliOlli we have seen so far. It takes a creative and playful approach to high scores and is both accessible to newcomers and players who just want to make it through and also fiendishly deep for the combo score chasers. It’s one of those games that you could really just keep playing forever if it bites you. It also caters to the Switch well, and while a pad is certainly more comfortable we made it through the game with little problem in handheld mode. There’s nothing else out there quite like this and it comes highly recommended for just about everyone.

Overall 9/10

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