OlliOlli (PS Vita) Review
Posted by Doug Yates on 02.06.2014
See why OlliOlli is a unque take on the skateboarding and runner genres.
Title: OlliOlli Publisher: Sony Developer: Roll7 Genre: Skateboarding/Runner Players:1
OlliOlli is one of those games that manages to bridge genres successfully being both a skateboarding game and a runner type game. The gameplay is deceptively simple in the beginning, but quickly becomes more difficult and rewarding as the game progresses.
Each of the tutorial levels lasts less than a minute but shows an important skill for the upcoming game. After putting those in your rearview you are then thrown headlong into the meat of the game.
Each world—of which there are five—is broken up into five stages, ten if you count the pro stages. The levels vary from urban landscapes to a seaside and an abandoned nuclear power plant.
Each stage has its own set of challenges that you can attempt to conquer ranging from obtaining high scores, skating an entire stage without using a grind, or even collecting items throughout the level. Completing some of the challenges will change the way that you play the game by limiting which mechanics you are able to use, as well as where to use them.
Stages must be completed in a single ride as there are no checkpoints. Most of the stages are fairly short so the repetition never becomes too monotonous. For those looking for extra difficulty there are also the pro levels which are unlocked by completing the challenges in the normal mode, though regular stages later in the game are brutally difficult all on their own.
The left stick handles the plethora of tricks employed throughout the game by flicking it in any direction, then releasing it to set the trick in motion. Holding it in place afterwards while over a rail will set in motion a grind. For more advanced tricks you must also move the stick in a circular pattern much like special moves in a fighting game.
The X button serves double duty as it is your push button as well as the button that you must press just as you are about to land after a trick. Landing tricks was the most difficult aspect of the game for me to get acclimated to as it requires extremely precise timing.
The bumpers are used to add spins as well as being inputs for a couple of the tricks. While simple in theory, the execution is something that takes time to master but overall is highly rewarding and surprisingly deep.
The tricks are the meat of the game as most levels have score based challenges. Unfortunately the scoring system for them is not explained and you are often left wondering what tricks to do for higher scores, often having to resort to trial and error to discover numerical values.
Visually the pixilated graphics add a nice ambiance but lack the definition to really showcase some of the tricks, making them blend together a bit. The level backgrounds are fairly bland but the abundance of obstacles and grind surfaces round it out nicely.
The soundtrack consists of electronica reminiscent of the chiptunes of gaming past and fits both the mood and style of the game. I myself not being particularly fond of electronica was pleasantly surprised at the mellow tunes.
The daily grind is one of the online modes in which you must play through one of the stages. Only one life is provided (although you may practice as many times as you wish) so if you fall on your face halfway through the stage then that is it your score—or lack thereof—that is then posted on the leaderboard for all to see.
There is also the spots mode, which is a portion of a stage where you must get as many points as possible. You may try as many times as you would like, but they must be unlocked by completing the main stages in the game as each stage has a ”spot” .
Playing through the game my mind would often compare OlliOlli to old school platformers with the precise jumps, crazy landscapes, and throwback graphics I truly enjoyed my time with this game.
• Excellent selection of tricks given the simplistic control scheme
• Well balanced levels even though difficulty spikes later in the game.
• Mellow electronic soundtrack helps to keep the nerves unfrazzled.
• Later levels can be brutally difficult
• Lack of definition makes lots of tricks look alike.
• Scoring for tricks seems arbitrary
The 411: Despite a couple foibles this game is a solid addition to the Vita library in a time that seems to be the indie Vita revolution. Highly addictive and a ton of fun even if it gets extremely difficult in the later stages, especially in pro mode.
Interesting pixelated style , but lacking the definition to showcase the tricks .
Controls are simple and to the point allowing you to focus on perfecting your style.
A laid back electronica soundtrack which fits the mood of the game quite well.
Plenty of challenges to keep you coming back but the tacked on leaderboard modes are so-so.
A massively addictive game that scratches that skateboarding itch.