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OlliOlli World Review

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OlliOlli World is the latest game by Roll 7 – who also created OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2. Published by Private Division, OlliOlli World is out on pretty much everything except mobile. Interestingly, the PC version doesn’t support playing with a mouse and keyboard. Has that ever happened before?

Any of you that have booted up an OlliOlli game before will know that playing these titles with a mouse and keyboard would be impossible, so it makes sense. I’ve played the previous two OlliOlli games, mainly on the Vita. So I have to say playing OlliOlli World on the Switch made me feel right at home.

A Brave New OlliOlli World

It’s been 7-ish years since OlliOlli 2 launched. That’s a pretty long time to wait between sequels. Have you been hankering for more OlliOlli in that time? Have you never heard of the game before? Drop us a message in the comment section below.

Meet the gang
Meet the gang

Gameplay

OlliOlli World is an arcade skateboarding game where you complete levels by hitting a high score and achieving objectives throughout your run. The main draw is the simple control scheme that turns out to be difficult to master.

You use the left thumbstick to perform your flip tricks, in a similar fashion to how EA’s SKATE games work. To perform a kickflip, for example, you hold the thumbstick to the right and then release it to launch into the flip.

More complex moves require more complex rotations of the thumbstick. A 360 flip requires you to perform a 360 rotation of the thumbstick before releasing. This sounds very simple, and it is, but there are a couple more layers. Stay with me.

Rails can be grinded on, grabs can be performed, you can spin in mid-air, you can perform manuals to keep your combo going, you can wallride, you can clatter down stairs and you can smash through crystals. All of these very simple to perform elements add together to make one very rewarding game. 

Bee-utiful
Bee-utiful

Flip trick onto a rail, grind the rail and flip trick out, do a 360 grab, perform a wall-ride to get more height so you can reach a crystal to smash through, land into a manual that takes you onto another rail… 

So whilst it’s possible to finish each level in one long, never-ending combo – it’s certainly not easy.

Which is the main rub of the game. Levels, as you’d imagine, become progressively harder to finish, let alone get a high score on. It’s a rewarding ramp-up in difficulty that will have you cursing yourself and pressing the restart button hundreds of times as you look to perform that perfect run.

The only gripe with the gameplay is that the challenges aren’t always that fun to complete. OlliOlli World’s levels are designed like a 2D platformer. You start them and you finish them like you would a Mario level. The problem is that some challenges ask you to find things or hit objects. If you skate past a bird you were meant to hit, you need to restart the level. Maybe it’s my time with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, but I felt some of these challenges would be better placed in a 3D game where you’re allowed to explore the level. Popping seven balloons on your run, only to fly straight past the eighth and therefore fail the challenge doesn’t feel good and it’s certainly not fun.

These levels make up the bulk of the game – as OlliOlli World is a single-player experience with asynchronous multiplayer. This means that your friend’s scores will populate a leaderboard and sometimes a ‘rival’ will appear. They’re nothing more than a player’s avatar and their score that’s been pulled in from some database. You don’t win anything by beating their score, except (maybe) some pride.

Another asynchronous multiplayer feature is the daily league. Once every 24 hours, a new level is set and players of OlliOlli World can compete to get the highest score possible. It’s fun enough, as it’s basically a new level every day to challenge yourself on, but there’s nothing of any real consequence to unlock, just some cosmetics, and it doesn’t do anything new that you wouldn’t see in the main game.

So many options!
So many options!

Graphics & Audio

With regards to cosmetics, it’s time to talk about how this game looks. Is it lazy to say this game reminds me of Adventure Time? Well, it does.

It’s not a total rip-off of Pendleton Ward’s animated series, but it’s a seriously close homage. This is fine by me, as it means the characters you run into and the levels you’re skating through are vibrant. This vibrancy actually helps with the gameplay, as bright purple crystals, neon green puddles of sludge and bright yellow billboards held aloft by giant bees make the game very ‘readable’.

The art style also makes customising your character really enjoyable too. As realism isn’t the aim of the game, you’ll find the options available to you when making your avatar numerous. I managed to make myself a zombie-looking fella, but the options are plentiful. A burly lumberjack wearing a dress? A punk-rock alien with a hijab? You can if you want.

The game moves as well as it looks. On the Switch, I had a steady framerate and load times never bothered me. Restarting a level is near-instantaneous, which is good because you’ll be doing it a lot! There’s also an interesting stylistic choice applied to how the story characters animate. They all move at a reduced frame rate, making them look intentionally ‘jerky’ in their movement. Some may find it offputting, but I quite liked it and felt it fitted in with the general ‘kooky’ vibe of the characters, setting and story as a whole.

The story itself is really not important, though some of the writing is enjoyable. It boils down to there being some skate gods that you need to prove yourself to. Complete the levels and challenges to earn their respect. Become the Skate Wizard. It’s very silly and not likely to sway anyone’s enjoyment of this game one way or the other.

It deserves some props for helping ​​OlliOlli World maintain a strong ‘vibe’ though. What helps more than this interstitial text between levels is the soundtrack.

Welcome to Radlandia
Welcome to Radlandia

In short – it’s dope. I believe that’s how the characters in the game would describe it…

I did some Googling, and there’s apparently 32 songs within ​​OlliOlli World and they’re all pretty similar. If you’ve ever stumbled across one of those ‘lo-fi beats to study to’ on Youtube channels, you’ll know the sort of chilled-out tracks we’re talking about. They work really well when juxtaposed with the stress-inducing challenges you have to complete.

Longevity

With plenty of levels to get through ​​OlliOlli World should easily take you 4-5 hours if you just want to finish each level and get to the end of the story.

If you want to complete every challenge? I couldn’t begin to guess how long that’ll take. Then there’s the daily challenge you can take part in as well as an infinite level that you can use to practice.

Worth a mention is the fact there are two lots of DLC planned already too. So it’s fair to say that this game’s got plenty of life in it.

Final Thoughts

​​OlliOlli World is a game that definitely sticks the landing. Every aspect of the game works well in tandem, with the chill soundtrack offsetting the frustrating challenges and the simple control scheme going hand in hand with gameplay that’s difficult to master.

However you want to play ​​OlliOlli World, you’ll be satisfied. Looking for something laid back to make your way through? Ignore the challenges and have at it. Want a game that’ll really test your skills? ​​OlliOlli World is full of truly tough challenges that even the most ‘hardcore gamer’ will find a test.

On top of this there’s plans for DLC? That’s rad, dude. ​​OlliOlli World is arcade action at its finest. For this reason, it gets the Thumb Culture Gold Award. Gnarly.

Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.

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