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OlliOlli World Review

2D skating franchise continues to Heelflip along

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Creating fun and lasting arcade games can be challenging. You need a hook, a central mechanic that draws players in and keeps them coming back; it can't be too easy or too hard, too complex or too simple, and it needs to be consistently enjoyable. That’s exactly the kind of rare and perfect balance that developers Roll7 found with the OlliOlli franchise. As a 2D skateboarding game, it was light and easy to get into, but one that required precision and improvement in order to climb the leaderboards. Now in its third chapter, OlliOlli World keeps the successful formula intact while making minor adjustments, and should please fans of the series while drawing in a few newcomers.

OlliOlli World

With OlliOlli World, Roll7 and the franchise moves on from its previous publisher Team17, and joins forces with the much larger 2K-backed Private Division label. Normally, that's not even something worth mentioning in a review. However, what this means for the players is that there's a huge data sharing and license agreement that you have to read (scroll through) and sign off on, before jumping into the game. It's a rather off-putting initial step, especially for a game that tries to be so friendly and carefree in its nature. Another key thing to note is that there is no mouse / keyboard support at all; a controller is required to play on PC.

Past the legal gates, you enter the colorful world of Radlandia, and learn about the skate gods, and everyone's quest to reach Gnarvana. The best skaters around, known as Skate Wizards, keep the world in balance and the skate gods satisfied, and players have the opportunity to become the next such Wizard as one is planning to retire. To prove yourself, you will skate across four areas of the game world, each assigned to a specific skate god, in order to impress them. Accompanying you are a group of characters who will provide some idle, occasionally amusing chatter before and after each level. OlliOlli World isn't really a game that's focused on a narrative, and for an arcade experience such as this that's totally fine.

The game world is laid out as a series of levels on an overhead map, a design that’s quite standard for arcade games. The nice thing here is that there aren't any overarching unlock requirements (such as earning enough currency to unlock the next level or area). Instead, it's just a linear progression so you have to beat the level before moving on to the next. On the other hand, if you find a level particularly annoying, you can't skip past it. There are also occasional optional levels that branch off the main road, where you can really push your reaction times to the limit.

OlliOlli World

OlliOlli World is still an arcade skateboarding game, and in each level you will guide your character as they skate across a variety of obstacles and terrain types. It's a 2D game, so you will just be skating from right to left on the screen, and performing jumps and tricks as needed. The controls are seemingly simple – you accelerate by pushing off the ground, either by tapping or holding the A button on the controller. You can also use B for late tricks, and the triggers to spin. But at the center of it all is the left analog stick. Similar to the Skill Stick in the EA NHL franchise, this is the stick that lets you pull off most of the moves in the game. By pushing downwards to prepare, and then by releasing the stick, your skater will jump into the air. You can then also perform a variety of moves, by flinging or moving the stick in specific patterns. The right stick can also be used to perform grabs.

The controls are simple enough to be accessible and performing tricks can be easy, but of course landing them and doing more complex movements can be quite demanding. It takes a bit of time to get used to this method, and having to time your jumps and tricks to nail the landings, but it can become quite a satisfying rush of high speed maneuvers. Maintaining your momentum is just as important as staying on the board, as you can fall well short of the various gaps and dangers you have to jump over. But going faster also means having to react quicker, so it’s a balancing act.

Players start off with some very simple levels, and while the game sort of teaches you the basics, it feels a bit too brief, so you'll want to visit the settings/help screens to get familiar with the controls and all the trick possibilities. The levels are meant to be enjoyed in short bursts, so they only last about a minute; however, as their difficulty grows, you will probably fail a few times and can either restart the whole level or continue from a checkpoint. The checkpoints help keep the frustration down, as the later levels become quite tough and require quick reaction time and precision. Still, it can be a bit annoying as you get into the later worlds.

OlliOlli World

Thankfully, there aren’t really any penalties for failure. Each level has just two goals – get to the finish line, and do so without checkpoint restarts. Getting to the end may take a few attempts, but ultimately most players should get there. To get there without a failure is much tougher, but is optional. Also optional is reaching one of three specific scores – you get scored on the quality of the tricks you perform. Levels also have three unique objectives – such as performing a specific trick a number of times, avoiding specific balloons or touching all seagulls in a level. All of these tasks are optional, and players are rewarded with visual customization items for their skater. You can outfit the skater in a variety of goofy shirts, pants, helmets, and so on.

Your level scores are also tracked on friend and global leaderboards, which is where the game hopes players will find their desire to keep trying. On the whole, you can probably beat the game in under 3 hours, restarts and all. But if you are feeling competitive and wanting to keep perfecting your runs – whether to unlock some new shirts or to climb the leaderboards – then it can certainly extend your playtime for a while.

Skating across the many levels in the game remains entertaining thanks to their variety. You will not just skate and jump over various debris, but also grind on rails and do wallrides. The controls remain the same, but it adds some trick variety, as does the ability to ignore the rails or take a different route. There are occasional splits in the path where you can switch to a different route, often called Gnarly due to being tougher. There are also moments where such switches send you on a path moving in reverse (right to left of the screen). The fixed camera tries to keep the action focused by dynamically zooming in an out, though the lightning quick reflexes will still often be needed as you don't quite see the upcoming danger.

OlliOlli World

OlliOlli World probably makes its biggest change in the visual style. While the previous games were pixilated, this third entry offers a colorful and hand-drawn art style, perhaps similar to Adventure Time. The levels, characters, and overall presentation is charming and friendly, at times in contrast to the presented difficulty. Still, it's nice to look at and the level backgrounds range from cliffs and beaches to factories and the rooftops of a metropolis. The experience is also accompanied by a smooth Lo-fi soundtrack that fits the gameplay well. Framerate remains steady and there are no concerns with PC performance.

OlliOlli World successfully brings the 2D arcade skating franchise back for another round. The biggest change is probably the new visual style and the longer campaign length, but overall it's the familiar experience that existing fans can expect, with its accessible yet eventually challenging gameplay, across varied and occasionally memorable levels. The leaderboards and a variety of challenges will keep competitive players coming back, though there's not a whole lot different here to draw in newcomers who were perhaps on the fence with the previous entries. The introductions and tutorials could have been better, and the reaction-based gameplay may put some players off. But if you’ve got a controller and enjoy the quick, arcade-style score chasing, and the combo-focused core mechanic, you should have a rad time.

Our ratings for OlliOlli World on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
The new art style helps the game feel more modern and carefully crafted, with colorful visuals and low-key soundtrack matching the atmosphere.
While deceptively simple at first, the eventual spikes in difficulty may prove frustrating for some players. The mechanics don't evolve much from the previous games.
Single Player
The levels are fairly creative and keep you guessing with each new obstacle and optional path.
(Show PC Specs)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
GPU: ASUS Radeon RX 580 8GB
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
PC Specs

No issues were identified
OlliOlli World continues to kick flip its way across a variety of colorful and imaginative levels. Returning fans will be pleased with this familiar experience sporting a new art style, but newcomers may be put off by eventually increasing difficulty and repetitive trial-and-error nature of the levels.
OlliOlli World
OlliOlli World box art Platform:
Our Review of OlliOlli World
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
OlliOlli World is ranked #969 out of 1818 total reviewed games. It is ranked #31 out of 78 games reviewed in 2022.
968. Nobody Saves the World
Xbox One
969. OlliOlli World
970. Papetura
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OlliOlli World
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OlliOlli World - E3 2021 Trailer
Posted: Jun 12, 2021 18:10
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