I’m gonna start this review off right- OlliOlli World might be one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. It does everything right- and best of all, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, either.
From its charming visuals to ridiculous premise to actually hard gameplay, OlliOlli World is an absolute blast from the moment you first launch it. You’re a denizen of the fantastical Radlandia- a world that looks entirely like it was designed by a kid who was late to school because they busted their knees at the skatepark and spent the whole night doodling in their sketchbook potentail Deck designs- on a quest to appease the Skate Godz and become the next Skate Wizard.
The Philosophy of Skate
Starting off the review, I absolutely adore the character builder for OlliOlli World. It’s easily one of the most inclusive ones I’ve seen- no gender markers, a whole host of skin colors and various body sliders. Admittedly if you’re on the fatter side it’s still missing options there- but the fact that the game starts you off with plenty of clothing options which even includes multiple hijabs is the kind of inclusivity that just makes you really feel like the developers wanted you to make yourself in the game.
Even with all these options, it would have been easy to lock all of them behind things like daily challenges and the like, referring to some player retention graph. While many of the cosmetics are locked, the starting batch they give you is broad enough that you could very well just make a character and not get bored of them.They’re also entirely cosmetic, so even if you’re upset there’s no giant robot outfit it’s not going to affect your actual ability to skate.
Playing Two Different Games
While your first thought when thinking about OlliOlli World might be to expect something like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, you couldn’t be further from the truth. OlliOlli World plays like the lovechild of Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Meat Boy, with a dash of Devil May Cry thrown in for just how stylish it can get.
The resulting cocktail is, well, let’s be honest- hard.
Like I’ve said before, OlliOlli World approaches its difficulty in an interesting way for anyone trying to review it. There are essentially two games you can play- one is a simple traversal game, where all you need to do is get the timings just right to get from point A to point B. On the other hand, there’s the score-chasers who are basically playing Devil May Cry. Aside from the traversal, you also start looking at every object in the game as a means of using the game’s Trick system to squeeze in just enough points to get the gold medal for each level.
What I like about it is that no matter how you’re approaching OlliOlli World, you’re still playing an extremely execution-heavy game. In fact, you won’t even necessarily be playing the same levels- thanks to the game’s use of branching pathways and “Gnarly Routes”, you totally have the option to just play a lower-intensity skate route that requires you to make perfect jumps less frequently. Here, your only real “execution” is just timing your tricks to gain the right airtime to jump gaps and the like.
Meanwhile once you embrace the path of Do Combo, the game becomes a complete blitz of inputs, that you’ll need to time perfectly. Things like grinding and wall riding all require you to hold directions on your stick to maintain them, and jumping to a new platform (from wall to wall for example) means letting go of the stick to jump then holding it up to initiate another ride.
While the game’s tutorials are good for the basics you don’t really learn the core of it until you’re just obsessively trying to get the gold score for a level. Like I said, execution is key for the game, and you need to release the stick at just the end of any rail or wall if you want maximum momentum, as well as hitting the kick button at just the right time to reduce speed lost .
It’s an extremely rewarding way to play the game, especially since the game never locks you out of tricks- you have them all unlocked from the get go, meaning it’s up to you to decide how you wanna learn them. I can’t tell how many times I’ve opened up the game’s compendium of tricks, looked up exactly how to do them and then did another run with the goal of pulling them off, not unlike learning a combo in a fighting game.
The Grind Don’t Stop Even When You’re Out Of Rail
Of course, where would you be skating? The game’s main “Story” is set in Radlandia, across multiple zones themed after the pantheon of Skate Godz. You’re looking to meet each of these divine skaters, in order to succeed the character Chiffon as the next Skate Wizard. These levels are all infinitely replayable, and even have side missions- optional skate levels that include fun gimmicks like beating a bear to the finish line.
If you’ve already become Gnarvana’s Chosen and still feel compelled to skate, don’t fret- OlliOlli World also features Gnarvana, which lets you randomly generate skate levels to skate for eternity. Each level can be tuned for difficulty and length, and even comes with a Postal Code to share with your friends if you wanna compete on the same level, similar to Bloodborne’s Chalice Dungeons.
Even if you’re not satisfied with simply doing better, there’s also the game’s actual rewards- each of the game’s main story missions has challenges, high scores and the like to beat, so you can obsessively play at it to unlock more skate gear for your skate wizard.
I’m A Superman
It’s hard to not love OlliOlli World after spending time with it for the review. The game’s an absolute blast built around a solid core of great gameplay, further enhanced by a lack of chaff stopping you from savoring the best of that gameplay.
Add that with its gorgeous visuals and, well, downright speed, and you get a game that just hits every target it set out to do. I’d totally understand if the difficulty was a turn-off- but the game’s lack of self congratulation over its own difficulty and actual attempts to ease you into its rules mean that as long as you want to do cool skate tricks to an intensely chill beat, you’re gonna be able to do it.
Plus, good level runs don’t last very long, so it’s exactly the type of game to make you think “maybe I can use this lunch break to beat Jefferson’s score and get me a sweet ghost skateboard”.
|Challenging and rewarding gameplay||If falling face first into a pile of tires on your first run deters you from playing the game, maybe give this a miss|
|There's always more Skate|
Game reviewed on PS5. Review code provided by Roll7.