Perspective about what DLC “should be” is a little all over the place. While some people expect a DLC to provide a brand new experience, others might just want another hit of their favorite game without having to buy a whole sequel.
OlliOlli World: The VOID Riders squarely falls in the latter category- it’s not much more than just another hit of OlliOlli World, for the skate junkie eager for even more challenging speed-platforming set against the gorgeous cartoony vistas of Radlandia.
Here’s the catch though- that’s all what made the base OlliOlli World so amazing to start with, and VOID Riders does just enough different to add it to the hall of fame for great DLC.
Encounters Of The Pro Skater Kind
The plot of VOID Riders starts after you clear the base game’s third zone (which is conveniently themed after Area 51). Your skater ( who may or may not be the chosen one of the Skate Godz by now) meets three aliens, heralds of the rad Nebulon (who, I am told, rules).
After meeting them, they create three challenge areas, all across the game’s different maps which you’ll have to skate through, similar to the sections of the other levels where you get to choose one level to skip before you head to the VOID and meet Nebulon himself.
I think my one gripe with VOID Riders is here: VOID Riders actually has some semblance of a linear plot, with characters referring to events happening in a sequence (meeting the VOID Riders, doing their challenges then meeting Nebulon). The level structure is such you can do the levels in any order, so it does feel weird when you’ve already wandered into the VOID and the next level only just decides to mention that if you do extra good at this next challenge, they’ll take you to meet Nebulon.
I can kind of guess what the logic was: it feels like the developers wanted you to revisit the older maps, rather than spend the whole DLC on one newly added stage. But I think maybe actually locking off the areas would have made more sense, at least from a narrative standpoint.
Enough Talk, Let’s Skate
But no one plays OlliOlli for the plot, right? You’re here for the excellent skate gameplay, which I’ve already praised to no end in the base game.
VOID Riders takes this up to 11 with some of the best additions to the base game I’ve seen since The Old Hunters released for Bloodborne. There’s only one real new mechanic, which is the Tractor Beams- these require you to grab to cause your character to accelerate upwards, preserving whatever momentum they had before going in.
It’s a really fun addition to OlliOlli World’s toybox- and the game really wastes no time in making clever use of it, with strict requirements like needing to grab as early as possible if you want to come out of the tractor beam with maximum air.
This pairs up with another design choice that VOID Riders brings to OlliOlli World: levels that construct as you ride through them. This isn’t procedurally generated, it’s just a visual flair- what you might see as a giant leap will suddenly have spaceships putting together new ramps seemingly just before you land, testing just how much panic your body can take in one sitting.
Despite it not being a new “mechanic” per se, it really does give you a new flavor of the game. You basically have two options to approach the level- either have a fast enough reaction speed to respond to what the game’s going to throw at you next, or be ok with wiping out and restarting enough time to memorize which platforms are going to appear next.
That being said, for every good addition there’s bound to be a few kinks in the plan. Each of the VOID Rider’s areas has a finale level, that unfortunately taps into OlliOlli World’s sidequests to use the alternate objectives for winning. Rather than get to the end, it can be something like racing a creature to the end of the track or collecting all the pinatas without crashing.
On one hand I can kinda see why they’d do it- variety is the spice of life. But as a Lemon & Herb kind of guy I was perfectly happy to just do another elaborate track since I’m not exactly a perfectionist- failure is part of my method, and the pressure of completing things perfectly just makes these finales more often than not feel the un-fun kind of stress.
That being said, the game does reward you for your troubles- Nebulord’s finale, much like Nebulord, rules. It uses the structure of most of the other finales- a sort of left-to-right loop to create a sick track that he then builds new obstacles on each time you pass through. To me, it’s the build-a-track portion of VOID Riders at its best, since you will have to remember which configuration he does next.
It Feels Great To Be Back In Radlandia, Actually
All in all, I really enjoyed my time with OlliOlli World: The VOID Riders. Due to how it’s set up, it’s only as good as the base game itself, and thankfully that game’s excellent.
Just like the game preceding it, VOID Riders has a sincerity and charm to it that you can’t help but smile at, even as you faceplant into the pavement again and again. While a lot of DLC can feel like content that was cut out and repackaged to be sold again for the double dip, VOID Riders very much feels like your DM bursting into your session with “oh my god look what I just figured out you can do”.
It’s a shame about the non-linear story- I kind of like the idea of seeing Nebulord just kind of get more obsessed with your rad tricks over time. But everything else is so good it just becomes a tiny blip on the radar compared to how good the rest of it is.