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OlliOlli Review

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by DanielKurland, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. DanielKurland

    DanielKurland
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    OlliOlli
    Platform: 3DS (Nintendo eShop), PC, PS4, WiiU
    Developer/Publisher: Carbon Games, Roll7/Curve Digital
    Price: $8.49
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    OlliOlli oxen free!

    Skateboarding games have evolved so much during their history in video games to the point that they’ve turned into complex, intricate, and realistic experiences. Accordingly, there has essentially been a snap back point where the genre has regressed to a 2D approach rather than it trying to top what was done in 3D. This seems only natural, even. This embracing of the past has only become more accepted lately, and so the throwback style featured here, in spite of its cheapness, works in the game’s favor rather than being distracting.

    OlliOlli is basically just skateboarding.

    That’s it.

    But that’s not a bad thing here. Really, this sort of freedom turns the game into a wonderful pick-up-and-play experience. The title isn’t exactly new, with the game having been released on a number of platforms previously (PC, PS3/4,  Wii U, Xbox One, mobile). A sequel, OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood, even came out not too long ag for the PS4 and Vita, so what better time to revisit the original, even if it is a relatively new addition to the 3DS’ library.

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    The last thing you're going to be during a boardslide is "bored"!

    OlliOlli delivers a very solid 2D sidescrolling setup that keeps things simple enough gameplay-wise. Seriously, you could think fo a sidescrolling Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and this title wouldn’t be too far off the mark. When it comes to the variety and arsenal of skate tricks that are at your disposal (the real reason why a lot of us play these games), there’s a very robust (perhaps too much so) set list (120 in total).  Granted, you’re not expected to master or even use them all, but the full repertoire that you’re capable of is actually pretty complicated. Trying to learn or memorize them all will be a feat for more dedicated gamers. There’s even a learning curve to nailing the basics, so you’re not just always wiping out or simply doing limited ollies through the levels. Thankfully, there are some training levels that kick off the game that aren’t too much of a chore and help ease you into the title.

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    Everyone knows that the docks in front of pirate ships is the best place to skate

    Aesthetically, OlliOlli keeps it simple, but not to its disadvantage. The game employs a simplistic 8-bit style that works for the title and smartly plays to its weaknesses by turning them into strengths. The different “worlds” of the game are really just delineated by the background art, but the game takes you through some “varied” locations, whether it’s a sterile Russia or a dilapidated junkyard. There’s also a really great, appropriate soundtrack that compliments the skateboarding gameplay. It’s really fun stuff, but the problem is just that there’s a limited soundtrack, leading to the songs eventually repeating. At a point, these songs might begin to annoy you.

    Thankfully OlliOlli is a pretty complete package, with there being a lot to keep you occupied here. There’s extra content available, online leaderboards, and tons of achievements/challenges to complete in each level (a whopping 250 in total). That alone would be staggering, but there are also fifty levels to work through across three separate difficulties (and even the amateur levels get fairly tricky by the end). There’s also the additional Daily Grind Mode, which allows you 24 hours to challenge the world at random feats, achievements, and scoring. It’s a nice little extra and example of connectivity in the title going a bit extra to keep the experience alive.

    The game is also wise to reward the more intrepid players, as completing all of the challenges available even unlocks the reasonably more insane “RAD Mode” which turns everything up to eleven as if your skateboard has a tank of nitrous strapped onto it.

    All of this accumulates to a game that feels full. Even if you’re able to beat all of the levels, getting past the challenges won’t be a walk in the park. In spite of the game being frustrating at times, I found myself getting right back up on my metaphorical board and trying again. There’s an addictiveness in the title that will have you wanting to keep try and master these levels as you get so close to completing them. Titles like this are always towing a thin line between making you want to try again or just flat out give up, and it’s comforting that OlliOlli falls into the category of the former.

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    Gosh, you'd think all the skaters in Japan would go blind from the light show!

    Admittedly, this does have a high price tag at $8.49, but you are absolutely getting a very full game here. Still, the title is a year old, and with its sequel already out, making this work at $5.00 or less would have been amazing and would make this an absolute recommendation. It’s still hard to be too unforgiving towards the game’s price, but, I’d understand some gamers wanting to wait until the title experiences a discount.

    In the end though, OlliOlli turned out to be a very pleasant surprise on my end, with a lot of gaming packed into a tiny package. It’s a refined title that can really be explored and mastered if you have the time and interest.

    Pros:

    +Stylistic, simplistic graphics aid gameplay
    +Catchy, appropriate music
    +Over 50 levels, 120 tricks, and many challenges to master
    +Leaderboards and extra modes that reward replayability

    Cons:

    -Price
    -Challenging difficulty level
    -Slightly repetitive soundtrack
    -Title has been on the market for a while  on other platforms

    OlliOlli warrants a score of 8.5/10 due to it being a gaming experience that is figuratively bursting at the seams. The title offers up a lengthy experience due to many levels, challenges, difficulties, and modes to explore, with all of them complimenting the game’s tight, streamlined gameplay. That being said, the game might be too difficult for some, with its higher-end price tag and history on the market holding it back from being a true classic.

    Disclosure: A retail copy was used to evaluate this game.
     
  2. Twisted

    Twisted
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    It's out on the PS3 as well so the platform note should reflect this (which is the version I've played).

    But I agree with your review, it was a nice attempt at making a skating game that wasn't trying hard to outdo the legacy of the Tony Hawk series. I thought the soundtrack was fine though.
     

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