OlliOlli World Preview – Pro Skater meets Adventure Time in this stylish sequel

OlliOlli World Header

Of Roll7’s games, it’s safe to say that OlliOlli was the best received – even if Not A Hero and Laser League deserve plenty of praise in their own right. A slick, minimalist 2D take on skateboarding video games, it could easily sink its hooks into you as you sought to chase new high scores and perfect your runs through levels. Now, seven years on from OlliOlli 2, they’re back to their old stomping grounds with OlliOlli World. Things look pretty different, though.

One area that’s sure to divide fans of the first two games (and skating games in general) is the art style and overall tone of the game. The first two games were rather pure in their style, the first leaning on pixel art and the second then shifting to a style that almost felt like it was rotoscoped animation. OlliOlli World kickflips into a 3D art style that’s suddenly just one or two steps away from Adventure Time. That’s true of the environments, the characters, and even some of the story. Wait… there’s a story?

You’re picking up your board in Radlandia, a world that was created by five legendary skating gods and who are represented by an awesome skater known as the skate wizard. The opening introduces you to Chiffon (the incumbent skate wizard), Dad, Gnarly Mike, and Suze, and they journey with you through tutorials and the rest of the game world as you prove yourself to become the next skate wizard. Along the way, your massively customisable character will skate through biomes that have been consumed by ice cream, feature walking trees and buzzing zom-bees, and you’ll meet some locals along the way. It’s all a bit daft, and you can thankfully either pay attention and read the dialogue, or just skip it all with a single button press and jump straight into the level.

OlliOlli World Gameplay

While the graphics are 3D, the 2D side-scrolling skating is as immediate and satisfying as ever. OlliOlli World feeds its unique control scheme to you one spoonful at a time, starting with the very basics of how to push yourself along the ground, launch and land tricks, grind and on and on. It’s all about using the left stick to wind up and launch your tricks, doing so in tandem with the triggers that act as modifiers, and then landing with a perfectly timed button press so you don’t faceplant.

For fans of the first two games, getting back into things is a bit like riding a bike. I almost immediately started landing Manuals between tricks, which is something that’s not taught to you until several levels into the game, and was quickly back to pulling mid-grind changes and audacious spinning tricks that I’d learnt nine years ago. For me, the straightforward and unskippable tutorials were a bit of a chore to work through, but for newcomers, they’ll be essential.

There’s some new ideas thrown into the mix as well, with alternate routes through the world that you can deliberately select – the ‘Gnar’ route – and could offer a bit of added difficulty to the jumps and grinds you need to overcome. There’s also wall-riding, which offers a new trick that Roll7 can build into their skating levels.

OlliOlli World Wall-grinding

They’re fresh wrinkles in a style of skateboarding game that I find so beautifully compelling. There’s an immediacy to it that just works for me, where I don’t have to pick out routes through a fully 3D environment, where the controls are fairly easy to master, but where there’s still a challenge to be found in perfecting your path through the level with zen-like efficiency.

There’s a greater emphasis on connectivity this time round as well, with the Gnarvana League opening up and giving you shared leaderboards and levels to compete on, while there’s an infinite array of levels to be found in the procedurally generated Gnarvana Portal. Each created level can be shared with others using an 8-digit postcode. It’s all asynchronous multiplayer in this game.

OlliOlli World is like going to back to your hometown. So much remains familiar, but it’s been a while since you’ve been back and they’ve finally taken a wrecking ball to the old swimming pool to turn it into flats, the bike shop is now an estate agents and the Mexican restaurant has switched to an Indian. It’s the same, but it’s different. Still… it’s good to be home.

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I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!

1 Comment

  1. I love the art style – having bypassed the previous two games, this actually makes me want to pick it up!

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