Weekly Gaming: OlliOlli (PS Vita)

Weekly Gaming: OlliOlli (PS Vita)
The pixel graphics make OlliOlli stand out, with each kick flip or olli rendered in glorious detail. The game emits a retro feel, but with modern frame rates and stability, making for a truly unique feel.

I’ve been reading up on OlliOlli since I first saw an announcement a while back on engadget. It seemed like an interesting concept, one which I even toyed with whilst at university (my idea was to play the game on a touch screen and use one finger swiping down the screen and the other up to mimic the motion of an ollie). My game however, never came to fruition, and here we have OlliOlli on the market as a fantastically intricate skateboarding platformer.

The game centres around controlling your character as he makes his way across each small level, trying to amass as many points as possible along the way. You control the character by pressing the X button to push, and olli/do a trick by moving the analogue stick in a specific direction. The hard part comes in landing your trick, by which I mean you have to press the X button again at the precise moment that you touch the floor, ensuring you score the maximum points possible for the set of tricks you just performed.

Eventually, rails start making there way into levels, testing your ability to grind to accumulate points as well. You land a grind by pressing a direction on your analogue stick just before you touch the rail. The grinding can then be combined with air tricks like Kickflips or Heelflips to increase your score significantly. The whole mechanic of performing tricks pushes you to try and try again until you finally press all the key presses at the perfect times, ensuring your score gets onto the scoreboard or finishes one of the other addictive parts of the game: Challenges.

The change in scenery is a welcome feature, with each new level bringing with it a new set of unique obstacles to avoid. Russia, for example, has a lot of snow that you cannot land on and much Olli over in order to continue the level, which can make for some very annoying and hard moments.

Yep, each level has its own set of challenges, with some being as small as getting a specific score in a combo, or others entailing landing specific tricks in certain areas. Regardless of what challenge you attempt, you’re sure to bail many times before you finally manage to achieve the specific goal you’re working towards. Once you’ve completed the 5 challenges on one level, a “Pro” level will open up, based on the same act you just completed. This Pro level encompasses harder and more varied gameplay, meaning that players will be tested in order to succeed.

On the main menu of OlliOlli you’ll find a daily grind button. Pressing this allows you to compete with other OlliOlli players across the world by competing on one new stage daily. This option is certainly interesting for those of you who are competitive at games, but may not sit well with others looking for more variety in the game.

The soundtrack of OlliOlli is absolutely sublime. I genuinely would put the game on just to listen to its chilled out beats whilst I went about my day doing other, non-gaming activities. There’s some mellow club music in the mix, along with some dubstep tunes, which makes the task of repeating levels over and over all the more enjoyable. Each music track is repeatable for around 10 minutes, so you could sink hours into OlliOlli without realising.

Pressing the X button at different times will result in less score, with not pressing it at all causing you to bail and restart the level. The game pushes you to become as accurate and as timely as possible, without compromising your enjoyment of the game.

The one thing I’ll say against OlliOlli is the lack of variety in its gameplay. For example, each level usually just consists of grinding from one surface to another, without ruining your run. A new game mode where players could just roll whilst practicing tricks wouldn’t have gone amiss, but as it stands, if you’re not good a fan of the campaign/main challenges, you might as well stop, as there isn’t too much more to see.

I’ve enjoyed my time with OlliOlli, and it looks set to become a game that I keep coming back to time and time again due to its addictive and short nature. For those of you looking for a challenge, you’ll love what OlliOlli has to offer, but for those of you who dislike repetitive gameplay and are looking for variety in your games (Read: FPS’s with a story), you won’t find much value in OlliOlli. It’s currently on sale for £2.55 from Sony, so grab it while you can at such a fantastic price for a lot of value, I know I’m glad I did.



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