OlliOlli – As We Play

As we play offers the thought strands of the reviewer as they’re going through the game. This offers unique content for the reader so they can come to understand the conflicting feelings of the reviewer as they’re playing a game for the very first time. All feedback on this concept is welcome.

Sony are really kicking on with their promise of making the Playstation Vita the ‘must have’ console for indie gaming. This last year we have seen a plethora of the best indie games popping up on Sony’s portable device and if the recent sales data is anything to go by, the tactic isn’t doing them any harm at all. The latest indie offering to hit the Vita is OlliOlli; yeah I’d never heard of it either, so let’s see what the press blurb has to say for itself.

OlliOlli mixes addictive one-life gameplay with over 120 tricks and grinds across 50 deviously crafted levels, 250 Challenges, Spots Mode, Daily Grind and RAD Mode. Rack up the biggest and coolest combos along the way then time your landing to perfection to rule the leader boards.

I thought skateboarders had gone the way of the dodo; I mean, I remember playing the stuffing out of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the original Playstation back in the late 90’s but I was out of the game long before that wee plastic skateboard came on the scene and killed off the ailing franchise. The question is can OlliOlli bring back the glory days or should it have stayed in the past with the mullet and white jeans?

And it’s been a while…

I decided that as I’ve not been grinding, kickflipping or indeed, plasma spinning down the skate road for a while that I’d take a trip through the tutorial to get me back in the game. Up it loads, there’s a cool wee pixel art man jogging down the road, board in hand; ‘right x pushes off to make me go faster, seems simple enough’ a couple of taps later and tutorial one is complete. ‘It never went away’ I think to myself with a smug grin.

Next up, the basics. Down jumps and x to land seems simple enough.. Ollie (sketchy landing), Ollie (OK), Ollie (This application has experienced an error). I know I wasn’t great, but give me a chance OlliOlli! I reboot and manage to make my way through the rest of the tutorial without blowing it up and soon get myself ready for level one ‘Urban’.

If at first you don’t succeed

So, off I go on course number one; do a couple of tricks, get a 6x combo and a score of over 20k, how hard can that be? I’m skating a wee jump and board spin thingy, now, what is land again down? No, crap, it’s x. My poor wee pixel art man tumbles painfully down some stairs and my run is over 1,349 points. Not the start I had in mind!

Attempt number two fairs little better, I manage to nail a couple of landings (OK, or sketchy but at least I didn’t bail.) Then comes my first grind… X is grind right?’ Nope, that’s down. OK, OK, next time.

Right, down… I’m doing it, I’m doing it! Off I jump and it’s down to land right? Wrong, my little pixel art man bites the dust again 3,201 points. I think I’m going to need a little more practise…

An hour later and my brain has finally managed to discover that x and down are two different things, I’ve blasted through the Urban zone and I’m battling with the Junkyard collecting spray cans and trying to drag my top score over 100k. I’m perfecting jumps, I’ve found the button that makes me spin and learned a heap of new tricks. OlliOlli has gone from embarrassing trial to super fun score attack and I’m finding it hard to resist the ‘just one more go’ factor.

I’m not rubbish now, what’s next?

The game is split into five different zones (Urban, Junkyard, Port, Base & Neon City). Each has five increasingly difficult courses with five challenges to complete. Finish a course to unlock the next level and complete all five challenges to unlock the course in Pro mode with new tougher challenges and more obstacles to increase the likelihood of you hi-fiving the floor with your face. Complete all those and you unlock Rad mode for the ultimate challenge. The game does a great job of teaching you the ropes through challenges. Each level is more than just a new course; you have a new trick to master, a higher score to beat and a longer combo to achieve.If you can’t max out all of the stars on your first attempt, finish a couple more levels and return with your new found skills and you’ll find it much easier.

If that doesn’t spur you on to try again, one thing is sure to. At the start of each level, just above the tricks you have to complete, is your best score and how that ranks you on the world leaderboards, as well as the name of the top dog for that course and his alarmingly high score. I’ll admit, once I’d mastered a level, I did go back and try to improve my score to drag myself up the leaderboard to a more flattering position; I doubt you’ll be seeing me at the top any time soon, though, some of these people are goood!

I’m the king of the World

Outside of career mode you’ve also got spots mode and the daily grind. When you complete a level, you can visit that course in spot mode. This is a quick dash to score the most points on that course to earn the title King of the Spot. Added to that, each day a new spot is chosen for the daily grind; for one day only, you can challenge the best on that spot. The twist is on the daily grind, while you can practise as much as you like, you’ve only got one chance to set that high score. Can you handle the pressure or will you end up face down in a drained pool somewhere?

What’s not to like?

There are some lingering bugs that meant I had the occasional freeze or crash, but I’m sure those issues will be ironed out with a patch not long after you get your grubby little mitts on the game.

Final Analysis

OlliOlli is everything that made Tony Hawk’s great back on the original Playstation; addictive score attack gameplay with outrageous tricks and hilarious pratfalls. The graphics work really well on the Vita screen, there’s over 100 tricks to learn and the global leaderboards and daily grind mode can keep the challenge going indefinitely. Simple to play, but tough to master, OlliOlli really is a must have title for Vita owners.

Time Played: Four Hours

If you have any specific questions about the game, noticed any problems or don’t feel we’ve answered something specifically enough, sound off in the comments below and we’ll get right on replying.

About the author

PictoPirate

PictoPirate hails from the grim north and is only down south temporarily while he waits to win the lottery. He likes to play games and then write about them on his website and others if they will let him. Also he likes badgers, don't ask...