Developer: Tom Hegarty
Release Date: 1/21/2014
Also Available On
Skateboarding games have kind of died out over the past 5 years. With the last decent one being Skate 3, everyone yearns for the days of classic Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. OlliOlli brings back that arcade-like twitch reflexes on a 2D plane. There’s no story to speak of and there shouldn’t be. It’s just you, the ground, and your board.
OlliOlli features a trick stick similar to EA’s Skate series but it’s better (yes, a 2D indie skateboarding game does a multi-million dollar game’s trick system better). You use the left stick to do all the tricks and there’s no ollie button. Pressing down and up will make your ollie while pressing X just before you land giving you a perfect landing. This rearranging of buttons is perfect and exactly what this genre needs. Grinding is as simple as just ollieing on top of a rail, no need for extra buttons. The trick stick consists of grinds and flip tricks only, there are no grabs here because the game is all about completing goals on a short course with the highest possible score. On a 2D plane, grab tricks would just get in the way. A great change that’s small but big is keeping your speed by landing everything perfect. You will eventually start slowing down like in all skateboarding games, but perfect lands will give you speed boosts allowing you to trick across an entire level if you are good enough.
There are quite a few levels and each stage is completely different. The only major downside to this game is the constant trial and error because some goals require perfection. The game is very challenging and will push your skills to the limit. Thanks to the great animations and silky smooth controls it can be somewhat forgiving in that aspect. Outside of the career mode, you can partake in daily challenges where you get to practice a run as many times as you want and once you go for the real thing you get one try only. If you fall within the first 10 meters that’s too bad. This makes things super intense and really makes that one perfect run feel amazing.
OlliOlli may have a small trick book, but the way you pull these off is nearly revolutionary for the genre and the accompaniment of smooth controls and animations just make it that much better. The various goals, score attacks, and collecting of items can be downright tricky, but arcade skateboarding enthusiasts will have no problem pressing that restart button for the 25th time knowing this time they will get it.