2D skateboarding game franchise OlliOlli gets a huge facelift with the new series entry OlliOlli World.
The first thing that hits you when you load OlliOlli World is the amazing art style. The surreal look of the game bears a striking similarity to the frivolous animation in the TV show Adventure Time. This casual look updates what is essentially quite a retro game.
Players start out as the new kid on the block with a motley group of skaters introducing themselves and the world that they inhabit, Radlandia. The quirky characters are adorably animated, each with their own style.
At its heart, OlliOlli World is a 2D skating game that has players skate from the left of the screen to the right performing tricks and avoiding hazards. The game mechanics are very similar to previous entries, except this one has complying ditch the pixelated look (thank goodness as I'm well and truly over “retro 90s-style” games).
OlliOlli World does its best to ease players into the various stunts and tricks required to negotiate the route. Perfecting jumps and grinds to clear hazards is often more about repetition than timing, with some hazards giving you very little notice.
The game world is made up of areas, each with its own unique look. Players work their way around the map via short skate runs. The initial idea is to jump over hazards and grind rails to get to the finish line. After a while, tricks are added into the equation.
For a game with such simple controls, I found my fingers regularly tied in knots. Flicking the left stick has your skate jumping, whilst twisting the stick to the left or right before releasing flips the board. Shoulder buttons can be used to spin when airborne.
The ability to change lanes and take alternative routes adds a bit of variety to the game. There are also optional side runs that can be taken as well. Meeting challenges unlocks apparel and skateboard components that can be used to make a unique OlliOlli World character.
The game is a hard task-master, making me think on more than one occasion that perhaps it's time start acknowledging that my reaction time is decreasing as I get older. Thankfully, there are checkpoints along the way that saved my sanity more than once.
Playing the game was a mixture of elation and frustration. Some runs that I had no problem with up to the point that I bailed became fraught with mistakes and mistimed jumps. This is a game that, if you are of that persuasion, is likely to have you throwing your controller against the wall.
OlliOlli World is a welcome distraction from the usual AAA fayre. For me, the game held up more because of its unique look rather than the actual gameplay. It's still a very difficult game to put down.
Playing the game on PC had me thinking that the game is better suited to a Nintendo Switch. I could see this game being a massive time sink on a plane or other long journey. I'd probably want to be playing something else on my PC, though, to be honest. If you like skating, enjoy quirky art styles, and are up for a challenge OlliOlli World may be a game for you.
OlliOlli World is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Nintendo Switch. A review copy was provided by the publisher for this review.