I dig skateboarding games, this all started when I discovered Tony Hawk’s Pro Skating on the PlayStation back in the late ‘90s. There’s this unique charm when playing these games, as you land sick tricks on the vert or from rails, and mix combos that are impossible for any human to land. Very few skateboarding games provide that sense of satisfaction, and with the release of OlliOlli World, this might probably fulfill my hunger for a good skateboarding game.
OlliOlli World is the third title from Roll7’s OlliOlli series, and the latest game makes a big leap in terms of size and visuals by jumping to 3D over its pixel art style. The 2D side-scrolling skateboarding game provides a good mix of combo-racking tricks and platforming that offers replayability. Will there be enough to keep any skateboarding and platformer fans satisfied? We’ll soon find out.
If you’ve been playing the OlliOlli games before, right at the start you know they’ve leveled up their art direction and production, gone are the retro-style pixel art visuals and in with the cel-animated cartoony 3D world that has a big homage to Cartoon Network shows like Adventure Time and Steven Universe. Set in the world of Radlandia, you are being put to the test on becoming the next chosen one and get to meet the five skate gods and reach Gnarvana. Each of the characters you’ll encounter screams a lot of personalities not just from the looks, but also from how they talk with the gibberish noises that sort of remind you of Animal Crossing, these details make the world of Radlandia really colorful and fun. Each level in Radlandia offers different themes that showcase its vibrant style and unique interactions as you play, you can get to meet random aliens, buffed surfer birds, and even a huge swarm of bees.
The sound design is of top quality, with real sound effects of skating like grinding to walls, skateboards slamming, wheels rolling on concrete, it adds that nice touch for any skater fans playing to appreciate. The soundtrack was also a neat highlight, as it features industrial and electronic music from reputable artists like Fardust, Nikitich, Mildflite and more to keep anyone focused with their high-scoring combos. It’s also nice that you can change tracks during your game if you want to match the stage with your favorite track.
Mixing skateboarding and platforms seems to be a great combination, and OlliOlli World really proves it with its gameplay. You need to clear each stage to progress in each of the 5 themed levels, and you can clear the stage by reaching the finish line, and as you traverse in the stage, you can land trick moves by pressing directional inputs on your analog stick as well as doing wall rides and rail grinds to score points. Later in the game, it will introduce you to more tricks to help pump up multipliers to your combos, such as manuals, spins and advanced grinds.
Performing tricks and combos can be easy but it takes time to really master high-scoring combos as it requires precision, a small error can cause a wipeout and you can lose any score that you rack up for the multiplier. The game can be punishing at the start whenever you try to do a lot of advanced tricks, but as you get used to the gameplay and get familiar with the levels, doing sick combos will be a lot easy.
The game has a good learning curve in teaching the mechanics from the basics to the advanced tricks. This is a good approach as it doesn’t overwhelm new players when starting out and gives them time to get used to the gameplay and they can return to any previous stages to complete challenges or beat any rival scores that they missed. Yet, it still provides a good challenge even to skilled players that will test their expertise in getting high scores or completing side quests.
The major problem that I find is the lack of a button remap option, especially since the game requires you to use a game controller even on the PC. The restart button is mapped on the face buttons and near the lane switch button that it can be accidentally pressed during a heated moment, and it doesn’t prompt you if you want to restart to the recent checkpoint whenever you pressed it, and a single accidental press can waste a really good score in an instant, hopefully, they could an option post-launch to allow players to reconfigure their button layouts to their liking.
There are five levels each with dozens of stages to complete, and there are secret levels that can be unlocked when certain conditions are met. Completing the stages in a level will unlock the next one for you to progress further. Some special levels have unique objectives that will test your skills
Each stage is well designed with some of them having alternate routes that contain hidden characters that can unlock new stages, or in some cases complete special objectives. All stages have special cosmetic rewards that you can clear by beating the scores of the featured skater and completing the special objectives. It adds some replay value to the game as you can come back any time and finish any rewards that you’ve missed.
It has a seasonal event called League where players can compete on leaderboards each season for the best scores and features a unique stage and special rewards when you earned higher ranks. You can also create your own stage and have other players participate with its generated level code, though you don’t have the full liberty of customizing the level as it is randomly generated with certain parameters. It’s a neat feature to challenge friends for the high score but this might be ignored entirely as some players would go with the League for the leaderboards.
OlliOlli World doesn’t feature any other unique game modes that can test its gameplay aside from ranked matches, it would be a neat addition to have an endless mode where you can practice your tricks or have a challenging stage where the level would change after progressing further to make it randomized.
You can unlock and collect a ton of cosmetics in the game that can give you a wide option to customize your character. You can change your skater at any time even from skin tone and body size. There are a ton of customization options to choose from, even for your skateboard and animation, and you can unlock more cosmetics as you progress in the game and clear out challenges and achievements.
The game has a photo mode that you can use to capture your coolest tricks, but the function is very limited to just the fixed camera frame and the only customization features available are for adjusting the color, vignette and noise effect. There are no presets available that you can use to create a unique wallpaper that you can use.
OlliOlli World is a fun, easy to play skateboarding platformer that still sticks to its original design, but improvised its gameplay on skateboarding which makes it more appealing even to newcomers. The game is easy for everyone to pick and will give them a lot of time to master the best combos, yet it still has that good amount of challenge that will test your skills, though adding a couple of unique game modes could add more replayability to the game. Its aesthetics has a certain appeal that can attract the audience that is into rich and colorful characters
Outside of its gameplay, there are tons of customization choices to dress up your avatar along with an impressive soundtrack, though the photo mode function could use some optimization that would become a great game feature if done right.
This is a sure buy for skateboarding game fans as it has tons of skating references from spoof brands and up to the skating moves, and is a great platforming game for anyone who wants to experience a unique twist.
We’re giving OlliOlli World a wild score of 4 out of 5.
The game was reviewed on PC Steam and is also available on the PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S with a release date of February 8, 2022.