Originally planned as an iOS game, 2D skateboarder OlliOlli was a breakthrough hit for Roll7 when it released exclusively for the Playstation Vita in January 2014.
Having spread the love by releasing OlliOlli on a whole host of other formats since, Roll7 are now ready to grace the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita with its follow up: OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood.
OlliOlli’s premise has always been simple. Your goal is to hurtle along various environments on your skateboard, performing tricks to score points until you reach the finish line. The controls are simple too; the left analog stick is used to prepare tricks and grind, the shoulder buttons modify tricks for more variety, and the X button is used to land with poise. Thankfully OlliOlli 2 also incorporates a new move – the manual – which gives the game a fresh feel compared to its predecessor. Performed by holding left or right on the left stick and tapping X just as you land, the manual really is a game changer. While the original OlliOlli was grind-focused with gaps between rails breaking your flow, and more critically your combo, in OlliOlli 2 entire stages can be completed in one huge chain.
Whilst the inclusion of the manual creates some opportunities to perform massive combos to boost your score, OlliOlli’s caveat still exists, which is to say that in order to achieve the best scores, perfect timing is of the utmost essence. Performing grinds with the perfect timing will give you a boost of speed, as well as increase your combo multiplier and enable you to tweak your grind into a different variety. Your landings are the most vital aspect of any trick or combo however, as a sloppy landing will reduce any points earned immensely.
Career mode is where you’ll be spending the most of their time playing OlliOlli 2. Across five levels in each of the games five environments, players are tasked with simply reaching the end of the course without bailing. Each level also has five challenges to complete, such as to achieve a set score or combo, perform a certain trick, or even find collectibles. Completing all five of a level’s challenges unlocks the “pro” version of that level, with increased difficulty and a further five challenges to complete. Fans of the original title will also be pleased to know that the “Daily Grind” and “Spots” modes also make a return. For those new to the series, in Daily Grind you get one run only on a new course every day in order to show off your skating prowess on an online leaderboard. Spots mode on the other hand is a fully-featured mode containing levels like those seen in the Daily Grind. Tasked with obtaining your highest score possible in one combo across levels unlocked via progression in the career mode, Spots mode accumulates your scores in order to form your Spots score, which can be used to measure your skill against other players.
Having only briefly played the original, I was very glad to find that OlliOlli 2 now incorporates a mode in which to learn and practice skills. Whilst the Skatepark mode is very basic, it offers a much needed area for practicing many of the game’s techniques such as reverts, spins and manuals. Other little additions such as the tricktionary putting a star at the side of tricks you have successfully performed, and the inclusion of a platinum trophy are also very welcome. Roll7 also plan to patch Combo Rush, a local multiplayer mode, into the game shortly after release as well.
While OlliOlli 2 is a fairly easy game to pick up, it is very hard to master. You will spend a great deal of time repeatedly playing the same level again and again in order to figure out which route is best to take and how to maximise your score. With its beautiful 2D graphics and eclectic soundtrack, it’s safe to say that the difficulty is the game’s only downfall; for a numbers of players the frustration will probably become too much to bear. For those that do persist however, the triangle button will be getting a good workout as this can now be used to instantly restart the level.
After the many frustrating yet hugely rewarding hours I have spent playing OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood, I can only conclude that it is an essential game. Bigger, better and more accessible than its predecessor, its addictive gameplay will keep you coming back again and again, whether it be to improve your score or to have ‘one last go’ at beating the level you’re stuck on. Cross buy and cross save also means that owners of both the PS4 and PS Vita get to continue their game on the move when the addiction has truly set in.