If you’ve been waiting for a good skateboarding game on Switch, here are two of them, bundled up into one one little package.
OlliOlli made a name for itself when it was released on the PS Vita way back in 2014, and its much-improved sequel, OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood, landed on PS4 and PS Vita just a year later. Since then, they’ve both been ported to other formats, but it’s on Switch where they feel most at home. It’s all about the portability, you see?
On Switch, both games are installed as one, with you given a choice of which one you’d like to play when you launch OlliOlli: Switch Stance. Unfortunately, once you’ve loaded a game you can’t then get back to the game selection screen, forcing you to quit back to the Switch’s dashboard before launching OlliOlli: Switch Stance again if you want to move from one to the other. Though whichever title you jump into you’re in for a fun time, even though both are largely the same.
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 analogue stick is used to prepare tricks and grind; the trigger buttons allow you to spin, making your tricks even more fancy; and the B button is used to land with poise. Aside from looking dramatically better, OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Ollywood also introduces a new move into the mix – the manual – which gives the game a bit more depth than its predecessor. Performed by holding left or right on the left stick and tapping B just as you land, the manual really is a game changer. While the original OlliOlli is grind-focused with gaps between rails breaking your flow and your combo, in OlliOlli 2 entire stages can be completed in one huge chain.
Your time with OlliOlli and OlliOlli2: Welcome to Ollywood will mostly be spent in each game’s career mode. Both feature five environments for you to skate through, and to progress that’s pretty much all you need to do – reach the end of each level without bailing. Each environment has five levels for you to conquer, and they each have five challenges to complete. You’re tasked with achieving a set score or combo, for example, or performing a certain trick, and 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. Master everything and you’ll unlock RAD Mode, in which you need to revisit all levels and pull off perfect combos and landings to succeed. Needless to say, you can spend a lot of time with OlliOlli and its sequel if you want to beat everything they have to offer.
Outside of OlliOlli: Switch Stance‘s campaigns, there are also Daily Grinds and Spots to take part in. Daily Grinds allow you to show off your skills on a new course every day, with your skating prowess displayed on an online leaderboard. Spots, on the other hand, is a fully-featured mode containing levels like those seen in the Daily Grind. Spots levels are unlocked as you progress through each games’ career, and they task you with obtaining your highest score possible in one combo. Each Spots level has its own leaderboard so you can see how your efforts stack up against other players. In OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Ollywood, you have an accumulative Spots score too, so you can compare your overall performance.
Both OlliOlli games are easy to pick up but very challenging to master. Those who want to beat all of their challenges and see their names at the top of leaderboards will be hitting the restart run button very often. But they always feel fair. You’ll go back to each game time and time again, and over time you’ll undoubtedly get better at them because they’re very much skill-based. They require expert timing and familiarity with the tricks on offer, both of which you pick up with experience. The expert timing part also means that OlliOlli: Switch Stance is best played in handheld mode on Switch. You might be okay playing it in docked mode on your big TV if it isn’t very laggy, but it’ll always feel better to play in handheld mode.
So, if you’re into skateboarding games or even just games that offer short skill-based challenges that you can dip into occasionally, OlliOlli: Switch Stance comes highly recommended. This Switch port of both games doesn’t really offer anything new for those who have played either title to death before, but those who are yet to dive into an OlliOlli game will find themselves presented with a generous package that feels right at home on Switch. Just maybe start OlliOlli first and exhaust everything it has to offer, because once you’ve mastered the manual in OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Ollywood, it’s hard to go back.