OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2 were both very well received. But going back to them now after playing OlliOlli World is just, well, disappointing. This third entry, out next month from Roll7, is worlds apart from its predecessors.
Well, sort of. The DNA of OlliOlli remains at the core of OlliOlli World. This is still a level-based skateboarding game where you’re challenged to perform to the best of your abilities. The more tricks you score, the more gnarly your flips and grinds and grabs, the more points you’ll earn. And points quite literally do earn prizes; your performance after each level will bag you various cosmetic items to jazz up your character with.
The previous OlliOlli games focused solely on the skateboarding; they had no time to concern themselves with characters, storytelling or customisation. And while OlliOlli World still absolutely nails the skateboarding, managing to be easily accessible yet intoxicatingly deep for those who want to truly master it, it packs in all the other stuff with ease, too. Between each level you’ll get to enjoy a dialogue-filled cutscene with a cast of wonderful characters. And the level of customisation for your character is bordering on obscene.
Before you’ve even unlocked anything – before you’ve even had time to skate at all – there are dozens of items of clothing, hairstyles and accessories for you to choose from. But as you play you’ll unlock dozens more, so by the time you’re an hour or two into the game, your customisation menu will represent a kooky department store’s warehouse. How are you possibly supposed to choose between a baseball cap and a hat that makes it look like you’ve got ice cream on your head?
That’s all good fun, but of course, the real thrill of OlliOlli World remains in its skating. Things feel more polished than Roll7’s previous games, and OlliOlli’s signature control style has been tinkered with slightly, making it easier than ever to get to grips with. That’s not to say it’s easy, though. If you want to nail the biggest and best tricks you’re still going to have to put a lot of practice in. But new players and those less familiar with the franchise (or, indeed, skateboarding games in general) will feel a little more welcome, thanks to well thought-out tutorials and a beginner-friendly control scheme. In no time you’ll be landing flawless tricks and racking up points.
You’ll of course fail often though, and a simple press of the triangle button will get you back on your feet – well, wheels. Holding down triangle will take you all the way back to the start, while a tap will set you at the last checkpoint. It’s up to you if you choose to use checkpoints; there are prizes to be earned for finishing a level without needing to use one. But when you’re just starting out, they’re a very welcome addition.
Needless to say, OlliOlli World looks absolutely gorgeous. Its cartoonish art style is bursting with life; it’s a night-and-day difference from the purposefully retro feel of OlliOlli 1 and 2. The characters here are gorgeous; you’d be forgiven for thinking they’ve been ripped out of a Nickelodeon-style cartoon. Its environments, too, are wonderfully realised. You might be whizzing by so fast that you don’t notice, but it’s worth stopping to pay attention once in a while. Even better, some levels have multiple paths to take, so they’re worth revisiting to make sure you’ve seen everything. It’s all so wonderfully crafted, and it’s clear Roll7 has poured a lot of love into every element of the game.
Most of your time with OlliOlli World will be spent making your way through the main campaign, then, trying to achieve the best score you can in each level. There are multiple challenges to master, too, some of which will unlock additional quests and new areas to find on the overworld map. But outside of the campaign there’s also multiplayer challenges to compete in; the ‘Gnarvana League’ allows you to go up against other players to see who can gain the highest score in the daily challenge.
And so, if you enjoyed either of the previous OlliOlli games, it’s a safe bet to say you’re going to love OlliOlli World. This is a true evolution of the skateboarding series; easy to pick up but hard to master, every moment we’ve spent with the game so far has been a joy. And we can’t wait to play more.
OlliOlli World is launching on 8th February on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Switch and PC.