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OlliOlli World Review – Flawless Fingerboarding

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When I first started playing OlliOlli World, I was lucky to get through a level in one go using more than just a simple fliptrick and the occasional grind. By the end, I was spinning, grabbing, high-fiving myself during the ramps, and getting through in one unbroken combo thanks to constant manualing. Watching that combo counter move up as I casually sling out new moves without difficulty is one of the most satisfying learning processes I’ve had in a game.

Sure, I haven’t slept much since devoting myself to achieving Gnarvana and my fingers look like pretzels, but it was worth it – OlliOlli World is one of 2022’s biggest surprises, an instant classic in the skating genre, and something I’m sure I’ll be saying “just one more go” to for some time.

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OlliOlli World Burntrock

Similarly to pretty much every skating game, OlliOlli World doesn’t focus on telling a story, instead giving you a simple premise and letting you roll with it. As your own custom character, you’re tasked with skating across Radlandia and becoming a skate wizard. You’re a skate wizard, Harry.

It’s taken about as seriously as you’d expect, although there are some charming character interactions at the start of each course between your motley crew. It’s mostly just skate jokes and background dialogue on whatever area you’re in, but it stops OlliOlli World from feeling like level after level and goes towards making it feel like a world inhabited by characters.

A beautiful world at that – the most immediate improvement over the other OlliOlli games is the art style. Finding itself somewhere between Adventure Time, Newgrounds, and Ooblets, OlliOlli World is an absolute joy to look at, never jumping away from bright pastel colours and bold outlines. Each area of Radlandia is distinct and full of little details, like the cacti with eyes in the desert or the bear respecting the vibes and floating down a river on a raft in the forest area. OlliOlli has come a long way from simple pixel art.

It’s not just the world either. The game’s character designs, and the personal touches of style you can give your skater manage to pop in a world that’s already distinct and full of colour. Never have I seen a character creator that’s as inclusive, as trendy, and as clued into what skaters wear. I speak with authority there as someone who can’t skate but tries to look like he can. In other words, a poser.

The only part of OlliOlli World’s presentation that I don’t outright adore is its soundtrack. It’s all lo-fi hip hop beats, which works with the game’s art, but feels a little out of place with the intense trick-based gameplay. It’s possible I’m too used to Tony Hawk’s soundtrack, or that I was taking things a little too seriously, but I would have preferred something to sing along with. It doesn’t have to be Superman, I just want something a little more upbeat.


OlliOlli World - via Steam

OlliOlli World is best described as an auto-running skate game with flick tricks, more akin to a side-scrolling Skate than it is Tony Hawk’s. Boiling OlliOlli Wold down to an auto-scrolling skate platformer may make it sound simplistic, and perhaps it is, but what makes it special is how it takes that concept and goes as far as possible with it, turning OlliOlli into a chill 2D skating game into a zen-like representation of championship fingerboarding. It’s pretty easy to go into a bit of a skating trance and just completely vibe with what’s happening on screen, which is something I haven’t felt in a long time. It just clicks.


One of the best things about OlliOlli World is how it gradually introduces each trick to you. There are different tiers of tricks that reward more points, so although you’ll begin with ollies and flipkicks, you’ll eventually be quarter-circle rotating your way to the heavy hitters while chucking in a few grabs and turns with ease. Even when levels start to require all of these tricks and you’re replacing your burnt out DualSense, it never feels too overwhelming because you’re given the time to learn.

It’s not all about scoring big either, if you’re not obsessed with 100 percent completion like I was. Each stage has multiple challenges attached to it, including beating the high score of three other skaters, completing three of Mike’s tasks which vary from level to level, beating a rival skater’s score, and getting through the level without checkpoints.


These levels start off incredibly linear and simple, with objectives like collecting a starfish across the level, but by the second world you’re introduced to wall-riding, being able to switch routes mid-skate, and firecrackering down stairs. You’re constantly building an arsenal of moves that make going back to earlier levels and breezing through them as a true skate wizard a joy.


OlliOlliWorldPreview2

Challenges in a skating game are hardly a new idea, but OlliOlli Although it’s a relatively short game if you’re just mainlining it, each level gains so much more depth and replayability by choosing to go back and explore them to their fullest. Even if you don’t manage to beat the tasks Mike sets you, chances are you’ve gotten a little bit better at a trick, or shaved off the score distance between you and a rival.

Do try and go for full completion, however, and you’re in for a true challenge. Completing the game once unlocks one more challenge per level and they’re incredibly difficult to pull off. I joked about the pain I was in during my preview, and although the skating god I am now would scoff at such claims, I’d be lying if I said OlliOlli World doesn’t take a lot of energy to play.

The only bad thing about OlliOlli World is that it ends. Call me greedy, but despite having levels stuffed with challenges, rivals, and scores to beat, I couldn’t get enough of it. There are some online modes, but they can’t replace good old-fashioned single-player levels. Guess it’s back to aiming for 100 percent completion for me.

Although February has a whole host of excellent games that are all vying for your wallet, I can’t see any of them overtaking how heartfelt, charming, and satisfying to play OlliOlli World is. Sure, it might not have double-jumping horses or robot dinosaurs, but becoming a skate wizard should be your first priority this month.


OlliOlliReview

OlliOlli World is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, and PC. We tested the PS5 version for this review. Review code was provided by the publisher.

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