Well after hearing about this game early last year, and meeting up with game designer John Ribbins, and Producer Tom Hegarty at ‘The Playstation Show UK’s Beaver Fever Tour’ at Eurogamer Expo 2013 its fair to say I’ve been looking forward to this a fair bit for a while…….and it almost doesn’t disappoint.
The game itself started out as an endless runner game which, thankfully it didn’t stay this way otherwise I feel it would have been lost among the thousands of other endless runner clones out there.
I like to think its been given the Roll7 treatment and evolved into an old school style skateboarding game, with its side on view complimenting the game play perfectly giving you full view of the obstacles, and rails ahead on its many courses varying from the beginners Urban courses to the harder to master Snowy based levels, to my personal favourite the ultra colourful Neon City.
This game would fall flat on its face though if the controls weren’t spot on and compliment this Playstation Vita exclusive perfectly.
While initially daunting trying to get my head around the controls at Eurogamer Expo last year, having a tutorial in the game is a brilliant idea for people not entirely sure what to expect from the controls, and it’s not long and drawn out like some tutorials, everything from jumping and tricks to rail grinds is all done on the left stick and landing is solely the responsibility of the trusted X button, add spins to your tricks with the L and R trigger buttons, after a few hours play this becomes very natural to play, the touch screen is mainly used to navigate the menus.
The game itself looks sharp on the vita screen and the graphics suits the old school game play brilliantly with a very detailed player sprite with colourful and varying backgrounds which I do have to mention the Neon City stage particularly, with the Tokyo speed train running in the background always making me feel like I was racing the train.
The levels themselves aren’t just a trick run, with each level having a set of 5 challenges adding a little variety to what is being asked of the player, from collecting spray cans to performing a particular trick (which can be looked up in the ever-present “Tricktionary”) to getting over a certain score, this is where the game starts to open up, through doing said challenges opens the hard to master pro levels and their own challenges, complete that and you’ll get RAD mode, the game Roll7 initially made but knew newcomers would potentially be turned off by.
If you think your done by then you’d be wrong with each level having a spot level, where you’re competing with the rest of the world to be number one on that level, then you have the ‘daily grind’ which you can practice as much as you like but you only get one run to set your world-beating score, fall flat on your face (and you will) you’ll have to wait in shame till the next day.
The above is all well and good, but if the soundtrack was bad you wouldn’t want to play for long, thankfully it’s a sensation to the ears. The music really suits the game play with its strange calming influence keeping you from occasionally wanting to launch your vita across the room in rage.
With controls so tight though, and the music soothing your inner skateboarding demons, I never felt I was cheated by the game and the big yellow retry button getting you straight back into the action is perfect.
This is the part I regret having to do but my hopes have been dashed slightly by one major problem which I hope & pray may be patched in at some point, but the massive omission of a friends leaderboard is a big problem for me, while the score boards show your current ranking in the world and who is currently number 1, unfortunately that’s all we’re getting for now, being a score chasing game at it’s core, competing against friends and their scores just seems like such a natural feature that is sadly missing…. the days of Motorstorm RC bragging rights (currently) remains in the past.
OlliOlli releases on the 21st January in the US and 22nd in UK/Europe, if you loved your old school skaters or games that keep you coming back to beat your score than we think you will love OlliOlli