Have you ever found yourself sitting around wondering what it would be like if someone combined a “runner” game with a skateboarding one? Yeah, it never crossed my mind either. Luckily, the good people at Roll7 did. And thus, OlliOlli was born!
Pull off sweet tricks as you plummet down dangerous levels set in traditional skateboarding locations, like the junkyard and army base. Well, maybe those aren’t “traditional.” OlliOlli is technically of the runner genre. Whenever you set off, your character begins to move automatically as you control the moves that he performs. This allows for a much more interesting control scheme. The game uses three buttons (A, L, R), which are combined with moving the left stick in various directions to perform your wide range of moves. How and where you move the stick determines what trick you pull off. Combining it with L and R allows for other moves too. The object of the game is to skate down a slope, wrack up points, and make it to the end of the level. If you do, a new one opens up. There are 25 total stages, all with 5 requirements you’ll have to beat in order to unlock the corresponding “advanced” stage. Luckily, you don’t have to complete all the tasks in one single run. There’s also the “Daily Grind” where a new stage generates every day, and you can compete with people around the world to get the high score.
Visually, OlliOlli is done in your retro 8/16-bit style. For that, it’s much more interesting. While we’ve certainly had skateboarding games back in the day, there was nothing quite like this. The soundtrack is hip and mellow, adding subtle atmosphere while managing to not be distracting. That’s important too, because OlliOlli is a pain in the ass. Like all runners, timing is fundamentally key to making it through a level. What so many runners fail to do is counteract with this tight and responsive controls. OlliOlli is not one of those runners though. When you die, and you will (a lot), it’s completely your fault and not that of the game’s. It’s not punishingly difficult, but since the control system is something you’re not going to be used to, it’ll take a while to get fully oriented.
If you’re not into the repetitive nature of runners, then this game might not be for you. I grew up with Atari and arcade games, so runners aren’t boring to me. I’m not, personally, that big into skateboarding, but I have always found skateboarding games to be fun. OlliOlli is no exception.
This title just released this week for Wii U and 3DS for $8.48, offering free cross-buy for each system. That’s a big deal for Nintendo since they rarely do that. They don’t offer cross-play save data, unfortunately… but again, this is Nintendo. One step at a time guys. I find myself playing more on the 3DS because I think the smaller system works better for those twitchy-response controls… but the Wii U looks nicer.
If you’re interested in OlliOlli, you can grab it on the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PC, Mac, Linux, XBOX One, Wii U and 3DS. You 360 people are shit outta luck, I guess.
If you’re a PS4/Vita owner, you can also pick up OlliOlli 2, which just released this week.