OlliOlli (3DS) Review:

Dude, they totally didn’t bail.

OlliOlli image 1
He’s mastered the green glow technique! I thought that was really difficult.

OlliOlli is the best 2D side-scrolling skateboarding game I have ever played. However, OlliOlli is also the only 2D side-scrolling skateboarding game I have played. Roll 7’s game is a simple one, which sees you ollie, kickflip, and nosegrind through a variety of different stages.

To move your skateboarder, you have to press “a”, the more you press it, the faster you go. To jump, you hold down the circle-pad (in different directions to do different tricks) and let go, and to grind you hold down the circle-pad in any direction (again, to pull of different tricks). Now, to land, you have to press “a”, which takes practice. Indeed, OlliOlli’s controls do take a little while to get used to, but once you are used to them, you’ll be amazed at the combos and high-scores you are able to pull off after a few hours of play.

What is harder to master however is landing your tricks perfectly, which requires pressing “a” at just the right time, or pressing down the circle-pad just at the right time. Landing perfect tricks not only improves the score of your combo, but it also makes you move faster, which is paramount in finishing a level made up of a lot of grind rails. Of course, for just the purpose of high-scores you will want to land perfect tricks as often as possible.

olliolli image 2
My personal best high-score in the game. Never one to show off, me.

High-scores are what will keep you coming back to the game, as well as the online leader-boards for each stage. Pulling off a long, insane combo is almost as fun in this game as it was in the best of the Tony Hawk’s series, especially when you have to get a big score in a level. In each stage there are five challenges to achieve, and doing each one gives you a new “Pro” stage, with a trickier design and more difficult challenges. In all, there are five worlds in the game, with ten stages in each, to play in either “career” or “spots” mode. “Spots” mode gives different stages, built for combos, which end as soon as you land.

Naturally, each stage is harder than the last, and each world is harder than the last. However, the difficulty does spike quite a bit in the last world, which is much harder than the rest of the game. The huge spike in difficulty took me by surprise, and it made for the last world to be less enjoyable then the rest of the game. I found this spike in difficulty particularly affected the quality of the challenges, which changed from fun, to infuriating.

olliolli image 3
Ah yes, you will bail. A lot.

However, there is also the “Daily Grind”, which gives you one stage and infinite practice runs followed by one attempt at achieving the highest score you possibly can. Like with the “spots” mode, your combo ends the instant you land. The Daily Grind offers a nice incentive to play the game every day; however, using the mode is a bit of a chore. The menus are sluggish in their response, despite their basic appearance and the menus on the bottom screen are only useable via touch. The use of the touchscreen isn’t bad in of itself, but the lack of being able to use the face buttons instead is annoying, especially since you either have to keep removing and placing your stylus back inside the console, or keep hold of it, which can get uncomfortable.

Whilst the sprite work is good, OlliOlli doesn’t wow with its graphics, especially given the fact that it does not support the 3D visuals of the 3DS, which would help the game to “pop” more. Indeed, design in OlliOlli isn’t fantastic overall, including stage design, which while allowing for long, fantastic combos, it never gets particularly inventive or eye-catching. Presentation aside, OlliOlli is a fun little game to play in short bursts or when bored.

Summary:

OlliOlli’s sluggish menu screens, difficulty spike and relatively dull presentation don’t ruin the game, which, for a few quid is well worth a buy. OlliOlli is fun to play, with a control system that, while it takes a while to get totally used to it, totally works. The variety of modes is nice in the game too, and its simple high-score structure ensures you’ll keep coming back to it whenever you’ve got a few minutes to kill.

Whilst not quite rad, OlliOlli is certainly worth a try for the few quid it costs, on whatever platform you want to play it on.

76/100

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