8 Overall Score
Controls : 9/10
Presentation : 8/10
Replayability: 7/10

Outstanding Soundtrack|Great Controls|Easy to pick up

Not enough modes|No customization|Steep learning curve

Written by on July 26, 2014 in [, , , , ]

The golden age of skateboarding games is behind us. With the Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise left to mobile devices and Skate’s developers now defunct, skateboarding game fans don’t really have any options when it comes to finding that fix of alternative sports.

Developer Roll7’s new arcade skateboarding game, OlliOlli, manages to keep the outlandish and arcadey feel of those classic titles, while being surprisingly able to capture the technical finesse and style of real life skateboarding.

OlliOlli PC Screen 6

Big tricks require a gamepad, so plug in that 360 controller!

Previously released on the PS Vita and now out on PC, Olli Olli is a simple yet challenging side-scroller platformer. Similar to games like Canabalt or Runner 2, which puts players in a forced 2-D perspective through each level, you traverse through the environment which requires precision button presses in dodging obstacles and terrain.

Since it is a skateboarding game, pulling off sweet flip tricks and big grinds are part of it, but the player controls are more technical than you might think. If you are playing on PC, plug in a gamepad cause you’ll need it (in fact when launching the game a prompt comes up encouraging you to do just that).

As someone who has had a strong affinity for skateboarding games throughout the years ( I was once a youthful skateboarder, shaggy hair and all) OlliOlli immediately reminds me of the forgotten PSX title Thrasher: Skate and Destroy through how the game handles skateboarding tricks. Emulating the feel of how to pull of a trick in real life is difficult in a video game, and OlliOlli does it better than either the Tony Hawk Series or Skate. Every action feels important, from setting up for the trick, to pulling it off, to landing it successfully. For example, after grinding down a 20 stair rail, making a combo onto a ledge and kickflipping off, pressing A moments before landing to ensure a “perfect” landing boosts your score dramatically. OlliOlli demonstrates that skateboarding isn’t about the trick itself, its also about everything before and after that makes the trick work.

OlliOlli PC Screen 4

Additionally, the audio and effects really capture skateboarding; primarily the mixing of the music with the game’s sound effects. The upbeat electronic music is meshed perfectly with the sound the board, the pop of an ollie, or the grind on a ledge or rail. It may look like an arcadey indie platformer, but it sounds like a skate video I used to pop in my VCR as a kid.

OlliOlli PC Screen 2

The Junkyard is my favorite segment, grinding on trash and construction equipment!

With all of its great aesthetics and tactile feel, the biggest complaint with OlliOlli is the lack of more game modes. With three different levels of difficulty (one that is only unlocked after completing all challenges) and only a few different environments, you’ll wish there was at least one more mode at the start; a free-style mode maybe, or something similar. Although its minimalist design and direction works perfectly for the Vita, on the PC it feels empty.

OlliOlli magically captures the feel of actually skateboarding in a 2-D platformer space with its tactile and fluid controls and precise design choices. Here’s hoping a OlliOlli 2 will have more available to sink in to.


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Author: Colby Tibbet View all posts by
Colby Tibbet is a writer, editor, multimedia artist, and has an affinity for all things sci-fi. He also thinks craft brew is the closest thing to the american dream.

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