Price: US:$12.99 (PS+ $10.39) ; EU:€9.99 (PS+ €7.99); UK:£7.99 (PS+ £6.39)
From the first videos I saw of OlliOlli I was under the impression that this game was simply going to be an endless runner in style, but with the twist of having a skateboard. I was wrong this game has some simple looking pixel graphics that hide within them a game of incredible depths.
Your aim is to get from left to right pulling off tricks, doing grinds building up a score and trying not to bail.
What sets this apart for Tony Hawks isn’t just the visuals but how simple the control mechanism is, yet how rewarding it feels when you start to take risks, nailing a massive combo all the way to the end of the level to a cheering crowd. Saying this game is like Tony Hawks I feel is doing this game a great disservice, due the fact for me I always preferred the utterly addictive SSX and this reminds me heavily of that games epic combos and chains, and adrenaline rush from start to finish.
Controls as I’ve said are very basic but there feels like there’s an infinite variety, when put in to combos. X is used to Push your player along but more importantly is used to land. Depending on the timing of the press on landing determines your score rating from sloppy to perfect, with a range in between reminiscent of timing on rhythm action games. With the speed these levels can whiz by at, learning to nail landings is vital for progression and getting a massive chain combo.
There are only three other controls for this game: The left stick (or D-pad) is used for performing tricks and grinds, by preloading a direction and releasing to launch your board in to the air. Different board flips alter your distance and speed, working out the best for certain gaps is vital for traversing levels. The shoulder buttons are used for spins and different types of grinds. I’m making this sound more complicated than the game actually is. Thankfully there’s Trickionary which is invaluable, especially as each other levels have 5 challenges that need to be accomplished, usually involving a High-Score, a Maxi-Combo and a challenge that requires a specific trick to be pulled off and landed. All these can be achieved but some require a perfect run finishing at the feet of a cheering public. If you reach the end without bailing the next Level is available to play, if you tick off the 5 challenges you open up Pro levels, which are longer and harder but majorly rewarding. If you’re able to complete all 50 levels and the 250 challenges RAD mode opens, sadly I’ve not yet managed it but I’m still determinedly chipping away.
More addictive is the Spots mode which you can play as soon as you’ve made it through a level, without stacking it. No collectible or challenges just trying to get to the end with the biggest score, if you land that’s the score you get but it’s damn compelling trying to ace through. Your score is then rated against the rest of the world’s players and you’ve given a ranking providing your connect via Online mode. I’m a little disappointed that there’s no option to send challenges to PSN friends either via Near or directly compare scores with people on your Friends list. Thanks to PSVita’s screen grab functionality and support for Twitter / Facebook there’s no reason not to challenge your friends via social media. I’m sure Joypadandme.com will be adding a scoreboard for this game, as competition always makes you push that little bit harder, spin longer, pull off more tricks or try to perfect your run down.
Added to this competitiveness is a crazy daily challenge aptly titled the Daily Grind which changes every day and gives you a counter as to how long’s left, before it’s over. You can practice as many times as you like but as soon as you chose go for it, then that’s your final attempt, so score big or go home. I would love to tell you I kicked-flipped my way to victory but inevitability I ended up eating pavement or snow or obstacles regardless of how awesome my practice runs were. An exceptionally interesting concept, that keeps you coming back everyday to see what’s been added.
The sound effects for this game are excellent, the sounds of wheels on concrete, or clunks on to rails, and other atmospheric effects are lovely. What really shines through is the soundtrack which has some great tunes to trick out too. This game really is so damn close to perfection, from the exquisitely animated boarder, the old school style parallax backgrounds scrolling past, the superb soundtrack. This is all window dressing for OlliOlli’s crack-like moreish gameplay, from quick blasts for a couple of minutes at the bus stop, to two hour long sessions trying to be King of the scores sat on the sofa. So be warned once you start playing OlliOlli you will certainly need to have the PSVita forcefully removed from your hands, or serious wounds in your palms due to the PSVita digging in. So just buy it, it’s that damn compelling.
Review copy supplied by the developers