OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood Review

TINY HAWK: PLATFORM SKATER 2

There is a time in a boys’ life when they have an obsession with skateboarding. For me that time was in the early 2000s, right around the time Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 came out. Tony Hawk was an icon. Everyone had one of those finger skateboards and no one knew how to use them. Everyone had a real skateboard and even less knew how to use them. Most importantly, everyone thought they were the best at Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Over time skateboarding games saturated the market and after a few years the skateboarding trend drifted from the cultural mindset. But the future is here, and it’s two-dimensional.

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The year is 2015 and small team named Roll7 from London have revived the skateboarding genre. It all began with the inaugural OlliOlii released in January of 2014 for the PlayStation Vita. OlliOlli is a two-dimensional skateboard platformer where players zoom through levels pulling off tricks and building up combos using nothing but the analog stick, a couple of shoulder buttons, and the X button. Oh yeah, and the triangle button is restart. You’re going to need that one.

Ouch.
Ouch.

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood contains a few upgrades from its predecessor like improved graphics and new modes, but the biggest change is a additional mechanic. Just like in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, OlliOlii 2 introduces the manual {basically a skateboard’s version of a wheelie where you lift up the back or front wheels} , and it totally changes the game. Instead of short bursts of tricks, the manual allows the player to build up one unbroken combo throughout the level. You can pull a kickflip into a crooked grind and continue on with a nose manual all without surrendering your multiplier.

The mechanics are simple in context but there is a tremendous amount of depth. Skaters push their board with the X button to gain speed, and execute tricks with the left analog stick. These tricks can be as easy an olli which just takes an upward flick of the stick, or as tricky as a double laserflip which involves rotating the stick halfway 180 degrees then 45 degrees back, all while holding the L1 button. Grinding is achieved by simply directing the left analog stick when approaching the rail.

You execute a manual by tilting the analog stick while pressing ex when landing. Using the shoulder buttons can produce spins and reverts as well. All 38 tricks, 16 grinds, and 4 stances can be found in the Tricktionary in the menu. Since the tricks can be so intricate I preferred the larger analog sticks of the PlayStation 4 over the tiny, finicky Vita sticks.

The Tr
The Tricktionary

Timing is king in OlliOlli 2. When landing a trick the player must tap X just before they hit the ground. There are four levels of timing: the worst being sloppy, then okay, sick, and the best is perfect. The better the timing of the landing, the better the score. Perfect timing is important because it gives you a speed boost that is sometimes necessary to get through a level.

Just skateboarding through the sandy desert.
Just skateboarding through the sandy desert.

Career mode is where you will be spending most of your time in OlliOlli 2. It consists of 5 distinct worlds, and each world contains 5 levels for a total of 25 levels. This may not sound like much but each level has five challenges. Examples of these varied challenges include getting 100% perfect grinds, finishing the level with one unending combo, or finding the secret relics hidden within the level. Just finishing the stage unlocks the next level but defeating all five challenges gives you a more difficult version of the stage. You start with the amateur version of a level but after completing the challenges you get a Pro version, followed by a RAD version of the level. So in essence there is more like 75 levels. The challenges are reminiscent of the Tony Hawk series but OlliOlli’s 2D platforming prohibits the amount of exploration that is possible in most other skateboarding series. It took me a few hours to finish the amateur levels but it will take a long time to master the pro and RAD stages.

A 360 through the Matrix
A 360 through the Matrix

Other modes include daily grind which is a short daily track where you only have one chance to post your best combo. Spots mode is similar in that it is a short level where you post your best combo, but instead they are based on the career levels and can be done as many times as you want. Modes I would have liked to see included are an endless track that allows you to practice tricks, and a player and level creator. A multiplayer mode is arriving in the futuring but the date is still to be determined.

OlliOlli is a difficult game in the vein of Hotline Miami with its repeat impulse and great soundtrack. In the beginning you just want to finish the level but then you go for more ambitious scores. When you finally master it the feeling is glorious. It has a mechanical system as deep as a serious fighting game but it only needs a few buttons to do it. The combinations are endless. Even if some of the challenges are difficult I rarely got frustrated. That could be due to the quick restart button, or that when you fail your poor character’s crashes can be hilarious. It definitely brought out my obsessive tendencies in the best possible way.

Did that really have to be there?!
Did that really need to be there?!

One fortuitous quality of the game is how much I like it, even though I am terrible at. I’m not a kid in my parent’s basement anymore lacking the online leaderboard to compare myself with, but that doesn’t matter. I’ll probably never make it to the RAD levels but I’m slowly improving and loving my time with this title.

For those struggling with the cross-save function-http://www.roll7.co.uk/#!OlliOlli2-Welcome-to-Olliwood-Advice-for-CrossSaving-for-the-first-time/c7ba/A9BB73A3-65C0-4A40-A9B1-45228B418BF0

The Verdict: 8.6 out of 10

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood is a fast-paced skateboarding platformer with a surprising amount of depth. I haven’t cared this much about a skateboarding game since the early 21st century with the Tony Hawk series. The introduction of the manual in the series is a welcome addition and it creates a sense of tension while you hope your combo perseveres. I’m excited to see what multiplayer is like when it’s added and whether creation modes are in this game’s future. Either way I’m eager to see where this series goes next. And since it’s free this month on PS Plus there is no reason to miss out!

For more information about what this score means, check out our official review scale.


Nathan Reid is an Associate Writer at MONG who has sore thumbs from all the analog flicking.

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