If you’re like me, then chances are your introduction to skateboarding games was by means of one of the many Tony Hawk titles that were popular in the 90s and early 2000s. Eventually, that series and its competitors faded away, but the skateboarding genre isn’t gone completely. With OlliOlli Indie studio Roll7 took the concept and recreated it into a 2D style; though this really isn’t like your average skateboarding game.
OlliOlli’s gameplay is purely reaction-based, similar to games like Bit.Trip Runner. The goal is to complete each level without crashing. The game is controlled almost entirely with the ‘B’ button and left analog stick, so on paper, it sounds very simple. But, that isn’t the case at all.
OlliOlli has built a reputation for itself for being a very fast-paced and tricky game. Unless you’re one of those gamers with cat-like reflexes, then you and the restart button will become best friends very quickly.
No Walk in the Park
Each level is only about a minute long, but the game’s longevity comes in with the expectation that you’ll likely end up having to restart a few dozen times before actually completing each one. There were moments where I would be ‘in the zone’ and it would only take me one or two tries to get through, but more often the situation would end up being me getting stuck on a single level for nearly a half hour. Nevertheless, getting to the end after pulling off a fluid session is always satisfying.
Chaining trick combos together is how you’ll make progress. Timing is everything. You’ll need to jump and land at the right time in order to keep the chain going. Hitting the ‘B’ button just a split-second before landing will result in a ‘Perfect’ maneuver, which provides a small speed boost. Keeping your momentum up is extremely important, as slowing down will result in crashing. You can also crash by hitting one of the (many) obstacles scattered throughout each level. To spice things up even more, there are special challenges in each level. Passing them all will unlock the ‘Pro’/’RAD’ version of the level, which is even more difficult. There’s also an online leaderboard which is tied to the Spot Mode where you’ll go through each level racking up as many tricks as possible before either stopping or reaching the end of the level.
What makes the Switch version of the game special is that its actually a package of both the original OlliOlli and the sequel Welcome to OlliWood. Functionally, both these games are fundamentally the same. The biggest difference is that Welcome to OlliWood has a much smoother and more vibrant artstyle, rather than the chunky, pixelated look of the original. Regardless, both games look great whether you’re playing in either docked or handheld mode. On that note, OlliOlli really is better as a portable game, as that gives you a chance to try your hand at beating a level or two in your spare time. I’m also a big fan of each game’s soundtrack, which consists of lo-fi tunes with some techno sprinkled in.
OlliOlli: Switch Stance keeps the difficult yet satisfying gameplay of this indie hit intact as it makes its way to Nintendo’s newest console. As long as you’re prepared for a challenge, this is a pretty fun title. Though, a level creator would definitely have added to the package, especially with the Switch’s touchscreen.
Release Date: Feb. 14, 2019
No. of Players: up to 4 players
Category: Sports, Action
A review code was provided by the publisher.
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