OlliOlli World – PS4 REVIEW – Most Gnarly
Skateboarding in video games is more open to exaggeration than other sports sims. Skateboarding is a fun virtual sport because of its speed, simplicity of the mechanics, the complexity required to master it, and a youthful counterculture spirit. While skating in real life can be dangerous, virtual skating offers all the thrills without the danger.
OlliOlli World continues the side-scrolling shredding from its predecessors OlliOlli 2 and OlliOlli 1. Welcome to Olliwood. The world maintains the action in a 2D, almost automatic-runner-like setup. You drop into a level, and you create a skater that will immediately launch forward. You will ollie, glide, wall-ride and spin your way through five different skateboarding worlds as well as a wide variety of levels. It might seem simple to call it a skateboarding platformer.
The simplicity of OlliOlli World’s game is a great thing. What if they created a whole game using the Mine Cart levels from Donkey Kong Country but with skateboards instead? It turns out that it is possible to make an entire game of the Mine Cart levels in Donkey Kong Country using skateboards.
OlliOlli World’s controls for skateboarding are intuitive and straightforward to use. Tricks can be done with one stick and grabbed with the other. To kick forward, press one button. Another button will allow you to switch lanes if you wish. The shoulder buttons can be used to perform mid-air spins. It’s easy to grasp and use, but creating your combos or chasing your high score can be challenging. Even if you are only holding a stick and waiting for the right moment to dismount, hitting a grind is always exciting and captivating.
OlliOlli World is a positive environment that transcends the soundness of its controls and feedback. Every level and area has charm and style, and it’s not just about how well they work. The characters all have a cartoony, exaggerated layout that reminds me of Adventure Time. They are all skinny, brightly coloured, and even sport ice cream hair. High scores allow you to unlock new clothing and accessories by completing specific challenges such as collecting items or grinding through whalebones in courses.
The world is more than your personality. A beachfront is home to whales and squids, while a factory brimming with grind rails can be seen teeming in steamy, clanging machinery. You feel like your board, and you are part of something larger than yourself as you speed through these areas at high speed. It’s like being a flea attached to the side of deer running through the woods. The world around you is fast, and your rate is impressive. Everything about the experience is focused, tight, and smooth.
If that last section felt a little too new-age crystals-and-astrology former-Tumblr-user for you, then buckle up for OlliOlli World’s writing. This loose story is about you training to be a Skate Wizard. With Chiffon, the current Skate wizard, you travel along with a motley crew, including an older gentleman named Dad. He is not your father, nor anyone else’s — that’s his name. OlliOlli World’s humour is charmingly preserved in the early 2000s with all the “how do I do, fellow children” energy that such an atmosphere entails. Your mileage will vary depending on how much fun you have with jokes about marijuana that are too diffused not to alert children.
OlliOlli World’s soundtrack features ambient electronic music and modern indie pop. It is perfect for mellowing out while skating through the lush landscape. The tracks play seamlessly through cutscenes, menus and actual levels. You can also skip forward and backwards by pressing the shoulder button. This very intuitive feature allows you to feel like you’re listening to your iPod while at the skatepark.
This does make every area feel a little bit the same, at least in terms of how it sounds. One radio station plays everywhere, whether you are in a forest, desert, or beach. Although it doesn’t hinder the experience, it does feel like an opportunity missed to give each level and world its unique sound and identity.