Growing up in the 90s, I was surrounded by skateboard culture. Even though I was never an expert at the sport myself, I have many friends that were. I spent countless hours watching people far better than I would ever be at the park, showing off what they could do. This is the mindset I came to OlliOlli World with, bringing an open mind and a fondness for skating. Now, having played a segment of the game, I wish I was young enough to pick the board back up and hit the ramps.
Crafted by Roll7, the people behind the previous OlliOlli games, OlliOlli World transports you to the island of Radlandia. From the way the world is laid out to the way people talk, you will quickly feel one with the culture as you traverse the many places made for skateboarding. The colourful landscape and friendly feel of the game gives you the motivation to take on every challenge the game puts in your path, giving you many opportunities to find your route though each area.
Before I go onto the gameplay, I have to take a moment to comment on the world and the style Roll7 has built for the game. While the past few OlliOlli games relied on a pixel-art style, OlliOlli World is a much more colourful affair. The people in this universe feel somewhere between Adventure Time and Tony Hawk, filled with a sense of wonder and excitement, but also feeling straight out of the 90s with all its lingo and humour. It is new, exciting, and just plain fun to explore. OlliOlli World feels like you are skating though a Cartoon Network show, and that is just astounding.
“While the past few OlliOlli games relied on a pixel-art style, OlliOlli World is a much more colourful affair. “
The storyline of OlliOlli World is the right level of ridiculous to make it fun and engaging. Built by the skateboard gods, Radlandia is built for skating. With four distinct worlds, each built by their respective gods, there is a wide variety of challenges awaiting anyone who wishes to try their hand at the sport. But with that love comes a need for someone that can bridge the gap between the gods and the population. This is the Skateboard Wizard. The current one is aging, and soon to retire, so someone new must step up and fill the shoes, and this could be you.
The gameplay brings the challenge of the OlliOlli series with enough forgiveness to never make any new obstacle impossible. Roll7 are known for the challenging games they have built, but they have done things right in this instalment. No longer does the challenge feel like the Dark Souls of skateboarding, giving enough checkpoints, alternative routes and easy to understand controls to let anyone jump in, experience, and make headway through the many levels the game offers.
The controls are simple and easy to understand, using the DualSense controller well, making even the most complex series of tricks something you can do once you sort out the timing and different level cues. Being someone who has had very limited skateboard game experience in the past few years, I was worried about jumping in and making a dent in the world, but even after a few levels, I was finding that combos and complex levels were possible and exhilarating when I did achieve them.
“From the grind to the Olli, you will need to master all the skills to be able to progress through the levels.”
The levels give a wide range of challenge, all focused on different skateboard tricks. From the grind to the Olli, you will need to master all the skills to be able to progress through the levels. The levels are deceptively challenging. While everything feels like a cartoon, as you pick up speed and need to make jumps, grinds, and tricks, all while picking the perfect path in the 2.5D landscape, it gets challenging very quickly.
Thankfully, the checkpoint system keeps the action flowing. While you will wipe out a lot, you are never more than a button push from starting back up and trying again. There is no load, so you have no time to wait to stress about the missed jump, or the ramp you did not nail. Roll7 keeps you in the action, and pushes you step by step though the finish line.
There is a lot to love in OlliOlli World, and even with the time I have spent on the preview build, I am already seeing myself losing countless hours in the game. With the pick-up and play style, and levels only taking a few minutes to complete, this is a game that will quickly become your go-to time waster just to de-stress after a long day. With brilliant design, colourful characters and a simple playstyle, I am excited when the game finally releases on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC this February.