“…if you are a skating game fan then OlliOlli is the best franchise on the market…”
OlliOlli, the popular and critically-acclaimed side-scrolling skateboarding franchise from developer Roll7, is finally making its Nintendo Switch debut in 2019. All of the action from both 2014’s OlliOlli and 2015’s OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood has been packed into one neat and thrilling package for Switch gamers to enjoy.
Aptly entitled OlliOlli Switch Stance, the two-game combo offers over 100 levels and more than 120 tricks for fans and newcomers alike to grind their way through, as well a daily challenges and split-screen multiplayer to round out the bundle in style. It is quite an offering, and comes in at a reasonable £13.49 price tag, too. But if you have never had the pleasure of experiencing the joys of the OlliOlli games, allow me to enlighten you with the finer details.
Both games play very similarly; you control a talented skater as he flips, grabs, grinds, manuals and otherwise traverses his way through a series of fast-paced and often outlandish environments, racking up points for pulling of the most radical moves possible. Imagine the old-school Tony Hawks games but with a retro 2D look and a lot more colour and crazy packed into their aesthetic.
Whilst OlliOlli is not complex on the face of things, the pace and challenge of the gameplay should not be underestimated. Doing so will see you inevitably faceplant your way to a shoddy run; quite the opposite of what your goal should be. Each level in the game has a series of challenges to complete (again, much like the Tony Hawks games of old) and several difficulty levels at which to complete them. The most important aspect of achieving these challenges is the quality, not the quantity of your tricks. Landing a perfect trick, requiring both expert timing and execution, will merit you the greatest rewards. This means the more time you spend with OlliOlli the better your achievements will be. So, yes; it is addictive.
Controlling the game is easy; but the real skill lies in your rhythm and your growing knowledge of how each level works. As with the real deal, practice makes perfect in OlliOlli, and new players should be prepared to fail often despite a fairly easy learning curve in the beginning. If this isn’t your jam, then its best you ready yourself for some frustration before you hit your groove. Fortunately, an exhilarating soundtrack stands ready to help you get the feel for each level and hit the natural rhythm you need to become a pro.
With two full games included in the Switch Stance package, there is plenty to be getting on with if you decide that now is the time to go in on OlliOlli. The second game feels like a natural expansion upon the first, with a very similar aesthetic but with a Hollywood movie twist and added tricks to expand upon your well-learned arsenal. That being said, if the challenges posed by 100 levels are not quite enough for you, RAD mode awaits to up the ante and really throw your face into a close-up with the gravel.
I, personally, didn’t quite have the skating prowess to make it into RAD mode, but for those with the time and inclination to complete every standard challenge in the game, RAD mode is a different beast to tackle altogether. Unlike the challenges you have faced thus far, RAD mode doesn’t offer you a shopping list of tasks to complete. Instead, you will need to return to the levels that you have already completed and attempt to tackle them again; only this time you can only score a win by landing perfect combos and grinds. This means that if you ever complete a trick that is anything less than perfect, you will instantly hit the dirt and have to start over. Brutal, for sure, but perhaps a welcome and certainly an effective challenge for those gamers who embrace the obsession that OIliOlli can become and want something more intense to sink their teeth into.
Ultimately, if you are a skating game fan then OlliOlli is the best franchise on the market; especially in lieu of any quality Tony Hawk-style titles being on offer. It has pace, thrill, challenge, variety and above all the potential to take over your world for many hours at a time. The experience is bright, exhilarating and immersive, and the tasks set before you are difficult yet achievable; with a difficulty level suited to every ability and inclination of gamer. Plus, given the hefty amount of content that the Switch Stance bundle offers at a remarkably low-price tag, there is little negative to say about the emergence of the franchise on the Nintendo Switch for the first time. If OlliOlli sounds like your jam, I highly recommend taking the plunge. Just make sure you clear your diary, too!