OlliOlli2 is a game of considerable highs and antagonising lows. On the one hand, perfecting an entire level in a single attempt will grant you with satisfaction only found in the toughest of games; on the other, being certain you landed a grind which the game decided to disallow results in nothing but contempt and frustration.
Choosing to ignore anything resembling a plot, OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood focuses instead on fast-paced gameplay. Though sharing skateboards with its contemporaries such as the Tony Hawk series or EA’s Skate, OlliOlli2 delivers its skating in a much more condensed, high-score, 2D stlye. The controls do mimic the aforementioned Skate games in a way, however, as almost all of your points will be achieved by moving the left stick in specific directions in order to pull off a whole plethora of tricks. Each track can be finished in about a minute, and doing so with a continuous combo will grant you literally hundreds of thousands of points. However, make one mistake or falter with your timing, and your combo will result in nothing…or worse, you may come tumbling down a set of digital stairs. In a way, this mimics the rapid gameplay found in brilliant indie-title Hotline Miami, though where that game had you persevering through the many failures, OlliOlli2 instead has you blaming the game for you faults.
Now, to be fair, this isn’t always the case. Once you learn how to manual by pulling back on the left stick and pressing X, you’re able to complete an entire level in a single, dizzying combo. This combo will no doubt be filled with flips, grinds and other things I have no chance of doing in real life, and pulling all of this off is a fantastical feat. The problems arise when the game seems to shift the metaphorical goal posts, however. The timing required for one manual may not feel like the same required for another, which will result in your immediate failure. Although this may not be the case, the fact that the game is so precise in its timings means that it certainly feels like it’s no fault of your own. And, unfortunately, I’m not the only person to think this. Due to OlliOlli2 being one of this month’s PS+ titles for Playstation 4 owners, many of my friends decided to try it out, and all of them agreed that the timings felt a little bit skewed throughout their play time.
If you can ignore the unattainable perfection needed, OlliOlli2 has a ton of content waiting for you to try. The game boasts 50 normal and pro levels to try – each of which has 5 individual achievements to secure (though many revolve around high-scores and combos). On top of this, there’s an infamously difficult ‘Rad’ mode, as well as 50 level-spots (which are essentially levels that track your accumulative score), as well as a Daily Grind which presents you with a level and challenges you to achieve a high-score in a single run, which will then be submitted to the daily leaderboards. In order to learn all of the necessary tricks, the game also features a handy Skatepark option which will let you hone your skills. And if you’re a perfectionist, you’ll also be able to browse the in-game ‘Tricktionary’ and see which stunts you’re yet to complete.
In terms of aesthetics, OlliOlli2 is charming, but nothing too spectacular. The graphics are adequate and present everything in a crisp, cartoon-like style, but don’t stand out as revolutionary. The soundtrack which will accompany your many attempts is an enjoyable, funky synthesised compilation, but it’s so limited that you’ll have heard every song many times over by the end. The game tries to combat this by unlocking a new song whenever you reach a new area, but things gradually become stale.
Though OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood is a solid game which is well-worth your time, I wanted to enjoy it far more than I did. The hundreds of challenges within the levels mean that you’ll be coming back to try and win them all, but the initial difficulty and timing required may put you off before you even begin. It’s a game which is definitely worth checking out, but one which will divide the hardcore, trophy-hunting elite from everybody else (myself included).
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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