OlliOlli PS Vita Review
It’s only days into the new year and the PS Vita already has whats sure to be one of its top games of 2014. OlliOlli comes by way of developer Roll7 and looks to bolster the Vita’s library of indie titles in a meaningful way. Finding a way to revitalize the runner isn’t exactly an easy thing to do, but that’s what makes OlliOlli special.
OlliOlli delivers a wonderful blend of the endless runner genre and a fully functional skateboarding game. Considering you only have one chance to make the finish line each session, tension quickly ensues when you begin racking up a decent score. The quest for high-score perfection is devilishly addictive, and in some cases, just making your way to the finish line is a triumph all its own.
OlliOlli is a wonderful attack on your senses. The controls couldn’t be more ideal for the PS Vita, but there’s plenty of subtle nuances that separate a novice from a master. Saying that the controls are spot-on feels like a bit of an understatement. I found them to be nothing short of incredibly responsive. The subtlety of OlliOlli is comparable to a semi-skilled cartoonist becoming a virtuoso. At first, your runs are passable at best, but in time they become exceedingly more impressive. Soon after picking up the game you’ll be stringing together an endless stream of kickflips, shove-it’s, heelflips, and grinds and capping it all off with a pro landing. Much like cartooning, In time your old runs won’t look as amazing as they once did.
Once you get the hang of the core mechanics, you’ll start to have a ton of fun. That’s not to say it isn’t fun failing; because it is. Watching my poor skater jettison off his board, down several flights of stairs, the occasional trash pile, and land with a horrifying thud on the concrete was hilarious. Your most basic necessity lies in surviving the run, but the fun is in the tricks. OlliOlli constantly tempts you to push the envelope. Make no mistake, you’ll be severely punished if you fail, but your boldness is handsomely rewarded if you succeed. It’s insanely gratifying to end a level on one never-ending trick. Don’t forget you’ll thereafter be referred to as a ninja.
At first glance, OlliOlli’s hand-drawn pixel art is great to look at, but again the elusive refinement is what makes them so great. Animations are surprisingly detailed. Each trick, landing, and spill comes to life in its own way. You’ll experience a handful of “spots” or settings throughout your time with the game. Each is distinct with varying backgrounds and color palettes. It really is a great looking game.
Earlier I mentioned the painful spills you’ll encounter on a regular basis; they sound as bad as they look. The flick of the board, the grind of the tucks, and the roll of the wheels, they all sound true to life. A fantastic soundtrack with hand-picked tracks from Qemists, Dorian Concept and Flako adds to the fun.
I feel compelled to note the rare software crashes I experienced. Their occurrence was seemingly as random as a purple dinosaur.
Going into OlliOlli I didn’t know what to expect. I’m not a huge fan the endless runner genre, so I was going in on word of mouth alone. It doesn’t hurt that the mouth was SCEE‘s Shahid Ahmad, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to enjoy it nearly as much as he did. The fast-paced gameplay will keep you on your toes, but the responsive controls, awesome tricks, great looking art, and wonderful soundtrack make OlliOlli a real treat. Add an enormous dash of replayability, four game modes, including the “Daily Grind” that pits the community against one another every 24 hours, and OlliOlli emerges as a must have for any Vita owner.
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