Skateboarding games have never really been my thing. While in large part it is due to my inability to grasp their controls, a little part of me likes to believe it is due to the bullying my brother inflicted on me as a child while I fumbled around desperately trying to top his ridiculously high scores in Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. So, when it came to reviewing the colourful OlliOlli World, I went in with a generous helping of trepidation. Fortunately, not only is OlliOlli World the most accessible skateboarding game I’ve ever played, but easily the greatest.
“The colourful cast of characters you’ll encounter are all instantly iconic and are brimming with charm.”
OlliOlli World’s most superficially obvious accomplishment is its visuals. While easily described as cartoonish, the world and aesthetic of OlliOlli World is intricately detailed to a staggeringly phenomenal degree. Locations are populated with an assortment of exciting backgrounds and features that greatly heighten the experience of barreling through them.
The game’s pastel colour scheme and Saturday-Morning-Cartoon-esque character designs afford it a wholesome and vibrant – dare I say – vibe. The colourful cast of characters you’ll encounter are all instantly iconic and are brimming with charm. There was a clear and conscious effort to make these exciting and memorable characters. It is safe to say that the developers more than accomplished that.
There is also an extremely detailed character customisation tool that allows you to create the skateboarder of your dreams. You can choose from a plethora of fantastically quirky clothes, accessories and hairstyles and your skin tone and body size. It is also worth appreciating and commending that it is both gender and non-binary friendly. You can wear whatever you desire without being tied down to any particular gender.
“Fortunately, the simplicity of the control scheme never impedes the thrill of skateboarding.”
Of course, gameplay is what matters most in OlliOlli World, and there’s quite a lot to unpack. Firstly, the controls and mechanics featured in OlliOlli World are by far the most accessible in any skateboarding game. With a simple flick of the left analogue stick, you’ll find yourself kick and heel flipping through the sky. The ease at which you can grasp the controls allows for continuous and smooth gameplay without frustrating interruptions.
Fortunately, the simplicity of the control scheme never impedes the thrill of skateboarding. Despite merely flicking an analogue stick you’ll still feel the exhilarating rush as you whiz through levels at top speeds pulling off sweet tricks in an impressively long combo. The basic tricks you can perform from the outset still look and feel amazing. This ensures you never feel babied due to a lack of experience.
However, should you feel encouraged to perform some harder tricks, or simply want to increase the challenge, then there is a large list of potential special moves you can do. They’re all still tied to the analogue stick, but require more complex and precise movements.
“The challenges in OlliOlli World make it a frighteningly addictive experience.”
To tie all of the phenomenal skateboarding together are levels. Throughout your time with the game, you’ll explore a series of dynamic and distinct regions that are filled with a plethora of these interesting levels. Each level has its own series of unique challenges you’ll have to complete alongside finishing the level either with or without failing.
These challenges make OlliOlli World a frighteningly addictive experience. I spent a great deal of time during my extremely lengthy playthrough trying to beat each and every additional challenge and side quest presented to me. They require a level of skill that can only be obtained through either trial and error or experience. In my case, it was the former. However, I never found finishing them an arduous or frustrating task. As the feeling I got from skating was immensely satisfying in and of itself, I didn’t mind failing and restarting the same stunning levels repeatedly.
However, the game never requires you to complete these additional challenges, and never punishes you for failing them either. Not only is it unbelievably quick to restart a level, but you’ll unlock the next one so long as you just finish it. As the difficulty stems not from the levels themselves but from both the challenges and rivals, if you want a relaxing and fun skateboarding experience, then you can absolutely find that in OlliOlli World.
“OlliOlli World offers the most polished, accessible and unique skateboarding experience available.“
Playing through OlliOlli World was a genuine delight and one I’m not finished with yet. There is so much potential for replayability, that I’ll likely continue playing it on PC before picking it up on the Nintendo Switch so I can skate in the bath. My only issue with the game is that it has to be played with a controller. So, if you were hoping to play OlliOlli World with a keyboard and mouse, as of writing this review, that is not possible.
However, I can absolutely understand why. The simplicity of the control scheme is only made possible due to the sense of feedback you receive from actively flicking an analogue stick. It just wouldn’t be possible to have as many complex moves if done through mouse and keyboard.
Fortunately, outside of this minor qualm, OlliOlli World is a truly perfect experience. Not only is it immensely fun and frankly rather addicting, but it also offers the most polished, accessible and unique skateboarding experience available. Its charm, character and masterful innovations make it a thoroughly exhilarating experience and one I simply cannot recommend enough.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the Publisher.