OlliOlli, the 2D sidescrolling platform game developed by Roll7 game, was an extremely popular game for the PlayStation Vita in 2014 and so it was inevitable in many ways that a sequel would be forthcoming. “Welcome to Olliwood” premiered in what is apparently a bit of an action packed month for the Vita, and also appeared on PlayStation Plus.
At it’s heart, OlliOlli 2 is an extremely simple game. Your main character must travel the length of the screen, avoiding obstacles, ‘grinding’ over appropriate platforms, and performing combos in mid-air. However, while the game is very simple and without much in the way of ‘frill’, the underlying challenge is extreme and there is a game of real depth here.
Graphically, the game does not much more than it needs to. There’s no attempt at the ‘pseudo-3D’ or ‘2.5D’ that some platformers have, this game is unashamedly 2D and aside from some pretty impressive parallax scrolling there is not much going on here graphically.
However, the graphics are extremely well suited to the game itself. Your skater is extremely well animated, with absolutely no drop in frame rate for those obsessed by such matters. Ledges that can be grinded are clearly marked. Obstacles and surfaces also. There is nowhere to hide in this game, what you have to do is very simple and you cannot blame the graphics on your many failures!
Similarly, the soundtrack is unexceptional but absolutely caters for the game and ‘does the job’. I cannot fault the soundtrack in this game, however it would have been nice if the developers could have taken this a step further, a compelling soundtrack would really add to the arcade action of this game. This is an extremely minor quibble however.
What really matters in this game, is the gameplay. Spoilers: if you haven’t realised already, the gameplay is stunning and extremely addictive.
At the start of the game, you are presented by five worlds, each containing a number of levels. When you get to each level you will be tasked to complete five challenges. Completing one or two challenges may open up the following level, allowing easy progress through the game. This, however, is only the start of your journey with this game.
The challenges work well to pull even me, not the most talented gamer by any means, back into the game again and again until I have collected the five stars. The thing is, they are so eminently achievable. As an example, one challenge might involve grinding certain areas, collecting some items, and then finishing. You go through the level, you know where the points are, you jump at the right time, keeping things simple, as you come off the last grind all you need to do is land, but somehow you stumble, the timing is just wrong, into an obstacle you go, and the challenge is failed. Cursing your own incompetence, you try again, and again, and again….
This is the thing with OlliOlli2, it gets the level of the challenge just right. And the controls are so responsive, so tight, the collision detection so precise that any failures are entirely down to you.
The ‘hook’, aside from the desire to complete challenges, is that when you get it right in OlliOlli 2, you really get it right. The game has introduced the ‘manual’ which you can execute by using the left stick along with ‘X’ when you land, and means that in the majority of cases it is possible, nay desirable, to combine all of your moves into one ‘super-combo’ that stretches the entire level. It is possible to generate good scores just by doing this, and executing so-called ‘perfect’ landings (achieved by pressing the button very near to the place of landing / grinding, get it right and your skateboard will glow green briefly along with a small speed boost).
Completing all of the challenges in a level will open up the ‘pro’ mode in that same level, with a further number of challenges but at a much harder level. Carrying on from this will generate even more challenge at the ‘RAD’ level, sadly beyond me (for now) but I can only believe I will get better at that game.
This is because the learning curve is handled absolutely expertly. At the start of the game (this may be different for the many who had actually played the original) you may be struggling to just land the skateboard and successfully ‘complete’ a level. Then you start adding grinds, manuals, before long you are combining the two together and then adding tricks, changing stance.. the list is endless and will last as long as your Vita controls will physically stand up to the punishment.
I cannot comment whether the game works on the Playtation TV (it does – Ed) but it would be interesting to see. It should be noted that I have tried the game on the PlayStation 4 and while the graphics and sound are obviously slightly improved on the big screen, the sense of control, and timing is very much diminished. The game ‘feels’ more unfair on PS4. This may of course be down to my incompetence, but still the Vita is the definite platform of choice for this game.
There is a huge amount of replayability here and once this game hooks you, you’ll be playing for many hours to come. Not only are the challenges seemingly endlessly replayable, there is a ‘daily grind’ available where players can compete to get the best scores in one particular course / part of a course. So if competing with others and leaderboards is your thing, OlliOlli has you covered.
I could go on about this game, but I really just want to finish this review and get back to playing it. Those challenges won’t complete themselves! All I will say is that this is a game that expertly uses the controls and form factor of the Vita to present a fantastic arcade experience that now comes free for subscribers of PlayStation Plus. You would be mad not to at least give this a go. Roll 7 have created a fantastic game.
At A Glance
- Title: OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood
- Publisher: Roll7
- System: PlayStation Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: Yes
- Cross Save: Yes
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes
- Memory Card Space Needed:306Mb