OlliOlli World Review — Half-Pipe Heaven

It’s easy to drop an hour or two into OlliOlli World without even realizing it. Send your cartoony character careening down one of its brightly colored 2.5D skateboarding courses and you might find yourself trying again and again to nail a tough jump, or discover the right pathway to slip into a background portion of the level and unveil new secrets. It’s a game that invites you in with catchy music and a lighthearted art style, but can quickly make time evaporate as you fight to complete one last challenge, hit one last high score, or beat one last rival.

The balance between chill and intense, between losing yourself in the skating flow and feeling like you need to check off every challenge the game can throw at you, is a precarious one. What makes OlliOlli World so good is that it manages to nail that balance, providing a bunch of different experiences even on the same course. You can take the more carefree approach, nailing tricks here and there and just enjoying the ride, since merely getting to the end of a level allows you to advance to the next. Or, you can make the game feel as hardcore as its predecessors, the often-punishing 2D arcade skaters OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood. Developer Roll7’s top-flight level design makes this a game that supports a variety of approaches to playing it, improving on the things that were fun about the earlier games in the franchise, while opening up the formula to new ideas.

In the past, OlliOlli games have tried to focus on the technical difficulty of skateboarding, translating that into button movements on a controller that require precise actions and timing. OlliOlli World, somewhat mercifully, pulls back those demands. As in the series’ earlier games, tricks are performed by moving your controller’s left analog stick in specific ways, not too unlike the special moves of a fighting game. As your tricks get more advanced, they also become more complex, with grinds also requiring you to push the left analog stick, grabs added to the right stick, and spins on the shoulder buttons.

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