Skateboarding video games have made a comeback over the past few years – with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater returning to the spotlight in 2020 and EA’s Skate series also set for a return in the future. There have been some smaller indie efforts as well, like Skater XL, Session and Skatebird.
Developer Roll7 has seized the moment – using it as an opportunity to revive its own side-scrolling take on the genre, OlliOlli. This lesser-known skateboarding series focused on tricks, combo mastery and repeating your Point A to B run (until you nail it, or at least die trying) began life in 2014 and received a sequel the following year. Now, roughly seven years on, the latest entry has arrived - OlliOlli World.
If you are returning player, the visuals are what you’ll immediately notice. Instead of 2D pixel art like the first two games, World is set on a 2.5D plane. Then there’s the salmon colour palette that seems to channel the style of animated series like Adventure Time – with characters to match. The changes don’t stop there, either. While the mechanics feel familiar – including increasingly difficult levels, there’s now a story, too. In short, you’ll travel across the vibrant world of ‘Radlandia’ (filled with five biomes) discovering the mystical skate gods on your quest for Gnarvana.
Beyond this, the newest entry takes a leap of faith – introducing various things to keep the experience fresh. For example, there’s now an in-depth character creator – allowing all sorts of customisation, and the new 2.5D visuals see the implementation of branching paths that vary in difficulty and even vert ramps that can send your board in the opposite direction.
The primary goal remains the same though - and that is to make it through the level in one piece. Alternatively, you could be competing against the global multiplayer leaderboards. While World is still challenging, this new version aims to be more fun and accessible. Regular checkpoints make runs less painful and there are now cool cosmetic rewards dished out for completing main and side objectives. Adding to this is a fleshed-out tutorial – teaching the basics like flips and grinding to more advanced tricks such as wall rides and manuals, which should definitely help newcomers or anyone who needs a refresher course.
Although World has been designed to be more accessible – it can still be pretty ruthless. Even hardened veterans may find themselves losing their sense of flow from time to time. More lengthy runs and tricky combos can sometimes become overwhelming – with your brain melting to mush when it can’t compute everything that’s happening on-screen.
In most cases though, you should know what you’re signing up for here – this is an addictive but challenging 2.5D skateboarding game. The story and characters gel the colourful levels together, and the avatar customisation and unlocks add personality. One other thing that will keep you coming back is post-codes – these generate levels for you to play on, and you can share them with other players. Simply put, OlliOlli's newest entry is god-tier, and places it up there with the best skateboarding games on the market.