OlliOlli World is cool. I mean really cool. Radical, excellent and all the 90s words that signify that it is incredibly cool. OlliOlli World, as with its predecessors, makes me feel like I can skate, evoking a sense that I want to be out there on a board tearing up the street. It’s also familiar, taking the OlliOlli formula and refining it. With a change from 2D to 3D bringing a fresh perspective from Developers Roll7.
From the start, OlliOlli World pulls you in. Its cool new aesthetic and toned-down lo-fi beats ease players into the universe through the character creation. It’s a very clever move allowing players to be more invested with their own character whilst welcoming them into the new world of Radlandia. Radlandia is a skater’s paradise, a set of areas watched over by the skate gods and made for skating. This distinctive sense of place proliferates across the entire game. Each level presents a well constructed world made for skating through. The change from the pixel art of the first two games to an ‘Adventure Time’ cartoon style works really well for the type of game it is and fits the tone of the world excellently. The same writing could have been used with pixel art but its impact with this style is felt in the characters and across the world. This change elevates OlliOlli World to have its own unique style, and a style the developers can play with as new games in the franchise emerge. There’s a sense that the art team were able to just have fun and it’s a reminder of the types of characters and floaty sketches many interested in art would have drawn in their teens and early twenties. Each area of Radlandia has its own aesthetic, from pink pastel colours of the beachfront and natural greens and browns of the woods to grays and purples of the industrial areas. There are infinite combinations that this new style could bring in the future.
With Radlandia being built as a skater’s paradise, levels flow well. It’s built for both new players to the series and pros alike. Great care has been taken to craft runs for those slowly getting into the control scheme and those looking to master everything. The difficulty ramp is there too for people looking for it, even in the early levels. For those new, or those who haven’t played an OlliOlli game for 7 years, OlliOlli World constantly teaches you and helps you along. Progressing through the levels brings new tricks and techniques to use everywhere. And there are lots of places to go back and apply them. Grind rails, ramps and billboards for wall rides sit well within both the man-made and natural structures of Radlandia. Manuals, grind switches and late tricks taught to keep trick sets going. Knowing a route through each level is key to a high score but just a natural feel for what’s coming can still get you a high score. It feels incredibly satisfying when you hit that run right, combining tricks, grabs, grinds, rotations and manuals running a level in one or two combos.
OlliOlli World is kind in not giving players anything other than completing the level to allow progression to the next. Players don’t have to repeat levels over and over, hitting goals to move on. It makes progress accessible and an easy way to help players improve. This constant progress leads through the world to later tutorial levels and more advanced techniques, naturally helping players improve their own skills. For those who want it, the levels do have a set of goals. These have a huge range from only doing a couple of grinds on a run, to hitting or avoiding animals that sit on the track. These can seem a little hard at first, having to time things to perfection in some cases but the challenge is there. As well as the story levels there are side missions too, these are presented and unlocked by meeting characters on the normal levels. Side missions provide more to do but can feel a little boring in some of their challenges. This is almost the only negative about the game but they can be easily ignored for those not wanting to 100% it.
The only other criticism of OlliOlli World is technical. Before beginning each run the characters will have a chat, laying out the reason for being there, providing exposition or listing the challenges for the level. When the text appears above a character their motion becomes a little stilted. Their movement looks a little robotic. It is off-putting but doesn’t affect play in any way. This could be a limitation of playing on the PS4 and is forgivable in being the only noticeable issue.
Accompanying the new aesthetic of the world and the smooth skating is the soundtrack which is lo-fi mastery. The music is Incredibly chill which helps tone down the occasional quick timing of some of the sections. The tracks are Lo-fi jams, not just beats, with a funk infusion that gets the body moving. The music repeats a little too often in the early game but more music is unlocked through naturally progressing. There is a slight disconnect at times between some of the music and the play but it is just that, slight. It doesn’t affect play and it doesn’t take players out of the mindset needed for big runs.
On a final note, the mode that’s had me coming back daily is the league. A ranked and randomly seeded daily course where 10 players compete for the highest score. I’ve jumped into the main levels to go back and complete challenges or try to beat the set scores but that competition of the league is compelling. The more time played the better players will get and the quicker they’ll get through the ranks and go up against harder competition. The moniker of the game, ‘World’ truly gives that feeling of bringing players together to compete. This want to go back into the world and play the competition also entices a player back in to try those harder challenges or to beat high scores on the set world levels.
OlliOlli World is a fantastic game, not just as a skating game competing with the likes of Tony Hawk’s, Skate, or even the fun small experience of The Ramp but against everything releasing this year. It’s a packed February but OlliOlli World is worth everyone’s time. It has a unique aesthetic, provides a good ramp up in skill, and with a puzzle-like approach in performing a run and that quick reset to begin again everyone can find something here.
Should you play it? Absolutely
Why… It’s a fun game for beginners and pro skaters alike with ultra smooth skating controls. At times like a grand puzzle to play through with plenty of challenges and an online league to keep you coming back.
But… If the want to keep pushing yourself to improve on scores and get better isn’t there then you might not get much out of it.
Reviewed on PlayStation 4
Publisher: Private Division
Playable on: PS4/PS5/Xbox/Switch/PC
Released: 8th February, 2022
Review code provided by Private Division via Bastion
Review edited by Adam Thomas