OlliOlli, developed by Roll7 and published by Curve Digital on the 3DS, is a side scrolling skateboarding game that challenges your thumbs and your brain. While I would like to say that it uses both of those features in equal amounts, it is clear that my thumbs gave out much sooner. Whilst the control scheme of OlliOlli is simple because it only utilizes the “A” button, shoulder buttons and the left direction stick, and the majority of the controls involve pulling off stunts with the left stick and using the “A” button to land; how do the simple controls relate to the overall difficulty of the game?
As I mentioned prior, my thumbs became rather sore as their usage is required frequently. The game is all about combos and timing. As a skateboarder there are a myriad of stunts available for you to utilize, from some of the more basics such as olli’s and grinding, to some of the more elaborate stunts like a Varial Heelflip and a Frontside 360 Shove-it. The wide range of stunts that are at your disposal help enable you to feel as some of the best skateboarders around, and after chaining together a couple dozen combos, you can’t but help to feel accomplished. Getting the moves right is not all that is important however, landing incorrectly can completely nullify your amazing combo and reset your score back down to zero. Crashing is an instant fail and will force you to restart the level.
Getting a high score is the main goal here, but the path is also littered with additional challenges. There are five per level and once you have completed them you will unlock an even harder version of that level. The game is technically sound and achieving or missing the combos is all up to the skill of the player. The game has a sense of rhythm and missing an olli is immediately realized when you face plant into the ground. The ongoing tumbles that incur are laughable, but also useful to show you the rest of the level that you hadn’t yet gotten to.
The campaign is quite lengthy and can become repetitive at times since the level design is never too varied. To mix things up a bit there are daily score challenges that encourage players to practice on a specific level until they get it down perfectly. Practicing is indefinite and once you actually go to play it for the challenge, you only get one go at the high score. If you beat the rest of the world you will find yourself at the top of the leaderboards for all to see. Spot challenges are single levels where your one goal is getting the highest combo run that you can. Once you land on the ground the challenge is done.
Ultimately, Olli Ollie is a great game that handles the skateboarding mechanics very well and encourages players to practice ever so much to get a new high score. It does it beautifully, but that is about all it does. Once you get through the meaty campaign, there is not too much to bring you back except for the daily score challenges. Those alone will surely keep the hardcore fans back for more, day after day, but thankfully there is a sequel that’s just released and I am eager to sink my teeth into it to see if Roll7 can improve on their already stellar product.
A review copy of OlliOlli for the Nintendo 3DS was provided by Curve Digital.