I played a lot of skateboarding games growing up, especially on the SEGA Dreamcast and original Xbox when Tony Hawk reigned supreme. I remember the Tony Hawk series being incredibly fun mainly because of the sheer amount of insane tricks you could pull off, even if it wasn’t completely realistic. Of course once I moved on to an Xbox 360, the fun just wasn’t quite there anymore. Sure there were realistic games like EA’s SKATE series, but those were far too sim-like to be fun. It wasn’t until I picked up a PS Vita last year that my love for skateboarding games returned thanks to a fantastic little indie title from developer Roll7 called, OlliOlli.
OlliOlli differed from other skateboarding games in the past in that it didn’t go the 3D route to look realistic. Instead, the developers chose to give it a retro, pixelated 2D look with an emphasis on gameplay. This made for a decisively fun game that was seriously hard to put down. Building on an already solid platform, Roll7 didn’t just rest on their laurels and has now released OlliOlli 2, the followup to an already amazing game. Does the sequel live up to the greatness of the first? Read on to find out.
The first thing you’ll notice about the game is the difference in art style compared to the original OlliOlli. Roll7 went a slightly different route with the graphics in OlliOlli 2, though it still recognizable as an OlliOlli game. The art style is a lot less “retro” with less of an emphasis on “pixel art”. Instead, your skater has more detail than in the previous game and you can really see the differentiation in each move. The level designs are also much different with a more vector art style to it. This gives the visuals a much crisper feel, more defined than anything pixel art could accomplish. I dare say the new art style actually looks much better than in the previous game and really gives the game a new dimension. The game just looks prettier and the visuals seem to make the game much more precise.
As great as the visuals look this time around, the soundtrack in this game is equally as impressive. There is a lot more music this time around with an extended soundtrack, including artists, Cid Rim, Lone, Faulty DL, Submerse and Mike Slott. The music is very good and again and goes well with the fast paced nature of this game.
Like the previous game, OlliOlli 2 shares a similar control scheme. Players of the original will have absolutely no trouble jumping right into this one. For those who’ve never played before, the controls will take a bit of getting used to. The left thumbstick is used for jumping, creating tricks, and landing grinds and when combined with the left and right bumpers, you’ll be able to pull off some pretty sick tricks. The bumpers themselves are used for rotation. What makes this game a tiny bit more difficult is that you also have to tap X to land your tricks and jumps. So if you’re keeping score, you have to keep your left thumb on the thumbstick at all times, as well as your index fingers for the bumpers and your right thumb on the X button. Trying to do all this at the same time can be a chore and takes lots of practice before you can really master this game, and that’s okay with me.
If I were you, I highly suggest going through the tutorial mode. It’s pretty basic, but it will teach you most of what you need to know to get started, mainly all the important stuff and will at least get you accustomed to the control scheme. Once you do learn how to play, it becomes second nature and you’ll be pulling off crazy grinds, grabs, and kick flips like a pro.
Also like the original is the inclusion of mini challenges for each level. There are 5 challenges per level that serve as markers for fully completing each. Of course the real purpose of these is that upon completing a set of challenges, Pro mode will be unlocked which also has it’s own set of challenges. These challenges are by no means easy, but I do love me a good challenge.
One of the biggest changes to the game is the addition of manuals. You are now able to pull off manuals in order to string together an insane number of combos. Your combos are no longer limited to just rail grinds and air moves. You can now perform manuals as part of the combo and string together a group of jumps and grinds. This really changes the game and opens up a whole new level of play where it’s now possible to combo an entire stage if you’re that good.
Another noticeable change that doesn’t affect gameplay, but is more of a user interface thing is that the whole UI is now controlled via button presses. In the first game on the PS Vita, all menu selections were done via the touchscreen. It wasn’t a bad interface, but you had to move your hand position to make use of it. The new game does all this via regular controls so it makes moving through the menus much quicker. It’s a nice little change that makes moving through the game much more enjoyable.
OlliOlli 2 wouldn’t be a proper sequel if Roll7 didn’t add more game modes. Obviously there is your traditional career mode where you start off playing through the amateur levels and progress to pro levels when you complete challenges. If you’re good enough to complete the pro challenges, you are awarded with rad levels which are even more challenging.
Along with career mode, the Daily Grind mode is back which resets itself every 24 hours. This mode allows you to play 1 surprise course daily to see who in the world can get the highest score. There are no do-overs in this mode. You only get once chance to impress. You can however practice before doing the level for your real score.
What’s new this time around is a mode called Spots, in which you unlock a trick spot as you play. These trick spots allow you to try and pull out 1 continuous trick to see who has the highest score. It’s similar to the daily grind but its shorter and you can do these levels over. There’s also a new Skatepark mode, but these are really just tutorials that teach you how to play.
When I heard OlliOlli 2 was coming out, I though it was just going to the same old OlliOlli but with new levels. Never did I imagine that they would actually make an already great game even better, which is what they did with OlliOlli 2. This new game is an evolution of the first one thanks to improved art, improved gameplay, and just more of what I loved about the original. Roll7 really did a bang up job with this game making it one of the best skateboarding games post-Tony Hawk. If you had fun with the original, it’s a no brainer that you should pick up this followup game as it really is that good.
Review code provided to us by the publisher/developer.