OlliOlli (Wii U) Review

By Lex Firth 09.03.2015

Review for OlliOlli on Wii U

Skateboarding may not be the most popular sport but it certainly made its mark on gaming in the early 2000s, thanks primarily to Neversoft's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. The hit simulator went on to spawn a number of sequels and even clones based on Disney properties and The Simpsons, but the series unfortunately ended up grinding (ha!) to a halt after a number of poorly-received releases featuring cumbersome peripherals. While new entries have been promised, developer Roll7 took matters into its own hands with 2D board 'em-up OlliOlli and saw tremendous success on Sony consoles in 2014. Now it comes to the Wii U eShop, and retains its charm.

A transition to the second dimension may mean that the scope for exploration and free-roaming (for which games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater were revered) has diminished, but there's plenty of joy to be found in OlliOlli's simplicity. There are fifty levels here and each is, in its most basic form, an auto-runner akin to Jetpack Joyride. The player's aim is simply to pull off a series of insane tricks and grinds on the way to the goal - and, of course, to avoid wiping out.

That's easier than it sounds to begin with. A solid tutorial at the start of the game ensures that the basics are made clear, but there's a certain art to OlliOlli's mechanics and it can be slightly difficult to get to grips with the timing. Once the player has that down pat and things start to become a little easier, the game is quick to ramp up the difficulty with a host of challenges in order to liven up the experience.

Screenshot for OlliOlli on Wii U

There are five of these challenges in each level, and completing them unlocks significantly more challenging "Pro" levels. Combined with additional Grind Spots, a competitive "Daily Grind" that sees players try and pull off the longest and most complex grinds, and even an unlockable super-hard mode, there's a deceptively large amount of content here to ensure that it takes a long time for players to get… board (ha!). The only thing really missing is an endless mode to keep high score chasers occupied long after completing everything on offer.

The action takes place over a number of stages, heading from the suburbs to a junkyard and ending up in a Soviet army base and even a ridiculous interpretation of Japan filled with dinosaurs. Perhaps OlliOlli's greatest pitfall is that it holds back a little too much; there are signs of madcap brilliance in the wacky settings, but the game's minimalism prevents things from going much further. The pixel art style looks great in HD (albeit perhaps a little worn out on the indie scene by now) and the soundtrack is a fantastic selection, but it can sometimes lack personality that would have been far more apparent with features such as character and board creation, or a real career mode.

Inconsistencies in its presentation aside, OlliOlli is a fantastic indie gem that should not be passed up. It's challenging without becoming frustrating, its trick system is deep (aided by the GamePad, which provides a handy "Tricktionary" to consult mid-skate), and has a sublime soundtrack to boot. This isn't one that should only be picked up by skaters: Roll7 has produced an addictive, rich, and above all fun game that deserves to be enjoyed by everyone.

Screenshot for OlliOlli on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Comparisons with games like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater may be unavoidable, but they are certainly misplaced: OlliOlli is a great game on its own merits. There's a lot to see and do here, especially for those with the skill and patience to aim for the highest scores, and it's an experience that comes highly recommended to all Wii U owners.

Developer

Roll7

Publisher

Curve Digital

Genre

Sport

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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