When I was younger, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was all the rage, but since it sort of dropped off in quality as the years went by, nothing really took it’s place. I’ve known about OlliOlli for awhile, but never really gotten into it on console, as it always felt a bit more of a mobile game, so when it was announced on Switch, I was pretty happy to be giving it a try.
OlliOlli – Switch Stance comes with both the original OlliOlli and the second OlliOlli games, each of which have been enhanced for the Switch, and they play extremely well. Or to use skater lingo, they’re “sick”. The levels are so much fun, and so varied to play through as well, making the game extremely fun to play through. You’ve also got a plethora of tricks to learn – and if you forget, you can always consult your handy tricktionary to remind yourself.
Where so many other skating games have failed, OlliOlli succeeds on having the feel of a skating game. Instead of trying to be overly radical and acting as if they’re from a bygone-era, it feels like you’re just skating around the park without the ridiculous clichés that surround it. The rest of the atmosphere of the game contributes to this overall feel too. The graphics are pretty, and exceptionally well made, without being too in your face, and the music is equally pleasant, all making a terrific game.
Where OlliOlli really comes into it’s own however is the level design. There’s only so much they can do with a flatland or downhill course, but the five different challenges you have to complete and the variety of different things that are on show in each level. You’ll have to grind across every wall, railing and dinosaur that you see, as well as perform some absolutely ridiculous tricks to solidify your status as top skater. With every time you pull off a perfect trick and nail a high score, you also feel a huge sense of achievement. It’s not easy getting a completely perfect run, but when you do it your first time, you’ll be in heaven.
The skills and jumps and everything is all well and good, but there was one thing that really irritated me, especially at the start of the game. OlliOlli isn’t exactly a complex game, but there is still a learning curve, and at the start, I was basically hammering away at the O button, to continue gathering speed and perform tricks satisfactorily. This is all well and good, but when you hit the end of the level, and your muscle memory is still saying O is the only button that does anything in the game, then you’re going to have the same experience as me – getting dumped back at the title screen. I don’t think the X button actually does anything in the game, so why they couldn’t make the replay button the same button as the ‘do everything’ button in the game baffles me, and led to me turning the game off more often than not.
The Final Word
OlliOlli is good, aside from the slight pain in the backside regarding the buttons. It fits the genre well and provides players with an experience that has been somewhat absence since the demise of the Tony Hawk games. It’s obviously never going to be as immersive as those games, but it does provide an extremely fun experience nonetheless.