Published on January 28th, 2014 | by Don Parsons1
Olli Olli Review
Summary: Olli Olli is going to prepare a new generation of virtual skateboarders, like Tony Hawk's Pro Skater did decades ago.
Growing up, I had a fascination with skateboarding. Despite being terrible at it, and never really being able to do even the simpler tricks, I found a great outlet for this “hobby” of mine: skateboarding games. First there was 720* on the NES. Then came the game that revolutionized the sub-genre: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. After that series grew stale, I moved on, and my relationship with skateboarding came to an end. I tried other skateboarding games, like Skate 2, but nothing could recapture the magic I had when I was a teenager who could skateboard (virtually) like a pro.
Olli Olli on the Playstation Vita, Roll7’s latest skateboarding release caters very much to the older crowd. Guys in their 30s, who remember arcades and funny haircuts from their childhood, will feel right at home. The most obvious reason is the aesthetics, which are clearly taken straight from arcade games of the 80s. While it’s doubtful a game back then could run this smooth and crisp, there’s no denying that Olli Olli would look right at home in an arcade cabinet next to games such as 720*, Spy Hunter, or Gauntlet. Olli Olli has the retro look hammered down perfectly.
Skating through the tutorial is the most frustrating part, but only because I took a little bit more time than anticipated to get the rhythm of the controls ironed out. Most of Olli Olli is played with only the left analog stick and the X button. While skating through the level, each one progressively more devious than the last, all I had to do was push (and sometimes hold) the analog stick in a direction to prep for a trick, rotate the stick to modify said-trick into something else, and release. The skater on screen does whatever trick I inputed, and at that point, I just had to tap X to land or push the analog stick again to start grinding if possible. At first, it all feels overly complicated and frustrating. That is, until it clicks. Once that happened, I felt like I had warped back in time to my golden years as a pro virtual-skateboarder.
Each of the career levels are designed with five objectives. Once I earned all five, I unlocked the pro version of that level. Oh, and I obsessively played each level over and over until I earned all of the objectives, too. There was something inherently addicting about trying to achieve all five stars. Some levels, even though the layout was more complicated than the last, had easier objectives to achieve. I specifically remember sitting in bed, playing one particular level for over an hour (each level should last a minute or less, for a reference point) just to clear the level without grinding and achieving a score of 10,000 points. When I did earn that star, though, I beamed and showed my wife as I was very proud of that moment. Sadly, she wasn’t amused.
For leaderboard skaters, there’s a daily challenge which can only be completed once. I could practice over and over, but when it came time to post my score, I had one run, and I had to hope I didn’t choke. It’s fun to compete, but the single thing Olli Olli is missing is a leaderboard for just friends. I don’t personally care how I rank amongst the world. But if I had friends playing, I’d certainly like to boast and brag about beating their scores even if just on the main levels.
Olli Olli tugs at this old man’s heart and rekindles a love I once had for both arcade games and skateboarding games. Roll7 has successfully recaptured the magic spark of this sub-genre and provided another exclusive reason to have a Playstation Vita.
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