Developed By: Roll7
Published By: Private Division
Platforms: PlayStation 4 & 5 / Xbox One X, Series S & X / Nintendo Switch / PC
Reviewed On: PS5
Review Copy Provided By Private Division
I remember first hearing about OlliOlli a couple of years back when it came out for the PlayStation Vita. It received some solid reviews and was making quite a buzz. It got my attention because I just needed to play something on the Vita and it had been a while since I played a skateboarding game, the last was probably back on the PS2 with the Tony Hawk series and we all know how that series turned out. Admittedly I didn’t get to play OlliOlli back then and that was not because it wasn’t a good game but being able to purchase a game was still a luxury for me in monetary terms, so I had to make the hard decision.
Sometimes in life, some situations come full circle, and this is one of those that I am glad did. When Private Division reached out to us I just knew we had to jump on that chance. A couple of weeks back I put out my impressions of the preview event but what I couldn’t reveal was how I had been playing the full game all along. After spending a significant amount of time playing it, OlliOlli World is going to be one of my favourite games that came out this year.
The Scoop Special
You, the player are the chosen one so Chiffon and her crew are there to help you realize your endless potential in replacing her to become the next skate wizard of Radlandia. Your small but loveable crew consists of Suze who will document your journey, Mike who hypes you up and challenges you, and Dad (still not your real dad) who is in charge of merchandising and making sure you skate in style.
I know that in games such as these one would not expect a deep and engaging story, but I appreciated how OlliOlli World was just content with knowing what it is and letting me, the player, have an almost effortless feeling experience. All the characters were likeable and never feel like they were shoehorned in or overstayed their welcome. It was always very quick and breezy. I enjoyed the journey from start to end and even really loved how there was even a post-credit update on how each of the characters ended up.
The OlliOlli series has undergone an amazing visual transformation and it really shows from the get-go. The 2D aesthetics from the first two games has been replaced by the gorgeous 3D art style that just pops. From unique character models to environments that range among beaches, forests and deserts, it all is just so pleasing to the eye. You don’t have to have a AAA budget to create beautiful games and this is truly one of those games. I also quite liked how the animations for certain segments of the game have their own identity. When you are on a level just skating, grinding, spinning and doing tricks and it all flows so smoothly. Characters in the in-game cutscenes however move in an almost stop motion manner and as I mentioned in my preview felt jarring to me because I didn’t know if it was intentional or not. I appreciated how the devs did reach out to confirm it was intentional and I think just knowing that removed any reservations I might have had about it.
Now as much as I was impressed with the vibrant visuals in this game, the soundtrack is an absolute banger. As soon as I first heard some of the tracks in this game they just instantly needed to be on my daily playlist with two of my favourites being Arps by Nikitch and Panoramas by Woodwire. The reason why I am immensely impressed with the soundtrack was that I started to realize that at any level in the game I was always just very aware of it in the background while doing everything else. It never faded away and to me, that is what a great soundtrack does.
On the PS5 the performance for OlliOlli World was also flawless. Loading times were very quick and seamless and the game itself was very polished. There were no graphical glitches, slowdowns, crashes and the controls were very tight and responsive at all times. I also loved how there were DualSense features that were fully taken advantage of with the speaker making a subtle but very effective contribution together with the haptic feedback to make the experience an incredibly immersive one.
Radlandia is divided into five major areas that are Sunshine Valley, Cloverbrook, Burnt Rock, Sketchside, and Los Vulgas. The goal of the game is to meet the five skate gods and reach skate heaven or Gnarvana. If you haven’t guessed it already, successfully completing each area will put you in contact with a skate god and bring you one step closer to Gnarvana.
There are 60+ levels throughout your journey including side quest and tutorial levels and one of the things I really liked was how the tutorials are not entirely front-loaded. I never felt like it was all dumped on my lap and it’s up to me to figure it out. Even in later stages, there was still some room to push in a tutorial to further expand on the things you can do with your skateboard. That is very important because each level presents players with a base goal of just completing the level regardless of what score you get to advance which will be a very important point that I will come back to. There are additional goals that players can also attempt to complete like beating a rival or local hero’s score and completing Mike’s Challenges which can consist of things like landing four different tricks or avoiding any items that are littered throughout the level. These additional challenges will reward new cosmetic customization options for players who might want to change up their character’s look.
I greatly appreciated how I can progress in this game by just completing a level successfully. There are many similar games in which the players are intentionally gated from progression unless a certain objective or score is achieved which for some players can be just too daunting. The message I got from the devs playing OlliOlli World is I can do all of these things, but I don’t have to if I don’t want to. What matters is I play the game how I want to according to my skill level and enjoyment.
Why this was important to me is because that very freedom afforded to me gives me the motivation to want to learn to play the game better at a higher skill level. As accessible as this game is, the skill level for what can be achieved is also incredibly high. The reason why I say that is because there was a challenging course that I managed to get through with a score of 50K only to see that the highest score I needed to have to beat a local hero was 1.2M. That blew my mind that wow I could just be doing so much more to achieve that and just motivated me further without me ever feeling pressured to. I really am very much looking forward to seeing how other players do their runs and create their perfect flows in each level and the insane skill level that will most definitely be on display.
Aside from trying to master and dominate levels, there is also added replayability value that the devs have inserted into OlliOlli World. The first would be Radysus’ Challenges that are included in every level after finishing the game, the Gnarvana League and Gnarvana Portal.
Radysus’ Challenges are like the aforementioned Mike’s Challenges where players are required to complete the task assigned. The Gnarvana League is a timed event where players join a league group and compete with others to get the best scores and advance to a higher league tier. The Gnarvana Portal is where players can generate a level by adjusting the style, difficulty, and length that can be unique for you to share with your friends and compete together. Just share and enter the postcode and you are good to go. You are even given the option to favourite levels you really enjoy to revisit at a later time. There are also mastery levels to complete which also reward players with cosmetics that earn which take time, dedication and skill.
What I Loved
- The Accessibility – I really appreciate that this game can be as easy and carefree to as challenging as the player would want it to be.
- Soundtrack – In my personal opinion one of the best-curated game soundtracks in recent times.
- Immersion – I really liked the immersive feeling when all the Dualsense features were well utilized to give that satisfying feeling of landing tricks and grinding around the levels.
- Characters – I really liked the simple and cartoonish aspect of how the game presented itself.
What I Can Foresee As Being An Issue
- Difficulty Spikes – I did find that especially on the fourth and fifth areas there were difficulty spikes that took me a while to overcome. Some of these chained sequences can be insane to navigate.
- Mastering The Controls – It will take a while to really master the controls but there will be moments where it doesn’t land the trick you expect it to.
Welcome To Complete Gnarvana Kid
I don’t consider myself someone who was into these types of games in the first place but there was just something about OlliOlli World that won me over in a big way. From start to finish the vibe and feeling that I was constantly presented with was always such a vibrant, positive carefree one even when it was challenging and that is just such a hugely important point for me.
My honest hope is that for those who were intrigued by OlliOlli World and are still on the fence that there is just so much to love in this game and you should absolutely jump in. I could just go on and on about how the game is just such a cohesive package from visuals, soundtrack, to the actual gameplay experience but words can only convey so much. Find your flow and take that journey to Gnarvana.