I was recently fortunate to spend a week with a preview version of the upcoming OlliOlli World from Roll7 and Private Division.
The original OlliOlli is a now-classic side-scrolling skateboarding game from 2014. It was originally released on the PlayStation Vita but has since found its way across multiple other platforms gaining a cult following. It spawned a sequel, a year later, in OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood.
OlliOllie World takes the idea of a simple, accessible, skating game and gives it a modern twist with more contemporary graphics. The original was a retro 2D sprite-based affair; OlliOlli World adds a 2.5D depth to the game whilst retaining the sideway scrolling gameplay.
First off, OlliOlli World looks gorgeous. The character styles and environments reminded me of the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time but in 3D. The developers have clearly put a lot of thought into creating a game with a very distinctive look.
As the new kid on the block, the game starts with a tutorial level. Your new crew, an exquisitely designed bunch of characters, walk (or skate) you through the game’s various moves.
As with its forebears, OlliOlli World has the player controlling a skater making his way from the left to the right of the screen. Players need to jump, trick and grind, avoiding gaps in order to proceed. It’s not easy, as some consecutive jumps need perfect timing.
Instead of just one linear route, players have the choice of multiple paths, moving into and out of the screen. This allows players to avoid tricky areas or embrace a challenge.
As well as rails and jumps the game has quarter pipes and wall rides. Performing tricks and grabbing air is fun and rather exhilarating.
The game rewards players that can keep up the flow and momentum of their skater. Faster means higher jumps and better tricks.
The gameplay, apparent even in this early build, is refined to allow players of all abilities to enjoy it. If traversing the environment is all you can handle, that’s fine, but if you are up for tricking your why through the bizarre landscape, you can do exactly that. There’s a purity to the gameplay that echoes what made the original so successful.
As players progress through the world, called Radland, new biomes unlock each with unique and quirky characters. Whilst the demo only showed off a couple of these areas, I’d say players are in for a treat.
My journey through OlliOlli World was all too brief. It’s a game that I could pick up and play at any time. The refined gameplay asks as little or as much as you want to give it. The result is an enjoyable and rewarding experience that should delight fans of the original and entice new players into the delights of OlliOlli World.
OlliOlli World is set for release on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC later this year.