OlliOlli Yes! the next indie hit for PS Vita

OlliOLliI am not a big skateboarder, I first tried to become one when I was given a skateboard on my 6th birthday but to no avail. Even though I would hardly characterize myself as easily scared, the idea of having to use my face as brake was stronger than the appeal of surfing the asphalt. Fast forward more than ten years to where I am in my late teens and you could occasionally find me hanging out with a group of “skater” friends.

Sometimes we hung out together at a local skatepark or we went touring the city and as time passed some of my friends managed to hone some impressive skill, pulling of these increasingly difficult tricks. Long story short I wanted in and I tried for a while but as it turns out becoming good at skateboarding requires a lot of practice and you should expect to fall a lot.

I never became good at the sport, luckily the magic of games allows us to experience some of the things we will never be able to achieve in real life, silly things like grinding a pink dinosaur.

Gameplay

At its core the appeal of OlliOlli comes from the way the game feels and plays. It is a skateboarding game and even though the game is presented in a 2D side scrolling style, tricks and combo’s are at the heart of the experience. The essence of skateboarding is captured really well and the choice for 2D levels over a free roaming 3D world make sure the focus lies on executing these tricks and combo’s while traversing the levels. These levels feel like both friend and foe, rails and fences lend themselves happily to be grinded on and you will definitely need them to get to the otherwise out of reach collectibles or the cheering crowd at the end of a level.

Like I explained in my preview of OlliOlli the controls and scoring system are the beating heart of this game. The left analog stick (or if you really want to the directional buttons) is used to execute tricks, the moment you let go of the stick your skater performs a trick, and with over 120 different tricks and grinds there are a lot. The bigger the trick the more difficult it will be to pull off, but obviously the more rewarding in terms of points it will be. The crux is in the landing of said trick and timing is of the essence because a perfect landing will not only score you the most points but it also makes sure you have the best possible approach for taking on the next obstacle. Anything less than a perfect landing (or grind) will reduce your score and speed (and in the worst case scenario will plant your face in the asphalt).

Sure, with the press of the (X) button you can “push off” and regain speed (doing so two times will even get you back to maximum speed) but the levels (especially later in the game) have been designed in a way which greatly encourages players to hone their skill with timing and control. In your chase to get the highest score, clear level objectives, and sometimes just to reach the end of the level you will feel the need to squeeze a trick in every second of “airtime” you have with the risk of blowing it all.

OlliOlli can be quite unforgiving and frustrating at times, not because the game does something wrong rather the opposite, it points out where you as a player lost control or simply lack the required skill. I often clutched my fists after ending a magnificent forty plus string of perfect tricks with a sloppy landing.

The looming doom of your own failure is especially present in the Daily Grind, a mode which offers a unique level each day. Because you will soon learn that knowing your way around a level goes hand in hand with getting the better score you are allowed an infinite amounts of practice runs before you decide to go at it for real. However once you do you have only one try to make it all count and I can’t help myself but every time when the sh*it gets real I hear Eminem’s Lose Yourself in the back of my head. I couldn’t summarise the tension of Daily Grind any better he did;

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted. one moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip?

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy”

In terms of content there is enough to keep you busy for a while; in total fifthy levels, with 250 objectives. There is the Spots mode which similarly to the Daily Grind only allows for one big combo. The aim there is again to pull off the biggest possible score because even a perfect landing will end your “run” and will need to hone your grinding skills to reach the end and maximise your score.

Highscores are obviously a big thing in OlliOlli and you can immediately see how your score ranks online and what score you need to beat to become king. Normally I don’t care much getting the absolute highest scores on leaderboards but OlliOlli manages to pull me in on the leaderboard chase. The only other game on the Vita that had that effect on me is Spelunky.

Recommendation

I do think that there is room for improvement in OlliOlli for example you can’t compare your friends score from within the menu. Your score is compared to the best out there which is great if you have the skill to compete but I can imagine some will feel overwhelmed when they see the highest score.

The soundtrack of OlliOlli is a total beast and it really adds to the feel and flow of the game. I said it before and I’ll say it again after a few hours with OllOlli if I felt like buying a skateboard or go clubbing. Heck, I might even go clubbing with a skateboard.

In short OlliOlli is a game any self respecting Vita gamer should have in their library. When I wrote a preview of the game a few months ago I posed the question if OlliOlli could become the next indie hit.

Now after extensive playtime I feel like I can answer that question with a full-hearted YES! And I should add the indie part isn’t really important (well at least for the gamer it isn’t). I can understand that the visual style might put some off, but I would strongly recommend anyone to buy this game. I feel like if this game was made in the late 80’s or during the 90’s people would be begging for a remake now. Luckily the game is here now. And if you are smart and can spare some pocket change OlliOlli comes with a nice “release discount” making it a more than excellent quality for money purchase.

Let me close with a pair of tweets one from PlayStation’s Shid Shuman and my own “random “reply.

 

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  1. TheDevilitself!’s avatar

    well for me the true is that i hate indie games, is not that the games are bad is that….. how i should say it(STAY AWAY FROM MY VITA) and stay on ipad or whatever. this is my opinion and this is how i feel about indie games. don’t take it personal ok.

    Reply

    1. Edzo’s avatar

      Im just sick of the word indie at this point lol. The games are fine

      Reply

      1. italkgame’s avatar

        Even though I am obviously guilty of using the term as well, I think you got a good point there. I myself kind off dislike the term especially when it is used for marketing purposes. But on the other hand the indie games I really like set themselves apart and I almost feel like at their core they share the same design philosophy.
        To me, indie stands for different, thought provoking, creative and unique. Like AAA, independent developed games can be anything from sucky to great

        Reply

    2. KYRSP33DY’s avatar

      ^ this

      Reply

  2. BlackFire27’s avatar

    Nothing but “indies” on the Vita. Where are all the big name games? Starting to regret this purchase.

    Reply

    1. Hellbelial’s avatar

      Sony must be embarased for this shitty game,vita is dead until they start to move the ass of the employers and get more games.

      Reply

  3. himura’s avatar

    this game available on Asia store?

    Reply

  4. mickey d's’s avatar

    Honestly I love indies on the Vita its a great platform for indie games to thrive on. If you want more big name titles I agree with you, I just don’t think we need to affect indie games to do that. We can have a lot of both

    Reply

  5. fate6’s avatar

    You seem to be pushing this game rather hard
    look nothing against it but this is not the “big hit” you seem to think it is

    at least I don’t think so

    Reply

    1. italkgame’s avatar

      Well I did a preview for the game so I decided to deliver a follow up. But to be frank, yes, I am very pleased about how the game turned out. Like I said there is room for improvement but I think and hope this game will be a big hit, and it seems a lot of critics agree with me. This isn’t a guarantee for sales of course.
      Btw I have no problems with you voicing another opinion, especially not when you go about it as politely as you did.
      Tastes differ, and there are a lot of cool games heading to Vita. So you probably get your fill too.

      Reply

  6. Hazer7’s avatar

    When is that Killzone Merc update coming?

    Reply

  7. jake’s avatar

    Personally I think the Vita needs more games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss & WipEout 2048… I don’t hate indie games… It’s just that I feel that that’s the only thing coming out. imo the above games actually would beat a lot of the console games that I have =/

    Reply

  8. Godoka’s avatar

    i know this is off topic but can you play the monster hunter 3rd portable(eng patched) online?

    Reply

    1. Dmasell92’s avatar

      I think it’s only possible with Pro-Online, and Xlink.

      Reply

  9. Dmasell92’s avatar

    I prefer games with visual stimulation, indie games are lame. Unless they can run VHBL ofc.

    Reply

  10. ViRGE’s avatar

    Even after seeing the various gameplay trailers and reading some of the reviews, I still don’t get quite why gamers are so enthusiastic about this game. It looks and seems to operate like an endless runner with a few more tricks up its sleeve, which is okay, but not something amazing. Nor is the pixel art anything special these days since pixel art is so heavily used by budget developers. The £8 price on the other hand isn’t too bad, but it’s also not cheap.

    I don’t begrudge people for liking this game, but I’m not seeing the attraction. Especially not in light of the 14 for ’14 sale that just ended.

    Reply

    1. italkgame’s avatar

      I think the biggest difference between endless runners and this game is that OlliOlli gives you a basic tool set that you can truly master. The feel of the game is very different from endless runners which mostly have a reaction based feel to them were you need to evade obstacles. OlliOlli is much more about knowing what the layout of the level is and then leveraging the risk reward feature to get the most out of the stage.

      What games do you normally like to play?

      Reply

  11. Edzo’s avatar

    Wow I impulse bought this last night and am completely addicted. I totally get the hype now. Got ranked #8 in the world on daily grind :P

    Reply

  12. Base Ventura’s avatar

    Guys I need help!
    I´m in NeonCity 2, and i tried for hours to land that 360 hardflip! I have no idea on which spot I have enough hangtime to land it! Did anyone of you master this already?

    thx!

    Reply

    1. italkgame’s avatar

      My Vita battery is drained so I currently can’t check to see if I remember correctly, but I think you can pull it of at the start of the level. I execute required moves mostly at the start of a stage or near the end. It might help if try for it after a grind or a gap that gives you a lot of airtime.
      How do you like the game so far.

      Reply

  13. Nazar_Ops’s avatar

    Bought the game yesterday. It was totally worth it! This game is awesome! It’s very fun. 9$ well spent. No regrets.

    Reply

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