If you had a chance to read my Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 review, then you would already understand how much I enjoy skating games. A genre which isn’t as popular as it once was, and one which doesn’t really represent like it used to in the games industry. Skating games have gone through many phases over the years, from arcadey titles such as the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, to more realistic ones such as EA’s Skate, but a new contender is ready to bring skateboarding back to consoles.
Roll7 came kick flipping their way into the limelight back in 2014 with the incredibly popular Olli Olli, a skateboarding title that promised to bring back the fun and excitement of the original skateboarding games but with a retro make over. Roll7 are back with the highly anticipated sequel to Olli Olli, with Olli Olli 2 XL Edition.
The aim of the game with Welcome to Olliwood is to score big. Utilising a catalogue of flips, grinds, and twists, you must use these in various combinations to get there. You start off with a limited skillset, creating small combinations which net a fairly pitiful score, but as you progress more tricks and combo extenders are unlocked. You start off with the basics, ollies, nollies, grinds, basic flips, but as you progress through each stage, you learn how to do more advanced tricks. Just by playing through the first level set, you soon learn how to chain ollie flips with grinds, how best to land them for the optimal score. From there you learn about manuals, which allow you to chain flips, grinds, and grabs to create massive combos. I really liked the way that Olli Olli 2 doesn’t offer everything on a plate to you, and doesn’t overwhelm you with technicalities.
Of course, all is well if you can land a trick, but the key to get the perfect execution. Doing so will net you the biggest amount of points you can get for that particular flip or grind. Olli Olli has always been very good at not penalising the player too much when it comes to less than perfect execution. Each jump, grind, or manual is rated from sloppy to perfect depending on timing of the landing, and how well you execute the trick. The longer you play, the easier it becomes to develop the timing and flow to get that string of perfects, or to really increase your score.
Of course, progression isn’t just based on score, but each level has specific tasks you must complete to unlock the next. Ranging from collecting random objects, grinding specific rails, or performing a set number of specific tricks. These add an extra layer to the gameplay, which encourages you to keep coming back to earn those five stars for each level.
There are a total of five different level sets to kickflip and darkslide your way through, each having their own unique style and challenges. You start your journey in Olliwood, making your way through Curse of the Aztec, Gunmetal Creek, and Carnival of the Dead, before you face your biggest challenges in Titan Sky. If that’s not enough to keep you busy, there is also a total of six different game modes to work through: Career, Spots, Skatepark, Free-Skate, Combo-Rush, and Daily Grind. The two less obvious modes, Combo-Rush and Daily Grind, offer a more competitive edge to your skateboarding. Combo-Rush is a brand new mode introduced in Olli Olli 2 XL which allows four local players to go into splitscreen skateboard combat for the highest score; perfect for those friendly get togethers around the TV. Daily Grind is a 24 hour challenge to obtain the highest score you can, and see how far up the global leaderboard you can get.
That was one thing I missed though, and that was friend leaderboards. It’s such a shame that Olli Olli 2 doesn’t allow you to compete with your friends online, and only has global leaderboards. I personally love nothing more than trying to knock my friends off of the top of the board, even it’s only for five minutes.
The visual style of Olli Olli 2 XL Edition is really quite beautiful. It’s a simple 2D style which suits the arcade style beautifully. It’s a visual improvement over the original Olli Olli, and is much smoother and brighter. Each of the different level sets have their own personality and style, and really stand out from one another. The soundtrack is equally gorgeous, and the energetic electronica style flows really nicely with the gameplay, helping you land those perfect flips and grinds.
Thanks to Xbox and Roll7 for supporting TiX