Skateboarding is a Blast:
Last year, an unassuming 2D skating game made its way onto PlayStations worldwide. It was called OlliOlli. Almost instantaneously, the game became a smash-hit.
Critics lauded the simple to pick up yet difficult to master control scheme, the freedom the game allowed you for pulling off tricks, and the innovative level design. More than a year later, OlliOlli is back, and it’s better than ever. Even if you’re unaware of anything other than Tony Hawk when it comes to skating, OlliOlli2 will keep you up through the wee hours of the night. It’s one of those games which nails the ‘one more try’ aesthetic which has characterized some of the biggest hits in the gaming market right now.
You jump, try to pull off a grind, a spin or something in between. A matter of seconds. Maybe you stick the landing. Maybe you don’t. Either way, the chances that you’ll wear out your analog stick because you want to get a better run are very high. Think Tony Hawk, only 2D, and with the frantic pace of Cannabalt. You can’t go backwards, and you only get to crash once. The trick is figuring out just the right mix of risky tricks and safe skating. The controls are pretty simple. Your analog stick is your weapon of choice. You tilt the stick in any direction you want to prepare a trick, and let go of the stick when you’re ready to perform it. When you’re grinding, you can use the analog stick to perform a wide variety of grinds. Launching into the air for a trick is pretty easy. Coming back down to earth, not so easy. You have to time the landing by pressing X at just the right moment. Otherwise, you risk getting a bad score or losing your balance altogether. It’s the same deal with grinding. You have to string together long combos of jumps and grinds to get the best scores.
OlliOlli2 adds a lot more variety to the kinds of tricks you can pull off. The most notable additions are manuals and reverts. If you don’t know what those terms mean, don’t worry. You’ll know once you start playing. Reverts, manuals and revert manuals are notoriously hard to punctuate with a good landing. But the rewards are equally good – you can continue your combo even if you’re in a stretch of the stage where you can’t grind. As such, OlliOlli2 encourages players to look at the entire level as one big combo opportunity. You do some crazy tricks, throw in some manuals and reverts when you’re unable to reach certain places, and then get back to your grinds when you can.
OlliOlli2 also adds a bunch of new stages where you can display your skating talents. And just in case you’re wondering if these stages are endless variations on an urban cityscape, you get to skate through an Aztec temple. Yes, you read that right. Each stage comes with its own set of challenges and you’ll have to familiarize yourself intimately with the geography of each level if you want to pull off uninterrupted combos. There are five separate challenges which each stage presents you with. Some of these are generic, such as collecting a certain number of points. Others ask you to use the level to pull off a certain string of tricks or perform some perfect landings.
Once you get accustomed to the pace of the action and the way your character moves, there’s some serious fun to be had in OlliOlli2. When you get good at the game, utilizing the level’s geography to pull off daring tricks and seamless combos is tremendously satisfying. All of the levels are relatively short, further increasing the ‘let me try this one more time’ factor. Getting to a point where you are good can occasionally be frustrating. Especially if you’re beginning a new level, having your combo fizzle out on the same stretch or section can get annoying. But, there’s always the restart button.
If you were a fan of the first game, OlliOlli2 will be an absolute treat for you. There’s more of what the first game did well, and then there’s a lot of new things and levels to enjoy here. If you weren’t particularly impressed with the first game or got tired of it, there’s nothing here which will drastically change your opinion. However, with the upcoming addition of local multiplayer, more gamers might want to try on their skateboards. The graphics, with the exception of slight improvements, are largely the same.
If you’re looking for an interesting, fast-paced 2D skating platformer, there’s plenty to love here. If you’ve already done everything there was to do in the first game, OlliOlli2 will give you a fresh set of challenges. Just don’t be surprised when you look up at the clock and realize its 4 AM because you’ve been trying to beat your Aztec temple high score for three hours.