OlliOlli PS Vita review – Superb 2D skater never leaves you board

Not to brag, but I just stuck the gnarliest 360 Inward Heelflip in virtual skateboarding history. Or maybe it was a Backside Shove-It. Then again, it easily could’ve been a Frontside Bigspin or a Laserflip, I’m not really sure. I’ve been playing OlliOlli obsessively for several days and I’m no closer to memorising the arcane terminology filling the in-game Tricktionary, which offers a handy guide to the left-stick rotation pattern required to pull off the game’s myriad stylish board manoeuvres.

OlliOlli PS Vita review

Roll7’s 2D skateboarding game, a must-have Vita exclusive that should persuade many gamers procrastinating on that Vita purchase to finally ollie down off the fence, feels like a fighting game in that respect. There will inevitably be players who stay up till 2am poring over movelists, while others remain happy to improvise and hope cool-looking things happen as a result.

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I must humbly admit to being the latter sort. However, with the game boasting over 120 tricks and grinds to choose from, it’s fortunate that swift reflexes and precision timing are ultimately more important to high-score feats than encyclopaedic trick knowledge. When you rock the left stick in any given direction, your skater drops into a crouch and executes the trick only when you rotate or flip the stick quickly into a separate position. Never has a Vita game provided this much tactile pleasure or made such exquisite use of the device’s analogue control features. Skating is all about the magic connection of your feet and the deck, after all.

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Each micro-level in OlliOlli lasts roughly a minute and the goal is to string together as many tricks and grinds as you can before reaching the applauding crowd waiting at the finish line. In order to push your scores to a competitive plateau, it’s essential that you nail combos, which involves staying off the ground level and connecting as many elevated grinds as you can manage in the limited stretch of level that you have to work with.

This challenge will appeal to fans of the nails-hard twitch platformers that have become prevalent in mobile games. The steady forward momentum of OlliOlli, like its auto-runner cousins, means you have to keep a cool head under pressure, as if the brakes on your car have been cut and you’re trying to survive while barrelling down a mountain.

With a stupidly generous variety of
modes, challenges and room for player expression, OlliOlli is one of PS Vita’s
most fun and alluring games to date

Though OlliOlli’s violence expresses itself not through guns and bats but instead the pavement rushing up to bludgeon your skater’s poor face, you’ll find inescapable echoes of Hotline Miami – crunchy sound design, a deftly curated electronica soundtrack and some formidable pixel-art chops. The exhaustive trick catalogue occasionally makes selecting one feel arbitrary, but this wobble hardly keeps OlliOlli from sticking its landing. With a stupidly generous variety of modes, challenges and room for player expression, OlliOlli is one of PS Vita’s most fun and alluring games to date.

Our Score

Score: 8

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