The OlliOlli series took consoles by storm over the past few years with its fast-pace, tough as nails approach to 2D skateboarding. With the massive success and love for the series, developer Roll7 has packaged both entries into a jam-packed physical release dubbed “OlliOlli Epic Combo Edition”.
Featuring both the original OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood, this release offers a complete package of hardcore 2D skateboarding. It’s also paired with the original soundtrack, behind the scenes and making of footage, as well as a proper full-color fleshed out booklet, which we all know is a rarity these days.
The original OlliOlli presented players with a side-scrolling arcade skateboarding game that required great timing and split-second thinking, and rewarded players with a massive feeling of accomplishment when they finally pulled off a fantastic line. OlliOlli 2 ramps up the features literally and figuratively, adding manuals, reverts, grind switches and, you guessed it, massive ramp jumps.
Set in lovely ‘Olliwood’, the game has backdrops of movie sets, Mayan temples, zombie infested carnivals, the old west, and even a futuristic robot world. While each world contains various different versions of ramps, grinds, and hazards, they are basically the same deal, just with a different layout, which is understandable given the style of game. Regardless, the different themes keep things fresh and interesting as you progress throughout the main game.
Skating down Olliwood Boulevard at high speeds is something you just have to experience. With loads of grinds, ramps, stair sets and of course hazards, you’ll more than likely be retrying and retrying until you’ve perfected your run. While it sounds boring, it actually feels quite nice when you finally nail a run.
The controls are simple, but take time to master. Ollies and flip-tricks are performed with the left stick, much like EA’s Skate titles, and it feels just as natural and well-done. Landing, however, isn’t as simple as it sounds. In order to get a smooth or ‘perfect’ landing, the player must hit the X button at just the right time. Missing this window will result in a ‘sloppy’ landing that costs the player time before they are able to ollie again, and this can lead to some awful bails and inevitable failure. Grinds are performed by holding down on the left stick just as your board is about to connect. While these may sound easy at first, put them into the fast-paced scenario and throw in some of the more complex moves and obstacles, and it gets a bit tough. That’s not to say the controls don’t perform well—they do. Whenever you fail, it’s your fault and not that of the controls or the game, but there is a learning curve, so be prepared.
The game spans over five worlds and each world has amateur and pro versions to keep you busy performing various challenges. The challenges consist of everything from high-scores to pulling off certain tricks or combo lines. With the newly added Daily Grind spot challenge, the game really packs a massive amount of content.
The starting levels ease you into the game. Giving you easy obstacles and goals allows you to slowly get better and better. But around the end of the fourth world, you start to question why the skate gods have forsaken thee, as you fail over and over and over again. I myself got pretty frustrated, but it was all the more rewarding when I finally overcame the challenge.
Visually the game is simplistic and stylish. They’ve dropped the pixel art from the previous title and instead gone with a smooth, bold look. With loads of colours and flashes, the game looks sharp, clean and really pops. While the graphics aren’t Crysis-tier, they don’t need to be, and frankly shouldn’t be. The art-style works perfectly with the type of game OlliOlli 2 is. I personally enjoyed the pixel art from the original, but I can see why they chose this new direction.
The soundtrack and effects are wonderfully done. The music is crafted in such a way that it almost always fits perfectly with your tricks and grinds. The tracks are perky and fast, perfect for the gameplay, and with numerous tracks it will keep things fresh and your feet tapping even as you eat the concrete. The sounds of a skateboard popping up and slamming down are something you have to enjoy—at least I do—and they sound great in OlliOlli. The grinds grind, the flips flip, and the bails … hurt. The sound design is right on target.
In the end, OlliOlli Epic Combo Edition is a great way for lovers of the series to relive the fun or for first time players to jump in. It’s a rare thing for what was originally a digital only title to receive a such a well-presented physical release like this, and Roll7 may have just set the bar for future titles.