'OlliOlli' Tricks Its Way Into The Hearts Of Vita Owners

January 27, 2014

Skateboarding and video games have a bit of a love/hate history. Sure, the NES had some classic titles like Skate or Die and 720, but on more modern day consoles, the Tony Hawk franchise was really the only place for gamers to get their skateboarding fix. While some of Hawk's games are classics, gimmicky yearly sequels diluted the series, and it was finally put to bed in 2010, save for the one HD re-release that came out in 2012. OlliOlli hopes to pick up the pieces of this beloved, extreme sport, and re-establish video games as a home for serious skateboarding competition. Roll7's first PS Vita release goes back to the basics and tasks players with racking up high scores as they trick their way through a series of challenging courses.

Developer: Roll7
Publisher: Roll7

A small, indie studio out of the United Kingdom, Roll7 have made a name for themselves working on iOS and PC games, but OlliOlli is their first game released on a separate hardware platform. The plan was to originally release OlliOlli on a mobile device, which means that the PS Vita wasn't Roll7's first choice, instead opting to develop a prototype for iOS. However, after showing Sony what they were working on, the Japanese gaming giant wooed Roll7 to release their addicting skateboarding experience on the Vita. Actually having buttons and sticks to pull off the tricks in the game make it significantly more accessible and enjoyable, so it seems like Roll7 made the right choice for OlliOlli.

Named after the ollie, one of skateboarding's most basic tricks, OlliOlli is a 2D, sidescrolling, boarding game, that challenges players to rack up as many points as they can while completing a course. The simple design extends from visuals into the gameplay design, as OlliOlli strips away most of the controls, and has players take to their boards using the analog stick to initiate and choose tricks, the X button to push and lock in landings, and the L and R buttons to add a little finesse to your moves. While there are only a few buttons to learn, mastering the combo system is what makes this game such a deep experience. Whether you're trying to go big with your tricks, grind a rail through a level, or stick a perfect landing, linking together your moves in OlliOlli is your key to success, and one of the most challenging things about the whole title. Once you think you've gotten your skills locked in, you can take on the "Daily Grind," a point challenge that changes every day, allowing players to show off as they climb the score board. With over a 100 levels and spots to trick, OlliOlli is one of those games that you can binge on, take a break from, and pick up again months later, and not skip a beat.

OlliOlli is a digital PlayStation Vita exclusive, so it can only be downloaded on Sony's latest portable gaming device.

While OlliOlli may evoke the feeling of classic skateboarding games, it stands alone as a truly unique and enjoyable experience - something that should come as a delight to every Vita owner. The best way to describe OlliOlli is that it's as if Canabalt and Tony Hawk had a video game baby. The pixelated aesthetics of the game compliment the overall experience, with levels that are designed to intense trickage, and to push players' twitch gaming skills to the max. You have to stick clean landings for your tricks in order to stay on your board, while grinding massive rails down staircases, and perfectly timing your jumps to clear massive gaps. Your reflexes have to be spot on in order to keep things going smoothly, and drive up your score while doing so. OlliOlli is simple, clean, and insanely challenging; just the way a game should be.