OlliOlli World Preview | Not Your Average Platformer

Recently, we got to try an early playable demo of OlliOlli World, and we found it to be quite a challenge, but also a lot of fun.

Announced back in April, OlliOlli World is an upcoming platformer game from Roll7, and it is the third installment in the developer’s OlliOlli series. If you’re familiar with the first two OlliOlli games, you probably know that the series has a unique mix of 2D platforming and skateboarding gameplay, all while having challenging levels.

Recently, we got to try an early playable demo of the game; though I must admit, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. That’s not just because I haven’t played the previous games in the series mind you, the main reason is that I’m not much of a skateboarding game fan, nor am I someone who loves platformers because I suck at them (except maybe for the Super Mario games). Coupled with the fact that the previous games in the series are challenging, OlliOlli World is far from the type of game that I’d usually play, so I came into the preview not expecting too much.

Given this, I was surprised to find that I had a pretty nice time, even if this game isn’t exactly my cup of tea.

A Challenge, but not Frustrating

In a typical 2D platformer, you move with the left analog stick and jump between platforms using a dedicated jump button. As a skateboarding platformer though, OlliOlli World works a bit differently. To move, you must push using the A button, and then to jump, you should perform tricks using the left analog stick; think of it as kind of like the reverse of a typical platformer.

Doing tricks such as ollies or grinding on various surfaces nets you additional points, but they’re also needed to traverse the game’s levels. Given that I’m not good even at standard platformers, it took an embarrassingly long time for me to come to grips with the how the game controlled and flowed. This meant I often had to replay sections of even the earlier levels multiple times before I was able to progress. In this situation, I’ll usually lose my cool and quit; surprisingly though, OlliOlli World did not feel frustrating (at least in the earlier levels).

Unlike more punishing platformers where you either have lives or must replay huge swathes of a level (or even go back to the beginning) when you fall, OlliOlli World features a generous number of checkpoints in each level. This meant that if I was facing a challenging section, I usually had a checkpoint near that area which helped lessen the frustration.

Even with the generous checkpoint placement, the game still has some challenging sections – good news for fans of the original OlliOlli titles. While I was able to finish certain levels by just going through them repeatedly, OlliOlli World’s platforming system shines much more when you are able to master the controls and skateboard your way through levels while chaining tricks along the way. This takes practice for sure, but it is immensely satisfying when you do.

This balance of retaining some of the challenging aspects of the original games while adding enhanced accessibility for newer players is actually the goal of the developers in Roll7, which they highlighted prior to the demo preview. In this regard, I would say that they were able to strike a nice balance, at least based on the selection of levels I have tried (which are still fairly early into the game). It will remain to be seen if the rest of the game will continue to balance challenge and accessibility, especially the later levels.

Great Art and Excellent Tunes

Even if I have only played a slice of the game, I can confidently say that the game’s world of Radland has a charming look and vibe. This is thanks in large part to the game’s unique and inviting art style. The bright colors, eye-catching levels, and charming cast of characters make for a fun and engaging experience. This charm of Radland also helps in making the game feel more inviting to newer player; and I can say that it helped me not feel frustrated after failing another jump for the fourth time.

To complement the game’s overall look, OlliOlli World also has a banging soundtrack featuring IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) and Electronica songs. As someone who listens to a lot of electronic music, I loved this choice of music for the game as it is a seamless fit to OlliOlli World’s gameplay and setting.

Initial Thoughts

So, did the demo of OlliOlli World convince me? Well, not just yet as I need to play the later levels to see if it will still give me a fun time. But based on the slice of the game I’ve played so far, I can safely say that this skateboarding platformer game has a lot of promise, and provides a fun and engaging time. And if the game’s later levels continue to strike a nice balance between challenge and accessibility, OlliOlli World might just fully win me over.

OlliOlli World will release sometime this year on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.