“OlliOlli2,” the popular skateboarding game, improves the mechanics of the original game while retaining the level of difficulty that made it so addicting. The game has a deliberate and logical progression, a set of challenges for each level and additional modes for plenty of replay value.
There are two big skateboarding series in video gaming, each owned by a titan of the industry. Activision publishes the “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” series, which takes an arcade-like approach to skateboarding. Tricks can be executed in mid-air, the physics are incredibly forgiving and hundreds of tricks can be chained together by skilled players. The other game, “Skate,” is owned by EA Games. “Skate” takes a more realistic approach, requiring players to flick the right stick in certain ways to execute different moves. By and large, these are the only skateboarding series to get recognition over the years, which makes “OlliOlli2” even more refreshing.
The original game took a new approach to the genre, adopting a 2D side-scrolling perspective and focusing on more of a downhill slalom than traditional vert or street skateboarding. It combines timing, simple inputs and a series of challenges to create a simple-to-learn, easy-to-master game while combining the best parts of the aforementioned series.
“OlliOlli2” takes its input method from “Skate.” From “Tony Hawk,” it takes the fast-paced gameplay and focuses on a quick series of runs akin to the style of “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.” To up the challenge, players must press the X button when landing a trick or they will lose speed, and get no points for any tricks they have pulled off. Pressing X within a certain window will provide more points for a perfect landing. This same mechanic can be pulled off for grinds by pressing the analog stick right as the player’s avatar touches a grind rail. In this, the game cements its timing focus while creating narrow windows to execute the timing. This creates a challenge for each level, as only full mastery of the mechanics will allow a player to do a perfect dry run of a level.
Each level has a set of challenges to unlock, involving getting a certain number of points, executing certain tricks, or demonstrating the use of a mechanic such as perfect grinding. Unlocking every challenge opens the game’s RAD mode for an additional challenge. The game also includes practice modes, daily challenges and a Spots mode in which players can practice pulling off long combos.
Overall, “OlliOlli2” is a great game—it simply feels good to play. Its controls are simple but deep and nuanced. Despite the simplistic controls, new gamers might want to pass on this one. Its heavy focus on rapid-fire inputs might confuse and frustrate those less familiar with video games. Veteran gamers will find something to love here, especially those familiar with addicting Flash-based games. “OlliOlli2” is available on PlayStation 4 and Vita, and is free for PlayStation Plus subscribers for the month of March.