It was little over a year ago that Roll7 victoriously ground their way to the Playstation Vita with OlliOlli, and since then the game has flipped from one console to the next, winning a bevy of awards as it went. Its responsive analogue stick trick system was truly inspired, allowing pros and amateurs alike to feel like real half-pipe heroes, but it was the game’s difficult to master “one more go” level design that kept people flipping, reverting and grinding into the wee hours. OlliOlli 2: Welcome To Olliwood doesn’t mess with its predecessor’s winning formula, but the measured tweaks and refinements made to the series establishes Roll7 as a small, but mighty, force to be reckoned with.
The sequel to last year’s old-school skateboarding revival swaps the grimy streets for the green-screen clad movie studios of Olliwood and brings 50 new levels to the fore, each with their own unique visuals and challenges. Starting out in the Olliwood Hills you’ll be given a refresher on what it is to be a skateboarder, with a few short tutorials detailing the game’s complex but intuitive trick mechanics. Pulling off tricks remains largely unchanged, meaning you will still have access to a variety of different grinds, stances and moves. The hallowed tome known as the ‘Tricktionary’ makes another welcome appearance, with a beefed out roster of easy and more complex moves for you to master. It’s not all about pulling those gnarly tricks off, though, you’ll need to know how to land them properly, too.
Just as in OllOlli, pulling off massive point-scoring combos is a matter of timing your landings perfectly. A quick tap of the “x” button, just before making contact with rails or surfaces, gives your trick stream a rating from “sloppy” to “perfect”. Nailing that perfect grind combo will reward you with substantially more points than a sloppy landing will, and can mean the difference between breaking a previous high score or coming away with only a handful of points. OlliOlli 2 makes chaining combos together substantially more fun than its predecessor with the inclusion of manuals, reverts and grind switches, meaning you can rack up millions of points in a start-to-finish combo that spans the entire level. Your ability to take a trick straight into a grind switch and then manual it to the next rail relies solely on quick reflexes and finger dexterity, and while the system can be tricky to get into, it feels a little more refined and approachable than the first game.
New environment variables are featured heavily in OlliOlli 2: Welcome To Olliwood‘s movie sets. Olliwood, the starting area, is reminiscent of the first game in the series and acts as a simple refresher for seasoned skateboarders, and as a tutorial for new players. The other four sets feature collectibles, unique obstacles to avoid, and objects to grind. Curse of The Aztec, an Indiana Jones themed set, is adorned with trees, spikes, steep drops into the abyss and, more significantly, features multiple routes and hidden lines through each level. Areas each have their own goals to complete such as breaking a high score, landing the perfect trick, and new, special themed tasks. You’ll collect movie tickets in Olliwood, grab a golden relic in the Aztec forest and find stuffed teddy bears in Carnival of The Dead. While the tasks are much the same as each other, the different change of pace provided by their surroundings is very welcome.
OlliOlli could never be described as ‘ugly’ but there was a distinct lack of variety to its levels. OlliOlli 2 has no such problems, giving the player five vastly different environments to master, each of which are brought to life in smoother, more vibrant pastel shades, rather than the pixellated style of the first game.
Welcome To Olliwood packs content in spades, so the fun doesn’t have to stop when you have completed the main game. As well as the much more difficult ‘pro’ level variants there are 50 spots to test your high score abilities on, 250 main game challenges, the randomly generated daily grind levels, and the even more difficult “RAD mode. If you think you can stomach the challenge, you can also grind your way to 27 trophies including a platinum.
Bigger and better in practically every way, OlliOlli 2: Welcome To Olliwood is a rip-roaring success that completely outshines the first game. Never a misstep, and certainly never a wipeout, it’s an achievement that Roll7 should be immensely proud of. Don your helmet and kneepads, it’s time to get back on the grind. Welcome to Olliwood and your new gaming addiction!