‘OlliOlli World’ turns skateboarding into a meditative adventure

Image Credit: Private Division

Perhaps the biggest change is in the tone and structure of the game. World in OlliOlli is Radland, which is divided into five separate areas. You start to be introduced to a colorful group of characters who wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Adventure time. The main cast includes an older, likeable man named Dad; a very enthusiastic guy called Gnarly Mike, who challenges each level; a cameraman named Suze and, my favorite, Chiffon, a pipe smoker “Skate Wizard” who acts as a checkpoint in levels when you mess up. There are other characters to meet along the way, including “Sloshtar the Fortune Telling Fish,” which is as odd as it sounds.

Only two of the game’s five areas – Sunshine Valley and Cloverbrook – were available in the demo, and only a fraction of the levels in each were playable. The final game, by my rough calculations, is likely to have over a hundred levels designed. What struck me about the ten or so that I played is how different they all feel. None are as claustrophobic as those in the Vita games, but some are more constrained and technical, while others sometimes have the camera dynamically zooming to the point where your character is almost a spec on the screen. There was also a fun bonus level (unlocked by said fortune teller fish) that was confined to a skate park, which required you to shoot round after round to reach a certain score within a given time.

The majority of the levels in the demo worked as tutorials, but things opened up briefly in places and the emphasis seems to be on replayability and mastery. I captured a few of my favorites in the video below (excuse my low skill level, forgot about the laps and didn’t even realize I could manual until the last five minutes of my part).

The levels are peppered with plenty of light conversation (which you can easily skip if you just want to skate or replay a level), and that comfortable tone continues into all aspects of game design. Levels and characters appear. with vivid colors and illustrative 3D style. Bennett said Roll7 wants to make sure OlliOlli World “feels representative of the very inclusive and diverse culture of skateboarding.” There will be a character creator – which was not in the demo – to customize your skater’s appearance, and you can also choose your character’s style and tips.

OlliOlli is known for his unique soundtracks, which fall somewhere between Annihilate and lo-fi rhythms to skate on. “[OlliOlli music] sort of IDM on horseback [independent dance music], electronica, lo-fi and all these different weird, disparate genres that no one has ever heard of, ”Bennett said. “It’s a really strange thing, because we’ve asked the labels to send us songs that they think will work in the vein of the game we’re building, and nobody seems to really understand that.” While the soundtrack is still being finalized, Roll7 will be working with music labels from previous games, such as Ninja Tune, as well as new labels like Cascade Records. “My ambition is to repeat some of the stories we had from OlliOlli 2, with people just plugging their Vita, well maybe now their Switch, into their hi-fi system, putting it on the menu screen and just letting it play, ”Bennett said.

Private ward

One game-changing aspect that I haven’t been able to examine is the level builder. It works much like a “zip code system”, according to Bennett, and allows you to predetermine parameters such as “level duration, difficulty, and art style” in order to generate a level. The game will return a random seed and you can skate it immediately and share it with your friends. Bennett said there would be “millions” of potential levels to skate, and the intention is for players to “create something pretty quickly, share it with people, then challenge them on it.”

There are a lot of things that Roll7 isn’t talking about right now. In a blog post featuring the game, Bennett spoke of “high score rankings” and “a global competition” but, when asked, said Roll7 would share more details about it later. because “they don’t want to mess this up.”

Despite the many new features, you can still quickly jump into the action, restarts are mapped to a single button, and the feel of skating at breakneck speeds is the same. “We don’t want to keep you in this state of flux for too long,” Bennett said. “The previous two games was a lot, ‘there’s a menu, and then there’s the game’, right? We wanted to build something much more cohesive around this experience.

OlliOlli World arrives this winter on Switch, PlayStation, Xbox and PC.

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