Game review: OlliOlli World (PC)

The OlliOlli 2D skateboard game franchise gets a facelift with the newest entry in the OlliOlli World series.

The first thing that strikes you when you load up OlliOlli World is the amazing art style. The surreal look of the game bears a striking similarity to the frivolous animation of the TV show Adventure Time. This casual look updates what is essentially a pretty retro game.

Players start off as the new kid on the block with a ragtag group of skaters introducing themselves and the world they inhabit, Radlandia. The quirky characters are adorably animated, each with their own style.

At its heart, OlliOlli World is a 2D skating game in which players skate from the left of the screen to the right performing tricks and dodging hazards. Gameplay mechanics are very similar to previous entries, except this one has a consistent pixelated look (thank goodness, because I’m well and truly into “90s retro” games).

OlliOlli World does its best to facilitate players in the various stunts and tricks needed to negotiate the route. Perfecting jumps and grinds to eliminate hazards is often more about repetition than timing, with some hazards giving you very little notice.

The game world is made up of areas, each with its own unique look. Players make their way around the map via short skate runs. The initial idea is to jump over obstacles and grind the rails to reach the finish line. After a while, hints are added to the equation.

For a game with such simple controls, I found my fingers regularly knotted. Flicking the left stick makes your board jump, while flicking the stick left or right before releasing rocks the board. Shoulder buttons can be used to spin in the air.

The ability to change lanes and take alternate routes adds a bit of variety to the game. There are also optional side runs that can be taken as well. Completing challenges unlocks clothing and skateboard components that can be used to create a unique OlliOlli World character.

The game is a tough task master, making me think on more than one occasion that maybe it’s time to start recognizing that my reaction time is decreasing as I get older. Luckily there are checkpoints along the way which saved my head more than once.

Playing the game was a mixture of exhilaration and frustration. Some races that I had no problem with until the point where I gave up became full of errors and unwanted jumps. It’s a game that, if you’re of that persuasion, will probably have you throwing your controller against the wall.

OlliOlli World is a welcome distraction from the usual AAA fayre. For me, the game held more because of its unique look rather than the actual gameplay. It’s always a very difficult game to let go.

Playing the game on PC made me think the game is better suited to a Nintendo Switch. I could see this game being a huge waste of time on a plane or other long journey. To be honest, I would probably like to play something else on my PC. If you like to skate, enjoy quirky art styles, and are up for a challenge, OlliOlli World might be the game for you.

OlliOlli World is now available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC and Nintendo Switch. A review copy has been provided by the publisher for this review.

Assessment: 7.5/10