OlliOlli 2 Review – Hurts So Good

Published: August 20, 2015 10:00 AM /

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Don't you love games where you fall over on your face more than you actually seem to play the game? Do you play difficult games because for every failure you only become more determined to not let the game beat you? Do you like skateboarding? You might like OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood, the sequel to the original Devolver Digital title, taking the joy of skateboarding games and applying it to a 2D model. I have been told that some people enjoy skateboarding, and sometimes I see people riding them in real life. I don't understand the appeal and went into OlliOlli 2 completely blind. It has guaranteed I never step foot on a skateboard since I value my face too much to risk it, and apparently I'm pretty bad. The game itself though seems promising, but I quickly gave up on it for reasons below. OlliOlli 2 has a simple premise. You're a skateboarder who has to flip, grind, and backflip through Hollywood, or Olliwood as its described in game. You start off in the backlots and slowly work your way up to major Hollywood sets, ramping off of robot props and sliding down roller coasters. I played with a keyboard, but the game recommends a controller, and I would honestly agree. The controls aren't as complicated as say, a fighting game, but there is a precision to it that would likely work better on a controller. olliolli2 screenshot 1OlliOlli 2, like most Devolver titles, possesses a unique art style, with everything pixelated and the backgrounds and details riddled with grungy, modern, and sometimes humorous aspects. The original OlliOlli seemed to try for pixelated models that had an illusion of 3D. OlliOlli 2 scrapped that, opting for smooth and vectorized, and it looks considerably better. Everything is very clean and stylized. The big appeal to OlliOlli 2 over other skateboarding games is the bizarre locations, all with a Hollywood-theme. This makes for some fun scenarios, and for the most part, everything looks very nice. There are occasional problems figuring out what is an obstacle and not all grind posts are obvious, but for the most part you are able to learn your way around the levels. The levels are each fairly short, which is good, because OlliOlli 2 has the speed and difficulty of a lot of rage games. It isn't that the game is overly hard, but you get into the habit of never wanting to skip a single jump or bar and desperately wanting to up your combo. OlliOlli 2 is a game where you could get through the game doing the bare minimum, but you never will because everything is so enticing. More than one occasion you will come across a particularly difficult run where you could just not jump and focus on landing falls, but you will see that pole and go "I have to jump that." This seems like it might be the actual mindset of skateboarders, and the game pulls that off well. olliolli2 screenshot 2 Unfortunately the game does seem to have a glaring flaw. This may have just been a problem with me, and maybe it's not as big a problem as I think it is. I played through several levels, growing increasingly frustrated because it didn't feel like the controls were registering. Eventually, after focusing on the time of button-pushing to game reaction, it became clear there is a slight delay in the time from when you push the button to when your figure does as ordered. Now this may not seem like a problem, but as stated earlier, OlliOlli 2 is all about precision. Everything must be perfectly timed, particularly landings, or else it will mess you up. And often, a single mess up can destroy the rest of your run by slowing your momentum.  It's a small issue and more technical than anything, but because of the importance of speed and reaction, it became a large problem and made the game the bad kind of frustrating. Not frustrating like speedrunning your average modern platformer. An unfulfilling frustrating, like when you experience heavy lag in the middle of a major action. There are other issues as well. A lot of levels put a lot more focus on grinding than anything else, and while fun, it does get tired. When there are jumps, the 2D format doesn't allow the jumps to feel as fulfilling as they likely would from a 3D perspective. These are fairly minor though, and a standard affair for a lot of games of this nature. olliolli2 screenshot 3 Remove that one big glitch, and OlliOlli 2 is a really fun game. It does only one job and for the most part, does it well. Devolver is a master of titles with simple ideas done in ways that are fun and challenging. OlliOlli 2 is no exception. It has appealing settings and does well at putting you in the correct mindset to enjoy the game. Without the technical control issues, it would be a solid title. And that could be an issue they fix and players can get used too. It's not for everybody, and it can be overwhelming if you have no experience with skateboarding or skateboarding games. It isn't terribly intimidating though and newbies can likely learn pretty quickly. Hopefully they patch that one issue at which point learning will be a lot more intuitive. There's a lot of content, there's a lot to master, and right now you can get it for 25% off on Steam. This game was given by the developer and reviewed on PC. 

Review Summary


I did have fun playing it, and it's a really appealing game in a lot of ways, but the input issues are a significant problem.

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| Staff Writer

Teacher's aid by day. Gamer by night. And by day, because I play my DS on my lunch break. Ask me about how bad my aim is.