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OlliOlli World takes skateboarding games to gnarly heights

If you’ve played the other OlliOlli games, you should know what to expect in OlliOlli World, the skateboarding franchise‘s upcoming title. The OlliOlli games are pure arcade skating fun, all of which ditch the realistic looks and fully-explorable skate parks of Skate. and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater in favor of cartoonish, 2D tracks that use the fantastical to their advantage.

OlliOlli World - Official Gameplay Overview Trailer

After spending some time previewing OlliOlli World, it feels like the natural evolution of the franchise. The game takes everything that’s made the series wonderfully addicting up to this point — its fast-paced play and creative levels — and dials them up to 11. And while I’ve only been able to play the game’s first few areas, it’s clear that OlliOlli World can be a go-to arcade skater for years to come.

Wall riding and grinding

When you first get into OlliOlli World and are introduced to its weird cast of characters — a skate wizard, a guy that’s just named Dad, and two other quirky skaters — you’re taught the basics. I quickly learned how to pump and make my skater go faster, how to ollie and do other basic tricks, so on and so forth. But realistically, you don’t have to pay any attention to the game’s own sense of progression.

Wall riding on a billboard in OlliOlli World.

Every move that you can do in OlliOlli World is in the game’s slyly named Tricktionary, which everyone should take a decent look through after completing the game’s first levels. If OlliOlli World had its way, players wouldn’t know about grabs, spins, or manuals until its third area. Following that progression seemed awfully dull to me, so I decided to home-school myself on the game’s tricks.

After looking through the Tricktionary a few times through a couple of levels, I found that OlliOlli World isn’t just pleasantly cartoonish, it can be one of the most stylish skating games out there. Once I started combining the game’s advanced tricks, all of which are performed using the left thumbstick, spins, and grabs, I couldn’t stop. Every hazard in every level stopped being a way to send me back to my last checkpoint and became an opportunity to pull off a killer stunt.

Selecting a level in OlliOlli World.

But eventually, spinning and flipping isn’t enough, which is why the evolution of OlliOlli World‘s levels is pretty spectacular. The game slowly adds more and more complex features to its tracks. First, you’ll start seeing rails to grind across, then there are walls that can be ridden, and eventually, massive floating crystals that can be smashed by barreling into them while grabbing your board. Toward the end of my time with the game, it was implementing all of these ideas, making most levels frighteningly fast-paced as I had to switch between grinding rails and riding horizontally across billboards.

OlliOlli World is divided into five distinct sections, tasking players with finding various Skate Godz on their way to Gnarvana. But the real trip is in each of the game’s levels and its steady evolution, as each new section adds yet another idea.

Shred on, skater

While OlliOlli World‘s main campaign already feels like a fun romp through the wide world of skating, it’s certainly not one that will last all that long for players. Levels are fast, and can usually be beaten in under five minutes. With six sections in the game, I’d guess that it would take just about anyone only a few days’ worth of play to finish the game and reach Gnarvana. Thankfully, there is much, much more to do in OlliOlli World past racing through its levels.

Each level in OlliOlli World also has a few challenges tied to it. Players have to beat the level without using a checkpoint, score a certain amount of points, and then complete Mike’s challenges. Mike, one of the game’s NPCs, will give you three different challenges based on what level you’re playing. Sometimes you have to high-five an NPC, other times you’ll have to complete a level without wall riding. Regardless of what they are, players will likely have to go through levels multiple times to actually complete all of these challenges.

But re-running a level in OlliOlli World won’t always provide the same experience. Thanks to the ability to change lanes, players can explore an entirely new path in a level, taking them on a more difficult Gnarly Route where some challenge objectives might be located.

Stunting in the desert in OlliOlli World.

If there’s a level you like in particular and want to be the king of, you can do that too. Maintaining your high score on a level is a difficult task thanks to OlliOlli World‘s rival system. When you start a level, you’ll get a rival, another random player out there who has beaten that same level. Beating their score makes you the champion, but there’s always another rival with a higher score to beat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the game will give you a notification if someone beats your score on a level.

OlliOlli World also has proper multiplayer as well, although it’s asynchronous. You can participate in the game’s leagues, which functions like a daily challenge mode, where players simply compete for the highest score. Portal is similarly competitive, although it’s made for players to skate against their friends. You can generate a completely new level with some basic modifiers and then share that level’s code with fellow skaters and see who gets the high score. Both of these modes are fairly simple, but they do what they have to: offer up more, replayable levels for OlliOlli World.

OlliOlli World is set to release in the middle of a very busy week for gaming. Launching on February 8, the game is going to compete for your attention against the likes of Sifu and Dying Light 2. But after spending a fair bit of time with the game it’s safe to say that there’s one more title you should look out for that week. OlliOlli World is a blast, and that’s my takeaway from the game’s first few sections. I’m looking forward to what’s to come with the rest of my trip to Gnarvana.

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