OlliOlli World REVIEW: The best skating yet

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If you've played the previous two OlliOlli games, you'll know that its fast fingered skating is the highlight. Therefore, it makes sense for OlliOlli World to expand that gameplay a little while making more dramatic changes to everything else around it.

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Not all of the changes and new features hit quite right, but the gameplay is somehow better than ever.

Wonderful New Style

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The first thing you'll notice when starting your adventure through Radlandia (expect 'rad' and 'gnarly' to pop up frequently) is the brand new art style.

Roll7 has opted for a beautiful hand drawn style over the previous pixel-art. It really fits OlliOlli World's mystical tone and accentuates the brilliant level design.

The backdrop is gorgeous, if tough to appreciate when you're hurtling down rails and slopes at breakneck speed, and the simple colours of what you can use for tricks make everything pop.

The quirky style extends to the characters you meet along the way and the overworld you use to navigate the levels.

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That style and tone didn't connect with me when it came to the awkward 'humour' and banter between the team of skaters who are essentially friends along for the ride.

The conversation wildly swings from skater bro digs to out-there theories about myth and magical worlds. I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters and all I wanted to do was skip the chats before and after every level as quick as I could. Unless you vibe with the tone, the allies will just seem like glorified tutorial instructors.

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Slow Teachings

That brings us onto OlliOlli World's other main issue, those tutorials. The tutorials themselves are perfectly fine, the issue comes from how slowly they're rolled out.

With just 10 levels remaining in the five areas of Radlandia, I was still being taught quite simple tricks, such as manualing.

Gradually teaching players everything makes sense, as it makes the moves feel natural and helps you weave them into your skillset. Throwing everything at you at once would likely make you ignore some important combo opportunities.

That being said, it's all done too slowly in OlliOlli World. You can go back to previous levels whenever you like, but not learning everything until almost the end of the game doesn't give it time to breathe with everything possible.

I'd have enjoyed more levels to really utilise my full skill set alongside the increased challenge, rather than having to head back to the easier early levels.

If you're intent on completing all of the side challenges and objectives, the tough levels in which the gameplay shines will take a while to get to.

The high points of OlliOlli World could have come sooner, without wall rinding, changing lanes, grabs, spins, and tricks causing confusion.

Simply grinding through levels is nowhere near as fun as the stressful, fast fingered levels later on. In those, one small mistake and it all falls apart, but all you want to do is jump straight back in.

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Incredible Skating

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That's the magic of OlliOlli, and without a doubt, it remains in OlliOlli World. The skating is based on quick uses of the left thumbstick and tweaks with the right stick/shoulder buttons/or X button, but the slight changes to the formula have made it even better.

The new branching paths hide the biggest challenges and combo opportunities to add depth. Do you want to risk failure for a high score? Do you play it safe to simply finish the level? Or do you give it a go and revert to safety next time if you fail at the first attempt?

The branching paths, known as Gnarly Routes, also give you options if you're struggling with the challenge. If you can't get through the level in a way that maximises your score, you can take the simple route to move onto the next level.

The branching paths add a real risk vs. reward aspect to most levels and mastering them is key to hitting the high scores and beating your friends.

OlliOlli World also does a great job of making you not want to give up. You'll fail over and over again, but it never feels like the game's fault. It's on you to time your jumps better.

The challenge in the back end of the game is perfectly balanced. Levels aren't too tough to simply complete, but there are layers to the challenge that you'll definitely want to jump into.

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There's a list of objectives to complete, some of which require finding secrets and going off the beaten path. Then there is simply high score chasing. By pushing and grinding through levels, you'll hit the 10-50,000 point mark, but scores in the millions are entirely possible.

Weaving manuals, spins, grabs, and more into just getting through the levels is where the mastery comes in. Can you get combos in the hundreds and hit the highest of scores? This is where the replaying comes in, so don't be surprised if your triangle button feels the strain after repeated restarts.

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I started telling myself off for ruining combos. The skills at your disposal are just so satisfying that you want to be the best - OlliOlli World really pushes you to maximise what's possible.

The stress and thumb ache that have been mainstays in the OlliOlli series return better than ever, it just takes a little too long for them to arrive.

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Verdict

OlliOlli World is the best OlliOlli game yet. It takes too long to reach its potential and the new style won't be for everyone, but it feels better than ever. The new features provide so many opportunities for combo building that it's nigh on impossible to put down until you've mastered it.

RealSport Rating: 4 out of 5

We reviewed OlliOlli World on PlayStation 5 with code provided by Private Division.