Graphics:
8.1
Gameplay:
9.2
Sound:
8.4
Control:
8.9
Replay Value:
9.1
Overall Rating:
9.0
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Roll7
Developer:
Roll7
Number Of Players:
1-2
Genre:
Sports
Release Date:
March 3, 2015


OlliOlli was a great game when I played it for Vita last year. The sequel that just launched this week for PlayStation 4 is a really great game. It’s a perfect example of a proper sequel: Bigger, better, and fresher. 2D isn’t dead; it just needs a proper presentation and wickedly addictive gameplay, at which OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood excels. I was thinking this would be a slightly bigger and more enhanced version of the original but no, this is a true-blue follow-up effort that you’re gonna love. If you played and enjoyed the first title, this is a no-brainer; if you’re a newcomer, it still comes highly recommended. Get those stick skills ready!

As was the case with the first game, you have to accept the old-school pixilated graphics. Obviously, the retro look is intentional and the designers wanted to put the excellent gameplay in the spotlight throughout. In such cases, what we’re most concerned with from a visual and design standpoint is the layout of the levels. The original production boasted some great layouts but the sequel amps things up to new and wonderful heights. There’s more color this time around and the variety of the levels has been significantly improved. I love to see creative types trying new things and upping their games (pun intended), and that’s exactly what I see here.

Sound-wise, we get a similarly effective and fitting soundtrack, along with a series of borderline comical effects. I imagine it sounds just as good on Vita (I only played the PS4 version for this review) and of course, there’s no deep analysis of professional voice acting or a score created by a massive orchestra. No, this is retro through and through, with brief dashes of updated technical goodness. I especially like the music/effect mix; it reflects the nature of the game itself: A nice little blend of goofy nostalgia and totally hardcore, trial-and-error, old-fashioned Tony Hawk gameplay. It’s just an exceedingly well-produced and presented package.

If you’ve already played the original, you know what to expect in terms of gameplay. But if you haven’t, it’s pretty straightforward: Grinding, flipping, and a variety of tricks are at your disposal in this 2D side-scrolling playground. The better you perform, the better your score. The levels get increasingly difficult as you progress and the more you pull off mind-bending tricks, the more confidence you build. It’s fast and challenging yet still accessible and sublimely paced. There are few games that have such a well-executed learning curve; even though there’s a massive difference between novice and expert levels, you never feel rushed or bored. You learn at a steady clip and even when you’re a little stumped, you’re having fun.

This foundation was plenty solid and made for a very entertaining albeit slightly flawed little game. If they’d stuck with the basics and simply given us a wider variety of levels, the sequel would’ve been more than passable. But like any good developer, Roll7 wasn’t happy with that approach; they sought to build upon that aforementioned solid foundation and give gamers a new, tastier treat. They seem to have refined the control just a bit – even if grinds feel a little loose – and catching the trick is a major part of the game that results in an invigorating risk vs. reward situation. The later you catch a trick, the better rating you’ll earn, but waiting too long spells disaster. “Perfect” landings boost your score and build your multiplier that much faster.