It feels increasingly like entertainment is designed to make people feel stressed. It’s incredible that modern television shows less Xena the Warrior Princess or more Succession. But if I’m being honest, sometimes all I want from my flickering screen’s flickering screen’s flickering screen’s flashing screen is something calming. OlliOlli World is a blessing, thank God.
This colourful skater is vibrant and energetic. He’s adorned in an Adventure Time-esque style and accompanied with a soothing soundtrack that would make Anderson Paak blush. It’s filled with poppies and sprinkled with self-aware dad jokes. This is a far cry from the grungy 90s skateboarding. It is a good indicator of 2022’s youth culture. OlliOlliWorld leans more into the meditative, where Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater chose to sweat-inducing trick challenge and blast punk rock ragers.
This pixelated playground is, in other words, a strangely namaste version of the skateboarder. It’s a virtual trickathon for yoga bros and bliss-seeking tykes of TikTok. OlliOlli World, which is not a game about exploration and story, is geared towards achieving that hypnotic state called “flow”. It combines the automatic movement of endless runners like Temple Run with simple controls with clever checkpointing. Players are only required to focus on timing their jumps and nailing their tricks. You can find yourself suddenly lost in a zen-like state, hopping and tricking through Radlandia’s fictional locations while listening to your favorite podcast.
OlliOlli World drip-feeds every new mechanic to the players with the patience and kindness of a primary school teacher. Grabs can be pulled using the correct analogue stick and are only introduced at the end the second world, which is a third of way through the game. This tactile tutorial is a masterclass on layering game mechanics. It waits until you feel like a boarding badass to offer new tricks to master before it continues.
There are many things you love about this vibrant, joyful adventure. But its characters are not one of them. You’ll find yourself cheered by a group of miserable misfits as you make your way through each course. OlliOlli World’s wink wink nudge-nudge dialogue, which is prone to making you wince, is not as funny as you think. The script is adequate to keep the fun going, despite how the “how do you feel about other kids” sentiment.
These snarky cheerleaders will make you want to hit the skip button but the beautiful stage backgrounds make this world seem alive. This kingdom of hipster animals, eye-popping pinks and giant donuts looks like a kawaii fashion blog. It is incredibly warm and relaxing.
Roll7’s approach to high scores and challenges is actually disarmingly laid back. Hawk’s brand skating sim requires players to complete specific objectives before they can proceed. Here, it is sufficient to reach the end of each pastel playground. There are more challenges that can be overcome. Yes, you can, but those more difficult tasks can be tackled whenever you feel like it. Players are free to ollie or manual their way across Radlandia at their own pace.
OlliOlli World aims to make players feel at home in every aspect of its design. This includes your customizable, air-grabbing avatar. Although the endless supply of unlockable T-shirts and decks lose their appeal, I took extraordinary pride in creating a cartoony avatar that reflected my vision of the hipster skater.
OlliOlli World is a laser-focused destination for people like me, a 30-year old who began to use the term “rad” ironically at age 30 and can’t seem to stop. This interactive gaming experience is like a weekend trip to Brighton. It has a free-spirited counterculture flavor and a flamboyant aesthetic. OlliOlli World offers a charming virtual alternative to the daily grind if you feel tired and worn out.