After finding success on just about every other platform that its released on and receiving a heck of a lot of awards (including a BAFTA), Roll 7’s arcade-skateboarding series OlliOlli is finally making its debut on the Nintendo Switch in the form of the cleverly titled OlliOlli: Switch Stance. Packaging both the original game and its sequel in one neat collection, it gives Switch owners the chance to perform the likes of ollies, kickflips, and noseslides on the go whilst enjoying the game’s addictively fun score-chasing setup.
OlliOlli’s setup has always followed the cliché of being ‘easy to play, difficult to master’ with the gameplay proving very accessible from the get-go. It takes on an endless runner style, with the player automatically skating across a series of 2D levels and pulling off tricks by flicking the left stick. Tricks like ollies and kickflips just require you to flick the stick up or across to pull off, whilst more complicated manoeuvres such as the dolphin flip or the 360 hardflip will require you to actually spin the stick around completely as if you’re playing a fighting game. Some moves will also require you to press a shoulder button as you flick the stick too, so there’s a lot to take in – this is where the whole ‘difficult to master’ aspect of the game rears its head. Oh, and you’ve also got to press the ‘B’ button as soon as you land in order to hit a perfect landing too, otherwise you’ll lose points for being sloppy.
Each level you play will have a series of objectives for the player to work towards, with them typically consisting of the likes of achieving a certain score, pulling off specific tricks, or even collecting items in the environment. If you manage to work through those, there are also pro levels to unlock that offer a much sterner test – admittedly, I haven’t quite mastered those yet, but OlliOlli: Switch Stance offers the kind of satisfying gameplay where you can slowly see yourself getting better and better as you master the ins-and-outs of each level.
Of course, there’ll be plenty of failures along the way and you can expect to bail out quite often. Fortunately, it’s easy to quickly restart a level with the player able to jump right back into the action, so you’ll never be frustratingly waiting for loading screens in-between each failure you suffer. It’s clinically designed to offer a gameplay experience that’s satisfying and addictive, but that also makes you feel like you’re this pro skater who’s nailing tricks with ease. It’s good fun.
You’re given the choice of which game you want to play when you start OlliOlli: Switch Stance, though I’d probably recommend starting off with the original. That’s not just because it’s a good way to get initiated with the series and learn some of the fundamentals of gameplay, but also because once you’ve played OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood it’ll be difficult to go back to the clunkier and less-refined original.
OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood comes with better visuals and animations, more interesting landscapes to skate across (including an Aztec and futuristic-inspired setting), more variety in its level design, and, like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater before it, allows you to string combos together in the newly introduced manuals and reverts for higher scores. It helps maintain the simplistic gameplay that made OlliOlli so enjoyable to begin with, but enhances it with new features that not only make it easier to rack up higher scores but also a heck of a lot more stylish too. Not only are these additions something that skateboarding aficionados will appreciate, but they make the gameplay a lot more enjoyable and free-flowing.
Between the two games you’ve got plenty of levels to complete, but there are also different challenges to tackle alongside them. There’re the ‘Spots’ where you’re tasked with pulling off as high a score as possible in one combo, and the ‘Daily Grinds’ where you get one shot at hitting a high score and then seeing where you place worldwide with it – they’re both fun additions that will keep you coming back to OlliOlli: Switch Stance for some time. There’s also local multiplayer for up to four players which is a blast, though I wouldn’t recommend playing it on the Switch’s portable mode since it’s hard to see all of the details of a level and where you can hit the best tricks. There’s so much content in the package that you’ll easily spend hours upon hours playing just to see everything on offer, though the fact that it just so happens to be really addictive to play anyway does help…
Developer: Roll 7
Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch