Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: Olliolli

Gliding in, like a fresh wind through January's dozy release list, Olliolli lands as another example of Sony's commitment to exclusive indies on the Vita, and focusing on great gameplay over flashy pixel-jizz. We first saw Roll 7's game as a simple demonstrator last May, but since them, it has bulked up, fleshed-out and tricked-up to become a fast-paced, platform-leaping, pixel-perfect challenge.

Each level may only last a minute or so, but in that time you have cram in as many spins and tricks as possible, landing them as close to perfect as you can, while keeping up your speed to rack up the big score. Each level has a series of challenges to meet, which you can pick off one-by-one. They range from a high-value trick, collecting all the objects, grinding so far and many others - there's plenty of variety, and one or two are always tough enough to make you plan the best way to achieve them, inching toward the goal.

If you do get stuck hitting one trick in the Career mode, further levels unlock regularly and then there's always Spot mode or Daily Grind to offer a more focused change. Here, there's one challenge against a global scoreboard, where you can practice as much as you like, but only get one shot to give it your best by hitting as many consecutive combos in one run and post a high score. If you do keep screwing up, don't be afraid to go back to the tutorial as its easy to forget one of the basic rules among the chaos.

If that's doesn't work and you're still all fingers-and-thumbs, then Olliolli probably isn't for you. The game's mix of precision timing and frantic stick rotating to perform the coolest stunts, and hitting X to land them are very demanding, this isn't a game you can really button mash your way through. The tutorials and first few levels guide you in, but after that, its constant references to the Tricktionary and practice, practice, practice.

The various backgrounds of the junkyard, port, army base and neon city provide some variation in parallax scenery, adding new obstacles and opportunities. But as you fixate at the pixels on the wheels, landing and launch spots for your tricks, there isn't much time to stop and stare. Music is suitably urban ranging from synthy and ambient to slightly discordant, all feeding the pace.

A perfect portable game, Olliolli is so tightly focused it could snap your Vita in two, or you might do the same as you splat across a level for the 50th time.


Score: 8/10
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Price: £7.99 (PSN)
Roll 7 Games
File size 225MB
Progress: More grazes than a tough mudder

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