Sequels. They suck right? More often than not they’re not as good as the original and I preferred the first one and blah blah blah. You’ve heard it all before. But with the return of Vita heavyweights OlliOlli and Hotline Miami this month, surely the sequel formula is in good hands, right?
As a Vita gamer, it’s very unlikely you missed the side scrolling 2D world of OlliOlli first time around, so I will try and keep comparisons to a minimum. Not just because you know the deal, but also because OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood is unquestionably a better game than its predecessor. Somehow, it manages to wipe the floor with a game that was brilliant in the first place. But how does it do that? And what’s new? Hop on board thumb destroyers. OlliOlli is back, and it’s time to get your face smashed in…
Everything you loved about the first game is back. That ‘just one more go’ premise, the high score addictions, the Daily Grind nerves. But somehow everything is stepped up a gear. The beautiful vibrant colours you became accustomed to are back, and as you skate amongst the glamour and glitz of Olliwood you’ll be forced to ignore the beautiful scenery behind your death defying skater because remember, one mistake and you’re back at the start of the level. You’ll catch glimpses of camera crews, movie posters, the beautiful Hollywood hills and much more. Olliwood is gorgeous and makes Universal Studios look like a Little Chef. But OlliOlli 2 is not just a pretty face.
You have your Career Mode first, using again the unlockable through progression modes Amateur, Pro and if you’re insane – Rad Mode. You’ll be taking the scenic route here, hitting up Olliwood, Curse of the Aztec, GunMetal Creek, Carnival of the Dead and the painfully difficult but just about doable Titan Sky. The themes are pretty obvious to guess, but the turns and twists are not. You’ll be skating along, bumpin’ and grindin’, thinking you’ve got a particular level all but wrapped up, then out of nowhere you’ll have to hit a crazy combo just to stay alive. It would be easier to play Hopscotch on the Moon. Remember it’s a zero sum game here. The later you leave your landing, the more points you will get. Press too late, and you’ll be hitting a fresh combo with your thumb and the restart button. Pressing never felt so risky.
Speaking of combos, there’s some devilishly difficult but super rewarding new additions to your Tricktionary. These include Manuals, Revert Manuals, Grind Switches, turning your skater the other way (in mid air) and more. I’d explain them to you but I’ve only just got my head round how to do them myself, let alone explain them. Don’t be scared though, you can learn, practice and perfect your craft in the excellent Skatepark section. This is also great for (literally) grinding trophies. Not to mention you also have your own Profile, listing all your stats about how many sick moves you’ll pulled off. This is a God send for trophy hunters wanting to know how close they are to completion. Especially because in yet another step up, this bad boy has a Platinum . You’ll have to break every bone in your body to get it – but it’s nice knowing it’s there. The icing on the cake comes in the form of Cross Save and a bitchin’ multiplayer mode (available shortly after launch) called Combo Rush. Throw all of these ingredients together and you’ve got one hell of a meal.
Roll out the red carpet, because OlliOlli 2: Welcome To Olliwood is fully deserving of its moment in the spotlight. With combos better value than Subway, OlliOlli 2 truly sticks out like a sore thumb, in the best possible way. From where we’re sitting, OlliOlli 2 is an early yet worthy contender for coolest game of the year.
Punk rating: 9.5/10