OlliOlli Two for One on Nintendo Platforms-Review
The original OlliOlli has been out for a while, but has only recently made it to Nintendo platforms, what with the advent of OlliOlli2 on competitor's systems. The basic gameplay is the same, though. Much like an Angry Birds game, while each iteration can improve on the original, you know what you are getting into with OlliOlli, and can still have a good time with the core experience. It's a good time for Nintendo fans to get in on the grinding action, with OlliOlli being the first true "cross buy" experience for the Nintendo camp.
OlliOlli is similar to Angry Birds in game stylings: it is very much made for quick, twitch gaming. Basically, you jump with a flick of the analog/circle pad, have an option to spin with a shoulder button, and you must land with a button press on solid ground. Some of the biggest challenges lie in the fact that if you try to land on a rail, you must hold the pad, and if you choose pad instead of button or vice versa, you'll find yourself bailing. One flub, and it's back to square one. Once you get the patterns down, you'll be able to find a line linking combos through the whole level, racking up sick scores. Even if you master every level, there is a community based "Daily Grind" every day, where you can practice as much as you want, but you get one shot at the daily leaderboard to prove yourself the best. Whilst some masters may top the boards regularly, they have just as much of a chance to fail as you, giving everyone a chance at greatness.
It's honestly a great time for the original to hop over, as the sequel is drumming up interest on other systems This gives a chance for solo-Nintendo owners to still feel part of the group. In reviewing this title, I got to try out both the Wii U and 3DS versions, and also get a feel for what the control scheme was like on PS4 and Vita via the sequel. Sure, you get both games for one price, but do you need them? Without cross-save technology, some games are best left on one system. For example, when I got to review Citizens of Earth recently for Wii U, the idea of starting over on the 3DS was frustrating, even though it may have fit better in my life in a portable medium. OlliOlli, however, is a simple enough game, that it's no big deal starting over. Levels are short and sweet, unlocking new worlds, while challenging, never seems like enough of a hassle to warrant frustration.
Even though the title feels mobile, I have a hard time playing it on a mobile console. The sequel on the Vita feels awkward, but my big hands on the Vita always feel awkward, especially on a twitch game like this. The 3DS faces this frustrating fate for me as well. While the circle pad feels like a perfect setup for the game, I had flashbacks to the horror stories from Super Smash Brothers, where people ripped their Circle Pad right off their unit from forceful gameplay. When the game gets intense, the flicks get intense. Also, the spin button is delegated to the shoulder button, which for me is difficult to hit when I have to hold the console uniquely for my circle spinning. Meanwhile, over on the Wii U, the contoured grip on the back of the GamePad, the molded triggers, and the solid analog stick make me feel more confident in my gameplay.
OlliOlli benefits from the two-for-one special greatly: the 3DS option offers you gaming on the go and a chance to practice, while the Wii U edition allows high score challenges without risking snapping your control setup. If I could ask for anything, it would be to allow button mapping: I would enjoy the 3DS version more if I could put the spin and land buttons next to each other on the face of the unit rather than one on a shoulder, and there's more than enough buttons to allow a few options. The game shows itself through the graphics: it's simple enough to pick up and play, while true gamers will find ways to master for an ultimate high score.
Wii U: 3.75/5
Thanks to the developers for providing a code for review.