First Impressions: Rolling with the PS4 Port of Skating Smash OlliOlli
Posted by Sammy Barker
Deck the mall
We won’t need to expend too many sentences to summarise the PlayStation 4 port of Roll7’s surprisingly strong skateboarding sim OlliOlli: it’s the PlayStation Vita game amplified to the size of your television screen. Rather than develop the title in-house, the British-based studio has offloaded the heavy lifting to BlitWorks, the Spanish port specialists most recently responsible for the PlayStation versions of Polytron’s puzzle platformer Fez.
Given the company’s pedigree for pixel perfect conversions, it’s not overly surprising that the abovementioned cool boarder looks more groomed than a pop punk band on Sony’s next-gen system. Freed from the shackles of the Japanese giant’s portable platform, you’re able to analyse every piece of 8-bit scenery without squinting at a five-inch display. Of course, anyone that’s played the original will know that you won’t have time to dawdle once you hit the tarmac.
Rather than focus on cassette collection and bad full-motion video cutscenes, this extreme sports excursion plays like an amalgamation of endless runner Canabalt and stick fiddler Skate. Taking place from a sidescrolling perspective, you must carefully caress the left analogue stick like a pierced nipple in order to execute kickflips, shove-its, and all other types of dizzying tricks. Linking flicks with grinds allows you to keep your combo alive, with perfectly timed slides giving you a speed boost.
OlliOlli looks more groomed than a pop punk band on Sony’s next-gen super machine
The twist in this physics defying rad-‘em-up is that you’ll need to bank your moves in order to score big, bringing some Anne Robinson-esque risk/reward action to the scabby kneed proceedings. Do you store your combo when you’ve got a nice flat surface in front of you, or risk that nearby dumpster for a world beating score? This whole format is accentuated by the Daily Grind mode, which gives you one opportunity to show your skills to the world. Eminem would be proud.
Despite this points-based emphasis, a big issue with the original release was that you couldn’t compare scores with friends. Instead, it simply showed you the current globe leader and your overall position in the charts – an oversight greater than a ska group without a three piece brass band. While the developer’s not confirming that this will be rectified, a wry smile from one of the studio’s employees suggests that a solution’s in the works, and will be patched into the handheld version to boot.
Without wanting to drag this article out like a Green Day concept album, we suppose that we should stress that the gameplay translates great to the DualShock 4. The slightly longer sticks mean that you need to move your thumb a little further than on the Vita version, but the snappy, tactile feel of the original remains intact. Quick restarts are accessible by tapping circle, which you’ll need to push often as you get intimate with the ground.
Whether or not the port will tempt you into a second purchase will probably depend on your appreciation of the original, but we can confirm that it’s shaping up to be a rock solid port. The title’s also due out on the PlayStation 3, which we assume will offer the same experience as described above, albeit with the DualShock 3’s slightly looser sticks. Regardless, in the absence of a true next-gen Tony Hawk title, it seems that skaters may finally have a reason to bail from their local supermarket’s car park.
Are all of these PS4 ports really grinding your gears, or is this one game that you’ve been waiting to play? Show us your piercings in the comments section below.