Welcome to I’m Still Talking About… My 2015 end of the year feature where I find fifteen games that defined the indie game scene for me this year.  These aren’t the best games of 2015, they’re not the must-plays, they are the games that have refused to leave my thoughts, the games that got under my skin.  For better or worse, these are the games I’m still talking about.

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About two years ago, OlliOlli launched to small wave of critical acclaim, but very few actually remembered the game at the end of 2014.  Sometimes it can be hard to recall smaller games that pop up through the year and don’t get the attention of an Undertale or a Her Story.  It would seem OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood is getting relatively the same treatment.  When the game came out, it’s advocates were quick to point to it as one of the finest examples in platforming outside Nintendo, but again as the year wore on the title began to slip into obscurity.  Well it’s time we gave OlliOlli 2 the credit it deserves.  Roll7, who quietly also launched their brawler Not a Hero this year, have developed a game with incredibly tight controls and addicting progression.  In a year where Activision attempted to bring back the Tony Hawk franchise, OlliOlli 2 did it better.

 

Is it really THAT good?

Yes.  For the first time in this feature, I am telling you the game is really THAT good.  OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood doesn’t boast an abundance of features, modes, or length, but it gets everything it does attempt so very right.

The one drawback to OlliOlli 2? The only mobile device it’s available on is the PSVita.  This is a bummer because the game is so wonderfully designed for travel.  Sitting in a waiting room?  Why not try to best one of your runs or finally complete that tricky Theme Park level?  OlliOlli 2 is a great game no matter where you play it, but it’s the best mobile game on a device very few own.

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So why are you talking about it?

I like a good challenge as much as the next person, but if I’m not immediately tossed back into the mix I quickly lose interest.  OlliOlli 2 does a great job of kicking players back into the game with minimal loading times, allowing players to constantly crave more attempt at the perfect run.

When you first start playing OlliOlli 2, the game appears pretty simple.  The familiar controls of Tony Hawk Pro Skater with a dimension taken away fit like a glove.  But where OlliOlli 2 really gets players is with it’s timing.  Unlike Pro Skater, this game forces players to land their jumps by timing the landing with the correct press of a button.  This gets even trickier when applied to all of the grinding you can do.

The real challenge isn’t getting through the levels of OlliOlli 2, it’s stringing together a chain of tricks, constantly hopping from one grind to the next, attempting to get that perfect run.  This is where you can see OlliOlli 2’s platforming design.  Like a platformer, the game is about timing jumps and navigating a maze of obstacles.  In between this you can worry about your kick flips and other tricks, but first you’ll have to master how to navigate the levels Roll7 have cooked up for you.

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Okay, that sounds alright.  But what is the real reason I should play this game?

Challenge is nothing without reward and OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood is one of those games that true video game players will love to master.  As you get better and better with each run, your fingers growing more sore by the minute, you’ll constantly convince yourself that this next run is going to be the best one.  Each completed stage feels so rewarding you’ll quickly move to the next one hungry for the frustration of failure and the bliss of success which comes with each level.

Any athlete will tell you that practice makes perfect and OlliOlli 2 is all about the practice.  Large level will shrink down to one individual challenge which is giving you trouble and force you to attempt it time and again until you finally stick the landing and quietly emit a triumphant whisper.  There’s no time for fist-pumping, you can’t afford to lose any focus.  Roll7 has already thrown another challenge at you, or suckered you down the wrong path.  But that’s life for a player who desperately wants to prove to themselves that they have what it takes to hang with a game like OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood.

 

So you’d recommend it to anyone?

Oh no, not by a long shot.  OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood is not for the faint of heart, nor those who are lacking in video game acumen. In a world of quick saves and checkpoints, OlliOlli 2 is going to leave a lot of people grinding their teeth as they struggle through difficult levels.  While the game might appeal to a generation of Sonic and Mario players and maybe speak to those who loved Tony Hawk, it’s unlikely to strike a chord with players into more forgiving experiences.  That being said, maybe I’m not giving people enough credit.  Maybe there are more people who would dig the arcade, mile-a-minute style of OlliOlli than I suspect.  I hope so, because OlliOlli 2 is a game that deserves to be loved.a

About The Author

The Glorious Predecessor

As I write this, I am listening to Striking Matches and eating a blueberry muffin. The music is good, the muffin is even better. I dance when I drink and have been known to occasionally free-style rap, none of which benefits society.

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