OlliOlli Switch Stance
OlliOlli and its sequel are nothing new to gamers of all console-credos. The Roll7 developed title made its debut in 2014. I myself didn’t discover the unique skateboarding game until late 2016 when a friend loaded it up on his PS3, trading the controller back and forth as we pushed through the challenges, waiting for our wives to get back from lunch and manicures with the girls. I was hooked. The simple, single button controls and the increasingly difficult levels and associated challenges scratched an itch for skateboarding games I hadn’t had since Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3. Two dimensional, 16 bit side scrolling graphics and a surprisingly chill electronic-style soundtrack are hallmarks to both titles and all at a cost less than your weekly Starbucks budget. The games now make their way to the Nintendo Switch in a combo pack dubbed OlliOlli: Switch Stance (see what they did there?) for around $15.
Takes Me Back
I mentioned Tony Hawk’s line of console titles, but OlliOlli and OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood place their fingers squarely on my nostalgia button for games like T&C Surf Designs on the NES or California Games from PC gaming ancient history. I want avoid using the term “simple graphics” here, because the visuals are polished and sleek despite having a restrained color palette and limited sprites. OlliOlli doesn’t have complex shaders, particle physics or fluid simulations. It doesn’t waste time with upgrading your gear, choosing your brand of cargo shorts or deciding whether or not a mohawk is best for your on screen avatar. Nor does it need to. One ubiquitous boarder, a host of platforms to jump and rails to grind. Straight to the point without any fluff.
Each level, assuming you get through to the end, should only take a few minutes at most. The B button gets your speed up immediately to begin launching into tricks. Jumping, or an Ollie, is performed by pressing down then up on the analog stick. Swipes, rotations and shoulder button presses give flair and earn points in mid-air. Pressing down on the stick before landing on a rail starts a grind and finally landing steadily requires a well timed press of the B button again. The mechanics couldn’t be any easier, but timing where and when you land in addition to chaining together the right combos to complete starred level goals and rack up higher scores becomes the challenge. Bail once and you’ll need to start the level over. Thankfully, Roll7 knew there would be a lot of retries, so one additional button press (X) immediately restarts the level in situations where you missed something and don’t wanna see it through to the end before giving it another go.
I have large hands and the Switch’s Joy-Cons are the bane of my experience when I’m not carting around my Pro controller, but OlliOlli is the exception to the rule. There are no complicated stick roll and button combos here to get my fingers twisted up into each other. I can’t think of another title that offers the same ease-of-use.
Online Or Not, Whatever
This type of sports game doesn’t really scream multiplayer the way other sports games or battle royale shooters all but require in today’s market, but Switch Stance still offers daily challenges served up from the cloud as well as online leaderboards for the ultra competitive. Couch competitions get up to 4 players involved in races and combo attacks. There’s plenty to play without being connected though, making this a great choice for flights of any length, waiting at the DMV, in between classes or during a coffee break. Single player has a combined total of 100 levels, 500 challenges and dozens of unique tricks to try.
I can find little flaw with OlliOlli Switch Stance. You get two games for the price of one. It’s very much a pick up, pass around and play kind of a game that kids and adults can both get into. Plus, the franchise has been a consistent high scoring one since debuting. It’s not without its frustrations: you’re almost certainly going to fail the first few plays of every level unless you’re able to predict the future since the movement is so fast. Occasionally, I questioned why my skater hadn’t ollied when I told him too, instead choosing to crouch until dipping board-first into a pool of piranha. Still, those moments are few and are mostly met with laughter from myself and anyone watching as the skater bounces and flips onto the pavement with a goofy “ouch” “oof” “owee” exclamation with every hit.
Highly recommended and available now, OlliOlli Switch Stance can be downloaded for the Nintendo Switch from the Nintendo E-Shop for $14.99 (U.S.). Visit https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/olliolli-switch-stance-switch for more information.
A review copy of OlliOlli Switch Stance was provided to Media Geeks for review purposes.