A deeper look at Roll7 games OlliOlli

OlliOlli, from British #developer Roll7, is a skateboarding game built on nostalgia and frustration, but both in the best ways.

A look at the menus might remind you of Angry Birds: A series of unlocking levels of increasing difficulty, each marked with a series of stars below them to taunt you, reminding you of how much more there is to do back in those first levels, but the similarity stops there.

OlliOlli is a hardcore twitch game for #Linux, Mac and Windows PC that demands absolute precision from the player to the point where it borders on being game-breaking. The controls can feel a bit clunky and unintuitive, something that’s probably much worse if your fingers still have the slightest memory of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. You will only use a few buttons: The left analog stick is used to trigger tricks, the left and right bumpers give your moves spin, and the X button is used to ensure you land on your wheels instead of your face.

Once that learning curve is surmounted and basic controls are grasped, levels became easy to pass, and the challenges that account for those stars become fun to pursue even when they seemed near impossible.

The game is populated with 25 amateur levels, 25 Pro levels, as well as 50 “spots” and something called the Daily Grind. Amateur levels are unlocked by beating the previous level, while Pro levels require that you obtain all five stars in the corresponding Amateur level. Each level has what’s called a Spot, where you get to execute one combo. Once that combo ends – meaning you touch the ground, whether on purpose or not – the level’s over and your score is up on the leaderboards. Finally, there’s the Daily Grind. Each day, a new Spot is posted. You get to practice it is as much as you want, but then you only get one chance to log a score on it. Whatever your first score is, that’s your score for the day.

Finally, if you can somehow beat all of the Amateur and Pro levels, you unlock Rad mode.

Building on that classic arcade-y feel is a visual style that feels almost like a high definition take on a Sega Genesis game. The color palette and detailed pixel art a reminder of games being played the early 90s, and only the analog stick under the left thumb.

The throwback graphics are more than just nostalgia, though. They are stylish and each of the five environments is memorable in its own right. The simple graphics do a lot to assist the timing-intensive gameplay, as well. They move with a speed that might look out of place in a 3D setting and make those short moments between jumps and grinds easier to work with.

Finally, the game and those visuals are tied together by some very good sound design and one of the best game soundtracks in a game this year. Listening to it not just while playing, but even leaving it on in the background. As much as we have been trained over the years to associate skateboarding with punk rock, the smooth electronic jazz that makes up the soundtrack for OlliOlli provides a perfect backdrop for the constant restarts that come with a game like this.

Reblogged from: technobuffalo

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