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Game Review #174: OlliOlli: Switch Stance (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Roll7

Publisher: Good Shepherd Entertainment

Category: Arcade, Sports, Multiplayer, Action

Release Date: 02.14.2019 Price (at time of review): $14.99

Buy OlliOlli: Switch Stance from the Nintendo eShop here.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater Redux 2D

Before I start in on the game, allow me to say I’m a huge skater fan and have been from my younger years, even if I was never a skater myself. I watched the movies like Gleaming the Cube—check it out NOW—and played skateboarding games as early as NES, such as Skate or Die to PS2’s The Simpson’s Skateboarding. However, the whole world changed when a man named Tony Hawk decided to throw his hat in the rim and make skating games. When his deal ran out with Activison and he walked away from the gaming world, it left a void that needed to be filled that just seemed to go on for years, with no one daring to make a move into the space of skating in sport gaming, as it had been dominated for years. Then came a little game called OlliOlli. Who knew this small indie game could fill that void? But it did.

OlliOlli: Switch Stance is dual pack that has the original game, OlliOlli, which was released is 2014, and the sequel, OlliOlli: Welcome to Olliwood, which was released in 2015. Both games were developed by the British developer Roll7, and are being brought over to the Switch by the publisher Good Shepherd Ent., formerly known as Gambitious. Before making its way to the Switch, OlliOlli had seen quite a lot of platforms spanning generations, on consoles from the PS3 and PS4, to the Nintendo Wii U, and now the Switch. I’m no stranger to the games, and in a world where we haven’t had a new Tony Hawk game in years, can a 2-D skater platformer really scratch that itch? You bet it can, let’s get into it.

Grinding For The Masses

In both OlliOlli and the sequel, you play as a nameless skater that must transverse through levels all while pulling off stunts and tricks for scores in this precision platformer. That’s the main stay of both games, but they are both quite dense and offer a lot for a gamer to be excited about. As I said, I’ve been here before, so I knew I’d love the games, but I was curious how it would feel on the Switch, as I never played OlliOlli when it hit PS Vita or 3DS; and I have to be honest, even being four and five years old now, they aged like a fine wine. Everything is as I remembered. The controls are pinpoint accurate for pulling off tricks—of which there are over 120 in the first game, and over 500 in the second—and there is an in-game virtual book called the Tricktionary that teaches you all the tricks.

As I said, the controls are accurate, but you’ll need to practice and drill to get good. There is so much going on that if you wipe out, that’s it, you have to restart the level. Get used to it, as some levels I had to play over a hundred times to get through and land what I wanted to hit my goals, which we’ll talk more on in a bit. All of the controls are pretty standard for a skater, with the main difference being that, depending which direction you hold the left stick and how it’s released, you’ll do different tricks; plus, you have to B button when landing, and the closer you are to the ground the better. If you’re right off the ground, it’ll be perfect; and if you press it while midair, it’ll be sloppy. All this gets added to your score. It is such a rewarding feeling when you can pull off successful tricks one after the other while crushing these levels in the professional circuit. But, as I said, be patient young grasshopper, this will take time.

Skate Or Die For My Skate Park

Both games have modes (sports, Rad, daily grinds) that can be unlocked upon completion of the main campaign with both having 50 levels and each having over 250 each will keep you buy for a very long time so to say there is depth and replay ability is an understatement. And man hitting the achievements in some of those later levels again is very rewarding and keeps you playing levels over and over and it doesn’t get repetitive or boring.

Now, I have a preference though. I’ve played both and enjoy them both, but I don’t see them as equals. The first game I see as a well-put-together game that I thought was great in many ways, but the second, the developers took everything they learned and listened to the fans, and with their sequel, they made a near perfect game by tweaking a few things and throwing a fresh can of paint on the game.

Speaking of fresh can of paint, the games look great and have aged well, as I said before. The first has a pixel art style that felt old school, like it was ripped from the SNES. The second has a smoother, easier-on-the-eyes graphical presentation that feels fresh, and also sets the games apart from one another. The level designs are where the game really shines, as one minute I’ll be grinding off a stair rail, then later on grinding down a roller coaster. One minute I’m doing a spinning kick flip off a dumpster, then off a giant robot. I’d lean a little to the sequel having the better level design, but they’re done equally well. The audio is also done very well, with a solid soundtrack and perfectly placed sound effects, which really help immerse you in the action.

Before the wrap up, one quick weird thing I noticed was, once you select which game you want to play, there is no way to go back and choose the other game. You have to completely close out the software and go back and manually choose the other game before you can switch. Now, this being the Switch, it does it rather fast, but it was a little odd and maybe they can patch it down the line. It didn’t take away from the experience, I just wanted to mention it in case the devs happen to see this.

P.S.: love your game!

It’s A Wrap!!!

Hmmm.... Am I going to recommend you pick this up? Hell Yeah! This is an instant purchase for skater fans and platformer fans alike. The games have held up beautifully and fill in that huge gap left in our collection and hearts, wanting for a masterfully crafted skater game. Honestly, I’d recommend purchasing this if it was only the second game, but with this being a dual pack at this price, it’s a no-brainer. Unfortunately, there’s no demo at the moment, but it’s been on tons of consoles and won buckets of awards, so take my word for it and grab your board and kick push your way through this amazing game.

Score: 9/10

Buy OlliOlli: Switch Stance from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Sandbox Strategies

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