Saturday, February 23

Review: OlliOlli Switch Stance [Nintendo Switch eShop]


I remember first playing the original OlliOlli on the Vita and it making a pretty strong impression on me. Now, many years later, I’ll admit it was a pretty happy reunion, as it remains a great game to pick up and play on the go and provides a challenge without losing its core accessibility. The fact that you’re able to play it on Switch, whether in docked or portable mode, and can then enjoy its more refined sequel as well is exciting.


Common to both games is a focus on precision and trying to switch things up in order to maximize your score. Whether performing simple tricks, edge grinding, or trying to chain together and then land a serious combo for the most part the game encourages you to be ambitious and have some fun as well. Each stage has a number of objectives that you can optionally complete that help push you to experiment and master different aspects of play, in particular in the early going these will help you build your base skills that you’ll then continue to leverage as you move further and take on the higher skill levels that unlock as you complete them.


There’s no doubt that the controls are the biggest obstacle you’ll tend to face, especially in getting started. While they’re not necessarily flawed they can be tricky to get accustomed to at first as you try to get down the timing and dexterity needed to stunt, spin, grind, and land a series of moves. That is one area in particular where the sequel really made a great move in introducing manuals to your arsenal of moves as these enable you to much more easily extend your combo chains, just keep in mind that the more ambitious you are with these the more you have to lose with a mistake.


As is always the case with games of this sort the key is really what you’re looking for. These titles lack the variety and craziness of something like the Tony Hawk series but are also far more fun and well-made than your typical stunt-focused title as well. In many regards, even after all these years, I’d say OlliOlli remains the gold standard for the stand-alone stunt game. If offers enough flexibility to reduce the feeling of a repetitive grind that tends to set in with the genre but at its core there’s just something fun about the way everything flows when you get a great run going, even when you then bail on your landing and have to start over again. If you’re in the mood to get your stunts on this is probably your best bet on the Switch.

Score: 8.5

Pros:
  • Fun and challenging play that works very well in portable mode
  • While the controls can be tricky to get the hang of at first once you’ve got them down they feel pretty good
  • Among its peers in the stunt-focused genre it remains at the top of the heap overall

Cons:
  • Visually it’s showing its age
  • If you’re hoping for something more along the lines of Tony Hawk you’ll be disappointed, this is less ambitious and has a simpler stunt focus