Title: OlliOlli: Switch Stance
Genre: Arcade, Sports, Multiplayer, Action
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: Teen – Blood, Violence
Release Date: 14/02/2019
Price: £13.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
With over 75 Awards and Nominations including BAFTA Best Sports Title 2015, OlliOlli: Switch Stance includes both OlliOlli and OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood – bringing together the defining Skateboarding Series of this generation!
Making it’s Nintendo Switch debut, OlliOlli mixes addictive one-life gameplay with over 120 tricks and grinds to pull across 50 deviously crafted Levels, 250 Challenges, Spots Mode and Daily Grind. Not enough for you? Complete all Challenges to unlock the super skilful RAD Mode!
Rack up the biggest and coolest combos along the way then time your landing to perfection to rule the Leaderboards.
The iconic skater goes all green-screen with a stunning new look in OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood, plucking you from the street and dropping you squarely in the middle of the big screen’s most bodacious cinematic locations!
The sequel boasts all new Ramps and Epic Hills allowing for monster air and multi-route levels. Further, OlliOlli2’s combo system has been expanded. The joy of Manuals, Reverts, Revert Manuals and Grind Switching gives you more control and expression than ever before.
The hallowed ‘Tricktionary’ also expands with new specials including 540 Shove-its, Anti-Casper Flips and Darkslides.
All of this with another 5 unique worlds, 50 Levels and 250 Challenges to tear through. Daily Grind, Spots Mode and RAD Mode also make a return to top it all off!
Olli! Olli! Olli! Oi! Oi! Oi!
OlliOlli: Switch Stance came with a weight of expectation that I often try to avoid. Ever since the Nintendo Switch release date was announced, there have been large pockets of fans on social media sharing their love for both the self-titled original and its counterpart, ‘Welcome to Olliwood.’ I was excited to see for myself the reasons why it has won more than 75 awards to date, and why it has such a cult following.
Self-proclaimed as the ‘defining Skateboarding Series of this generation,’ the OlliOlli: Switch Stance package includes OlliOlli and OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood. The first in the series, OlliOlli, was released in 2014 on the PS Vita and subsequently ported to all major gaming hardware from PC to PS3, Xbox and WiiU. The sequel, OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood, also made it onto major consoles with very favourable reviews.
Best described as a 2D side-scrolling skateboarding series, both games offer 50 levels each with 250 challenges to complete. For each level, you must make your way from the start of the skate track to the end without falling off your board. If you do, you must start the level again. The reward for making it through is the unlock of the next level. Before moving on, there are five optional challenges to tackle, ranging from ‘complete three perfect landings’ to ‘finish a x25 combo.’ These challenges serve to truly test your mettle and can provide both elation and frustration in equal measure.
Looks and Sounds
Although very similar in gameplay, the visual representation of both games is vastly different. Personally, I believe this to be the main difference between the two, with OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood coming out on top. It is definitely down to personal preference. However, I feel the second has a swagger about it which is hard to ignore. It has clearly had a visual upgrade, and as such, I found it difficult to return to the first once I had played the second. It has to be said though that both have their unique charm, and it is excellent to be able to experience them both alongside one another.
Auditorily, both OlliOlli games offer a soundtrack befitting of the sport, with largely cool, funky hip hop beats accompanying the on-screen action. This is my preferred musical genre for sporting titles; however, I often found myself turning the music off so that I could focus on the gameplay itself. I enjoyed the sweet sound of the trucks of my skateboard hitting metal as a pulled off a perfect grind on top of a vehicle. There are merits to both the music and the sound effects, and are very much welcome here!
Gameplay and Replayability
My initial run at OlliOlli shattered all preconceptions about this series. With its deceptively simple aesthetic, I had envisaged the gameplay being equally so. This is not the case at all. With over 120 tricks and grinds in your arsenal, these have to be mapped to a control scheme somehow! Manipulating the left stick allows you to pull a variety of tricks, and these can change based on a small flick of the stick or a different starting position. I was soon producing combos that Tony Hawk himself would be proud of.
For all the combos I was able to muster, there was one element that I could not and still cannot do successfully, and that is land! The games require you to press B when about to land, and doing so will ensure a smooth transition from air to ground. You are then graded on your landing: sloppy, ok, perfect, sick…to name a few. A relatively simple concept on paper, but my first gripe with the OlliOlli titles becomes apparent. After years of playing skateboarding titles, the control scheme does not seem to compute in my mind. It feels somewhat unnatural to reach for the B button when this button placement would so commonly have been used for an ollie in other titles and on other consoles. Even after a considerable amount of playtime, my mind would slip back into old habits, and my run would be ruined. Personally, I feel this would have been easily rectified by providing the opportunity to edit the control scheme.
Fortunately, persistence prevailed with the control scheme, and after careful study of the tricktionary and a lot of practice, I found that I could access all the games’ had to offer. With regards to content and gameplay options, there is a lot here. The original OlliOlli provides a career mode which includes the levels as mentioned above and challenges, as well as a Daily Grind. This mode is accessible through the network connectivity and provides a different spot each day where you can practice before having a one-off attempt to set the highest score.
The more comprehensive sequel offers much the same, with some additional gameplay options:
- ‘Spots Mode’ allows you one attempt to set one combo on a particular course, challenging others from around the world to beat it;
- ‘Skatepark’ offers a series of tutorials and the opportunity to practice the moves;
- ‘Combo-Rush’ is a local multiplayer option where you can host tournaments with up to four players. You select from timed events to accrue the most points, to a race to the finish line, a one shot biggest combo, or the first to reach the score set.
As a package, OlliOlli: Switch Stance offers a substantial amount. What hinders the quality of the package is the replayability. The game is an enjoyable affair with a depth I hadn’t expected, but it still has the potential to become stale quite quickly. I found it best in small doses, hopping in and out of levels whenever I fancied. This differs from other similar titles I have played, with FutureGrind being one that springs to mind, where I spent hours playing in one sitting. This may tell its own tale; however, there is no denying the fun that can be had with OlliOlli once you know how to play it properly.
To summarise, OlliOlli: Switch Stance is an excellent port of a rather popular 2D skateboarding side-scroller. With two individual games, 100 levels and 500 challenges, there is a lot of content. Couple this with some additional game modes and the opportunity to play local multiplayer, and the reasons for purchase increase tenfold. A fixed control scheme and repetitive action make it difficult to reward this the elusive 5 controller rating, but it is a fantastic sporting title to add to the collection.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase OlliOlli: Switch Stance on the Nintendo eShop at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/OlliOlli-Switch-Stance-1509313.html