OlliOlli

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
OlliOlli Game Poster Image
Fun skateboarding game is loaded with real-world stunts.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Promotes interest in sports, particularly skateboarding. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the skateboard tricks are challenging and dangerous but can be performed in the real world. Kids might be inspired to try them and potentially get hurt; the character doesn't wear pads or protective gear.

Ease of Play

The controls are difficult to master, but the lengthy and thorough tutorial helps. It's possible to play the PC and Mac versions with a keyboard, but it likely will prove  frustrating. Clearly designed to be played with a gamepad.

Violence

The skater frequently bails and tumbles along the ground and over obstacles. He looks none the worse for wear, but lengthier, more violent-looking crashes leave him looking badly hurt, with limbs bent and at odd angles to indicate broken bones.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that OlliOlli is a downloadable side-scrolling skateboarding game. Players control a skater who performs a wide variety of stunts. When he fails, he crashes and tumbles along the ground, ending the run. The skater doesn't wear any protective gear, which might reduce the risk of his injuries. Particularly bad crashes can leave him with broken bones, though the game's retro, pixelated aesthetic keeps his injuries from appearing overly graphic. Most of the tricks have been plucked from the real world. Young skaters who play may be inclined to perform the same stunts, although they should only be undertaken by experienced/professional skateboarders.

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What's it about?

OLLIOLLI is a side-scrolling skateboarding game with a retro vibe that lets players take on the role of a skilled skater who works his way through dozens of courses filled with stairs, railings, and other objects that he can grind and leap over while performing real-world tricks. Each level comes with its own set of objectives, including specific tricks to carry out and score targets, but all you need to do to advance to the next level is complete the current one without wiping out. An optional tutorial provides the basics on movement, and a trick dictionary accessible before each level provides details on how to carry out particular tricks. After working through amateur competitions in five locations, players can engage in an equal number of professional events in the same environments. Once a level has been unlocked, players can play it again with an aim to achieving a high score that will be posted on an online leaderboard.

Is it any good?

OlliOlli's old-school, pixelated graphics may recall those of classic 8-bit and 16-bit skating games -- such as those in EA's 1980s-era Skate or Die series -- but its play mechanics are brimming with modern complexity and nuance. Deft flicks and twists of the thumbstick are required to carry out challenging maneuvers with split-second timing. It's simple enough that rookies should be able to clear most levels without spending hours learning every single trick, but those who put in enough practice will eventually be able to link dozens of grinds and tricks, earning very high scores.

Of course, players who can't be bothered to learn all the tricks will have significantly less fun. The complex controls -- though eventually empowering for experienced players -- aren't very easy to learn and may turn off some players. Still, it's safe to say that avid gamers with a passion for skating will have a lot of fun with this one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sports safety in games like OlliOlli. Some sports require protective equipment. Others are safely enjoyed only after you properly prepare via stretches and exercise. What measures do you take to ensure you don't get hurt playing your favorite sports?   

  • Discuss the differences between professional, amateur, and casual athletes. Athletes competing at different levels have varying skill sets. Why is it important to understand your personal limits?

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For kids who love sports

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