Yes, yes, I have unfinished business in the previous year's thread. Whatevs. If I delay this one like I did the other, I won't remember anything at all. So, on we go with the first completed game of the year. OlliOlli
A simpler sidescrolling Tony Hawk? Hmmm, it has the ollies, the grinds, the spins, the flips and the aim for the high score, but I wouldn't really say so. In Tony Hawk, you had free rein in large, open stages and your aim was to get the best high score through the usage of the aforementioned skills and perhaps accomplish some other objectives while you are doing so. Meanwhile, in OlliOlli, you are also performing grinds, flips, ollies, etc on a quest for a high score and maybe accomplishing some other objectives (like picking up a rod of uranium or a cat head).
The difference is that OlliOlli plays like an on-the-rails (pun intended) platformer. You automatically move forwards, you'll have to perform ollies, flips and spins to jump from one platform/rail to another (and also avoid various obstacles) and are completely unable to move backwards and explore the stage. If you happen to perform a bad landing, collide with an obstacle or try to go down the stairs, you'll fall down and get separated from your skateboard. If this happened in Tony Hawk, you could get up, hope that nobody else saw this, get back to your skateboard and hope you have enough time to accomplish the level's objectives. Here, you'll have to restart the whole level again.
Sure, the levels aren't particularly large, but coupled with their design and the not-all-that-hot Vita controls, frustration will become your closest buddy in this game. Simply speaking, there are numerous spots in the game that will require you to perform actions that there is no way you could know beforehands. Since a single mistake will force you to restart the level, this will result in a trial-and-error mess, where you'll never feel like you're really improving, but just memorising the stage's layout. In quite a few cases, it would have helped if you could adjust your speed or stop your skateboard. Too bad that you can't do that.
As for the controls, they are generally simple enough. Press X to gain some speed and perform landings, use the analog stick/d-pad for tricks/grinds and the shoulder buttons to modify or add spinning to the tricks/grinds. You might need to get used to the idea of pressing X to land on the ground and the d-pad to land on a rail, but that's as far as complexity goes. The problems with the controls arise when you'll need to perform some of the most difficult tricks.
Let's just say that trying to do circles with either the Vita's analog stick or its d-pad can be an excercise in frustration. Also, in some stages, where you'll need to land and then instantly perform a trick in order to jump over an obstacle, the Vita doesn't seem to be able to keep up and doesn't register the trick in time. I could also mention that sometimes the game might not register a rail landing correctly, but that might just be me not pressing the d-pad in time.
Now, I'm not 100% sure if the problems with the controls are specific to the Vita version (thanks to its "quality" analog stick) or whether they occur across all platforms, but I'm not keen on becoming frustrated again, so I will survive without having this curiosity satisfied. Full list
Link to the official site: http://www.roll7.co.uk/olliolli