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OlliOlli World is reminding us what it’s like to be outside again

Burst into its colorful, lively world

a skateboarder landing a trick on a rail in a colorful cartoon world Image: Roll7/Private Division
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

In the first level of OlliOlli World, I fly down a boardwalk on my skateboard. Riding by, I see people dining outside under large umbrellas along the shore. I land a backside grind while riding a rail over swimmers. Confetti flies on the screen because I just nailed a sick trick. The world is dripping in warm pink hues and turquoise accents. It’s a beautiful day, and everything feels good.

The summertime vibes are part of OlliOlli World, a cartoony 2.5D skateboarding action-platformer coming to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X this winter. It’s being made by Roll7, the studio behind Laser League and Not a Hero (not to mention OlliOlli and OlliOlli 2). In it, you play as a skater who joins a new crew that decides to take a road trip around the whimsical world of Radlandia.

In OlliOlli World, you glide effortlessly along tracks, and time jumps and tricks to pick up speed for more jumps and tricks. (In other words, it’s pretty standard for a skateboarding game.) Instead of hanging out at a single skate park, the game will take you on a grand adventure across Radlandia alongside your friends. Different zones introduce unique mechanics or obstacles. In a PC preview build, I played through a SoCal-like town, as well as a jungle biome filled with giant blue toadlike toads below jumps and bees that hovered overhead.

For the third installment of the OlliOlli series, the developers wanted to take the franchise in a new direction.

“In the previous OlliOlli games people really loved the mechanics but we saw that only a tiny fraction of players ever got beyond the first area of the game, and that was kind of heartbreaking after we’d spent so long setting up all these cool challenges later on in the game,” John Ribbins, creative director at Roll7, told Polygon. OlliOlli World was built with the idea that more players should be able to enjoy the game in its entirety.

OlliOlli World doesn’t turn its nose up at anyone. Sure, I botch some runs, but I always have the option to take an alternate route if I just want to relax and cruise. It feels easy to pick up and learn the game, using just one button to jump while holding the left control stick in various directions to do tricks. As I start, my new crew — which comprises a goofy dad, an aspiring videographer, and their friends — teaches me one skill at a time. Generous and approachable, OlliOlli World feels like I’m being taken in and taught something new by friendly neighborhood kids. Later, I get to meet new, sometimes weird, friends — like a talking fish that gives fortunes.

Ribbins told Polygon that Roll7 wanted to create a “more fully rounded experience” with its return to the OlliOlli games. There’s a fleshed-out world with fun characters, alongside new zones and some lore. You’ll also get to customize your character with cute outfits.

“When you think of skate games historically they can tend to be empty spots devoid of much life,” Ribbins said. “We set out to create a game and a world that hopefully puts a smile on peoples faces!”

These elements, combined with the sense of flying through the world untethered, make OlliOlli World feel like a neat celebration of returning to the outside world again. After a year in isolation, we can all go outside and meet some weirdos. It captures the feeling of bursting out into the larger world for the first time — and the vibes feel right.

The next level of puzzles.

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