OlliOlli World Preview: Welcome to Radlandia

The critically acclaimed OlliOlli series, known for its masterful distillment of skateboarding down to its most gnarly and necessary parts, is set to return with the release of OlliOlli World next month. And if you for one minute think that developer Roll7 has been resting on its laurels since the release of OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood in 2015, well, there is a reason that the new title abandoned the obvious numerical advancement in favor of something much more expansive.

For the past couple of weeks, ComicBook.com has been playing a preview demo of OlliOlli World, and let's just say that the world of Radlandia earns its name. The previous games' seeming motto of "easy to understand, difficult to master" feels like it has reached yet another level thanks in large part to marrying the previously incredible-feeling gameplay with the new 2.5D art style and overall aesthetic.

The premise of OlliOlli World is itself pretty rad, though straightforward: players try to find the mystical skate gods and reach Gnarvana in order to become the next Skate Wizard as the current reigning one, Chiffon, is retiring. The story plays out from there, with you taking on the role of fresh-faced skate wiz trying to show off their stuff to upgrade from simply being a "skate wiz" to being a full-on, proper noun "Skate Wizard."

(Photo: Roll7)

This aesthetic carries over to all of the NPCs and even customization. Playing through the game unlocks so many different pieces of gear that players can mix and match, and there are a number of different ways to outfit and build your character. It was so overwhelming initially that I actually just hit randomize several times until I found something I liked, but when I did, I really liked it. And when a particular shirt or board unlocked later, simply by playing a level, I swapped in and out as I saw fit.

If you've played any of the OlliOlli titles before, skating feels relatively similar in OlliOlli World. Tricks are accomplished through a relatively painless set of button combinations that largely focuses on the ways in which you are actually moving your character while speeding through an environment to grind, get some air, and generally progress forward. It makes the whole thing feel deceptively simple, but navigating Radlandia's stages can be, if you'll pardon the pun, tricky.

(Photo: Roll7)

There are obstacles, multiple paths thanks to being 2.5D, sidequests, optional levels, challenges, and more to always consider. Any single given level can be played in a number of ways, and I certainly did exactly there. There were times when I sat down and just powered through a level because it was giving me trouble. There were times when I intentionally tried to go off the beaten path, the "Gnarly" route, to see what exactly was going on over there. And there were even times when I simply tried to land all of my tricks perfectly, which is exactly as hard as it sounds.

In one particularly memorable instance, I spent over half an hour simply trying to land a single jump. The jump was at a point after a series of not-so-difficult jumps into grinds, but I couldn't manage to hit the timing right. I'd either completely miss my target or simply slam into the side, falling into the water and being forced to restart my run over. It probably says something both about both me and the quality of OlliOlli World that as soon as I landed it, having stayed up late to get it done, I immediately went to sleep and dreamt of playing more. I'm awake now, of course, but I'm still dreaming of exactly that.

OlliOlli World is set to release for the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam on February 8th. This preview, specifically, was played on PC using an Xbox controller. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the upcoming video game right here.