OlliOlli

Elegant, understated and yet filled with the capacity for wild showboating, OlliOlli is a twitch classic.

Spotlight

How roll7 made a game that was nearly impossible to beat

OlliOlli's developers on its console debut, and what's next for the London studio.

VideoHere's a fresh look at Vita exclusive OlliOlli

Something to finally oust Spelunky from your handheld?

Key events

Indie skateboarding hit OlliOlli gets PC release date

PC, Mac and Linux versions of addictive indie skateboarder OlliOlli are headed for release on 22nd July, developer Roll7 has announced.

You'll be able to flip a copy out of Steam, Humble and GOG a week today priced 9.99.

The British-developed platformer originally launched in January for PlayStation Vita, and gained rave reviews. PlayStation 3 and 4 versions are also on the way.

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How roll7 made a game that was nearly impossible to beat

OlliOlli's developers on its console debut, and what's next for the London studio.

Dubbing the PlayStation Vita's OlliOlli one of the games of the year might not be saying much when we're only a couple of months in, but I'm fairly certain it'll retain that accolade for me when 2014 is out. A deliciously tactile 2D skater that winds score attack around a set of polished trick mechanics and neat level design, it's the kind of game that can consume entire lazy winter weekends.

OlliOlli review

Mastery of the skateboard and mastery of the twitch arcade game share a fundamental similarity: in each case the goal is to achieve flow, a removal of the friction that exists between the human mind and body. In video games, that means entering a state where you are able to weave unerringly between obstacles or threats without deliberate thought. Your will and your on-screen avatar act as one. In skateboarding, flow is where you physically move through your environment without interruption, grinding along rails, jumping over obstacles and linking tricks together, thereby transforming the contours of a park or city into a single, unbroken track along which you travel.

At times, video games and skateboarding have converged, the sense of flow in the latter replicated in the former. But perhaps never more so than in OlliOlli, a PlayStation Vita game from first-time console game developer Roll7 that's crafted with a keen understanding of the parallels between flow in the physical world and in the virtual. No video game has better demonstrated the skateboarder's talent for viewing an environment's lines and shapes as a canvas for spectacular travel, and few video games have encouraged flow in their player with such breezy ease.

Viewed from a side-on perspective, each of the game's colourful stages presents a meticulously arranged sequence of obstacles, rails and surfaces, all of which can be linked together into a chain of tricks and grinds. As the combo grows in length and complexity, so the points awarded multiply. So too, however, do the stakes. High scores are won by chaining tricks and grinds together, ideally moving though a level in an unbroken sequence before the final landing. But your score won't be 'banked' until you successfully land. Each trick must be punctuated with a safe return to terra firma, else all the preceding showboating will be, quite literally, pointless.

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Side-scrolling skater OlliOlli gets PlayStation Vita release date

Indie developer Roll7 has announced a 22nd January release date for its 2D side-scrolling skateboard title OlliOlli.

The pixel art PlayStation Vita exclusive is the studio's first handheld effort, after previously focusing on PC and mobile.

"As you may know this is our first console title so it's been a big challenge for us to get the game onto PS Vita, but one that has been well worth it (we hope you'll think so too!)," Roll7 director Tom Hegarty explained via the official EU PlayStation blog.

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Here's a fresh look at Vita exclusive OlliOlli

VideoHere's a fresh look at Vita exclusive OlliOlli

Something to finally oust Spelunky from your handheld?

Yes, yes, yes, the PlayStation 4's all super-exciting right now but let's not forget its portable sibling the Vita. It's been a bit quiet on the handheld front of late, though that's set to change with the release of Tearaway at the end of next week and, a couple of weeks later, roll7's OlliOlli.

It's understandable if you're not too familiar with the latter - the work of a small New Cross team making its debut on dedicated gaming hardware, it's a score-minded skating game with a savage difficulty backed up by some elegant mechanics. It's probably best not to think of it as a lo-fi successor to Tony Hawks, but rather the bastard-hard combination of Joe Danger's score attack and Super Meat Boy's tendency to catch you up in fraught and engaging loops.

I got to play it for an hour or so earlier this week, and was left very much impressed. There's no shortage of indies on the Vita right now, but OlliOlli deserves a place alongside Spelunky and the yet to be released Luftrausers as amongst the best.

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New Cross can be a funny place. A handful of miles shy of East London, the capital's hub of wonky hats and haircuts, it's always threatened to be cool, but for every flat white served here there's another reminder that it's never quite made it, for better and for worse. It's modish Shoreditch delivered on an often reassuringly small scale.

Vita-exclusive OlliOlli is an auto-skateboarder a bit like Tony Hawk's but in pixely 2D

Vita-exclusive OlliOlli is a low-key auto-skateboarder that's a bit like Tony Hawk's but in pixely 2D - and you're not allowed to stop.

It's made indie team Roll7, due out this year and it's managed to wangle itself a spot on Sony's Vita stand at E3, whatever that means.

Staying on your board in OlliOlli and clearing obstacles is one thing; doing it in style and chaining together hundreds of tricks for points is another. Levels are randomly generated so they go on forever, and there are hundreds of obstacles to mix them up.

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