OlliOlli: Switch Stance would be perfect if not for one minor change

Shoulda seen me in the '90s, I could ollie up a kerb

OlliOlli: Switch Stance would be perfect if not for one minor change

The OlliOlli games are pure skateboarding brilliance, distilled into bite-sized chunks. There's no doubt on that front.

We reviewed them back when the PS Vita wasn't a joke in the industry, awarding the original game a solid Bronze Award and its sequel, Welcome to Olliwood, a magnificent Gold Award. So, when I say they're good, I mean it, and I can back it up.

They are snack-sized moments of skating glory, with you nailing tricks in rapid succession, clearing impressive jumps, hitting sick grinds, and eventually even throwing in combo-chaining manuals when the second game rolled around.

The OlliOlli games are super easy to jump into, noodle around in, and drop when you've had enough. They're basically perfect for playing on the go.

So, when I say I'm disappointed by the Switch version, I want you to know how much it hurts to say that.

OlliOlli: Switch Stance Switch Screenshot OlliOlli Falling Onto A Rail

I will preface what's to come by noting that OlliOlli: Switch Stance is obviously built for a new audience, one that missed out on the games first time around. This is very much an experience for newcomers - there's nothing new in here for old-timers like myself to get excited about.

And technically it all works fine. It runs smoothly in handheld mode, and its simple graphics hold up five years down the lines. All the modes are still here. Landing moves is still as tricky as ever. The game itself is fine.

What disappointed me is something very minor, but something that changes the entire flow of the game - menu navigation.

In the original releases, confirming options in the menu and the "push" button in-game were both mapped to a single button. It meant you could wildly hammer the Cross button on your Vita, and within seconds you'd be in a level, pushing on to glory.

On the Switch, this isn't the case. Confirming menu options is now mapped to A, while pushing is on B. Which, for the console, makes sense - you do usually confirm with A and cancel with B, after all.

OlliOlli: Switch Stance Switch Screenshot OlliOlli 2 Stairs to Wall Gap

But my thumbs aren't wired that way. The rest of OlliOlli: Switch Stance is such a faithful recreation of the original outings that my muscle memory takes over, and before you know it, I've forgotten how to land tricks and I keep quitting to the main menu when I go to try again.

And like I say, this is a very minor change. With enough practice, I could rewire my brain to accommodate the new layout, and I'd be carving up entire levels in one combo all over again.

But it hurts. You can't remap the controls at all either, so it's a case of put-up-or-shut-up. Or write an overly-long feature on Pocket Gamer about it, I suppose.

I'm not saying you shouldn't buy OlliOlli: Switch Stance. Hell, if you've not played the games before, you're a damned fool, and you should pick up this twin-pack of gold as soon as possible.

For returning players like me, however, I'm unsure if I can recommend it. If it were possible to push with the A button, I think that would solve literally all the problems I have with the game. But unless that gets patched in, I instead suggest you dig out your old Vita and give it some love on there.

Ric Cowley
Ric Cowley
Ric was somehow the Editor of Pocket Gamer, having started out as an intern in 2015. He hopes to take over the world the same way.