January certainly didn't have many games released, but those that did come out served up a healthy dose of fun. Whether we were crossing swords in Nidhogg, laughing through puzzles in Broken Age, or surviving the end of days in The Banner Saga, our gaming hours were happily spent playing the initial batch of 2014 releases.
OlliOlli for the PlayStation Vita triumphs over them all, however, and paves the way for what should be another excellent year. It's also GameSpot's choice for Game of the Month for January 2014 (read more about our Game of the Month awards here). Nothing demanded our attention quite like this portable skateboarding challenge.
There are two ways that you can land while skateboarding. If you're skilled, you land smoothly on your wheels and glide onward like a renegade angel. If you're like us, you land headfirst, bounce, and then slam your back into the concrete on the rebound as you slowly turn into moaning hamburger meat. It's after the 12th consecutive violent crash that you have to reevaluate your priorities. Are you going to take up something less dangerous, like bullfighting? Or take one last shot at immortality?
If you're playing OlliOlli, the answer is always immortality. Upon first glance, OlliOlli looks remarkably simple. And after you sink hours into chasing high scores, that assessment won't change. The beauty of this portable wonder is in its simplicity. You don't have to tap many buttons or remember crazy moves. But to string together an awe-inspiring combo, you need exact timing and the humility to recognize that you're not perfect.
Zipping through courses at top speed, grinding every rail, spinning while airborne, and landing treacherous jumps require sharp reflexes and firm concentration. Considering how often your face meets cement, you need a short memory and a lot of determination. OlliOlli does a great job of alleviating the pain. So long as you don't crash, levels are over in a blink, and it takes only a second to restart after a failed attempt.
Varied objectives ensure you need to keep employing different strategies. Think you can fly through a course without pushing off? Can you land every trick perfectly? Easier said than done. Throw in a host of different stage layouts, and you're always presented with a new challenge to overcome. OlliOlli nabs our first Game of the Month award because it's fast, exciting, and all too happy to kick our butts.
Read our OlliOlli review here.
Read more about our Game of the Month awards.