March 3, 2015 11:15 AM | Luca Colosso
When I heard of the 48 hour long OlliOlli SkateJam, and its one-word theme 'skate', I started to outline some realistic expectations related to a hypothetical game that I would've enjoyed. Turns out, that I was subconsciously thinking of something really close to Big Green Pillow's entry Manuel. A hectic isometric endless runner that shines particularly thanks to its clean pixel art and intuitive game mechanics.
You control the titular skateboarder, whose name's been chosen specifically to recall the pretty basic move of the manual. For those who are unaware, you're performing a manual when you're running on a skateboard keeping either the front or the back wheels in the air. Thankfully, doing so in here is as easy as keeping pressed alternatively the W and S keys. There's no time to get used to the controls, though, as your run through a twisted track full of strange boundaries and dangerous obstacles is set to start as soon as you hit the Spacebar.
The course is divided in pink and green sections. Each one, can be only traversed while staying in a very specific manual stance that is concisely illustrated in the straightforward intro screen. Other than that, there are steps to jump over, and ramps that help you close big gaps are added shortly after. Like in every endless runner, it takes just one misstep to be sent back to the beginning. Though failing in Manuel, comes also with a rather impressive animation of the little guy exploding in pieces together with an angry message that makes fun of your mistake.
Golden wheels can be found along your way, and whereas it's true that there's no skill involved when it comes to catching them, the score can anyway vary quite a lot from run to run. It's the beauty of the random generation of the track, honestly. But even though every attempt will have its own layout much different from the ones you've seen before, the difficulty increases at such a fast pace that the first problems always show up around the same point in time.
You can give it a try on its itch.io page for free.