Darkside Ollie Review – Hello darkness my old friend

4 min read
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So you’ve got a mobile device. You use it to browse rule 34 threads, watch videos and play games that need to be recharged with your credit card every hour. What else can you do with it? Easy answer: Use it to augment some toys. There’s a whole market out there for toys which use tablets and smartphones as a primary controller. Toys which are cleancut and angelic.

Testicles to that. Give me something demonic and that laughs every time I put on a DVD of The Exorcist. Give me the Ollie Darkside.

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Straight out of the box, the Darkside Ollie wants you to know who’s in charge. It’s Satan on wheels, a mini racing device that is surprisingly durable and can take a beating. Operating it is also deceptively simple. Charge it up, grab your tablet or smartphone and install the Ollie Darkside app. From here, flick your Bluetooth on and form a dark bond with the Ollie. And you’re set to roll.

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Think speed. the Darkside Ollie is quite quick, requiring some skill to manoeuvre it when it begins to set a fast pace. Here’s where you really take control. As quick as it may be, the Darkside Ollie is also an agile device, able to make quick turns and screech to a halt with ease. All of this is done via the app, which allows you to control Ollie by making use of a grid pattern and movement options from a PlayStation One era Resident Evil game.

This might be disconcerting to some. There is an option to give you a better choice of control, but the basic option might not be to everyone’s tastes. I managed to get the hang of it, although I had to constantly adjust the Ollie to face the right direction so that I could control it accurately. If you’re using the Ollie in short bursts, it works just fine.

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Anything longer than that, and the scheme can become a tad bit annoying. Other than that though, pulling tricks with the Ollie was actually fantastic. On a separate grid, you can make the little devil do spins, flips and watch it throw a tantrum that would put a toddler in Toys R Us to shame. Combining speed, agility and these tricks is where the Darkside Ollie is most fun.

The unit was also easy to adapt to the outdoors or inside, once I had the right treads on it. It rolled around easily over wooden floors and tiles, took to brick paveways with ease and I spent several nights just rolling it along the tarmac and making it do leaps over a nearby speedbump. Sandy or damp areas may make it struggle, but otherwise the Darkside ollie is a flexible device for wherever you are. Just don’t leave the Darkside Ollie on its own. It gets really angry when ignored.

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It’s also possibly idiot-proof, as it survived several weeks in my uncoordinated hands. “Accidentally” bashing it into other objects, couches, walls and the cat resulted in nothing more than surface nicks. And one extremely angry cat according to the scratch marks on my back. Driving time varied as well, with a full charge via USB granting me anywhere between 40  minutes to an hour while the Bluetooth sapped my mobile device of juice.

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The Darkside Ollie is an expensive piece of kit, make no mistake. It’s a lot to shell out for something that looks like Robocop’s “missing” enhancement and that runs like a bat out of hell. But with that in mind, the Darkside Ollie is still properly fun and can take a serious amount of abuse, if your gadget budget allows you to grab one.

Big thanks to the iStore for sending us a unit to review! Which you can find, right here.

Last Updated: May 13, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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