Lollipop Chainsaw | Review (Xbox 360)
Just a year after bringing us the highly entertaining Shadows of the Damned, Suda51 is back with a brand-new original games. Taking a break from demons (sort of), the crazy Japanese game designer puts us in a world infested with zombies and… cheerleading? As weird as it may seem, that’s what Lollipop Chainsaw is about. Even weirder: these two elements work rather well together. Here are my thoughts about the game.
Lollipop Chainsaw tells the story of Juliet Starling, a young zombie hunting cheerleader celebrating her 18th birthday. Sadly for her, things go wrong as a teenage antisocial Satanist unleashes a zombie apocalypse in the poor girl’s high school. Even worse, her boyfriend gets bit by a zombie and she is forced to cut his head off to keep him alive as her sidekick that she keeps attached to her. Juliet then goes on a quest to stop the evil forces from destroying her hometown, equipped with a cute heart-decorated chainsaw. While all of this might look weird, the game’s strange setting and dialogues are such a blast to hear and see that it’s almost a good thing that most of the game’s cutscenes are not skippable on the first play through. You will laugh at the ridiculousness of the game and come back to it to hear it over and over again.
Lollipop Chainsaw’s gameplay is rather simple and very linear: execute crazy chainsaw moves against waves of zombies to proceed to the next area and repeat. The gameplay feels like a slowed down version of Devil May Cry, but with “stiffer” controls. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing but more fluidity in Juliet’s moves would have been better. It is also possible to upgrade Juliet’s stats and abilities using the game’s store, as well as buying alternate costumes, songs, and concept art pieces. In addition to this, there are also some rather original gameplay sections like any other Suda51 games. You will get to fight enemies on a Pong arena (having to dodge the bouncing ball as you are fighting enemies), collecting keys in a Pac-Man level (while avoiding Pac-Man-like enemies that want to eat your character), and many others.
As it is the case with all Suda51 games, the boss battles are an important and great aspect of the game. Without spoiling much of the surprise, Lollipop Chainsaw’s bosses are totally ridiculous. Not in the way that they are insanely hard to beat or anything like that. They are simply over-the-top stereotyped characters which will make you laugh quite a lot and will definitely keep you coming back for more of their awesomeness. Each of the game’s bosses represents a specific music genre, making them even more special and distinct from one another.
Graphically, the game is not all that impressive performance wise. It definitely is up to recent game standards but it does not crush any expectations you might have from today’s video games. However, the game does shine through its explosion of colors it brings to the zombie games universe. Gone are the brown and dark colors: the game is all about bright colors, pink, sparkles and glitter. While some gamers might be alienated by this strange mix of colors and monsters, it brings a wind of fresh air on the zombie genre that has been rather predictable over the five past years.
The audio front is quite good too. The game’s soundtrack was handled by Akira Yamaoka who previously worked on No More Heroes 2, Shadows of the Damned, and most notably the Silent Hill series. As for the boss battle theme, Little Jimmy Urine (from Mindless Self Indulgence, also voicing a punk boss in the game) was brought on the team with an excellent result of explosive tunes that heavily support the intense combats you have to engage yourself in. Like if that was not already enough, the game’s soundtrack also features some licensed songs including Joan Jett’s Cherry Bomb, Children of Bodom’s Needled 24/7, and even Skrillex’s Rock and Roll (Will Take You To The Mountain).
The game does suffer from some problems unfortunately. The most notable element is that the gameplay is very stiff like I mentioned earlier. You never really feel like you can attack enemies exactly like you would really want to, making it hard to chain combos together easily. Also, the game is very, VERY linear with basically no alternate path letting you play the game how you want. This is usually not a bad thing in some games but it does get repetitive and less motivating at some point. Finally, the game has very low replay value, giving you almost no reason to go through it after you are done with the game’s single player.
Despite that it is not what I would call a AAA title, Lollipop Chainsaw is a very entertaining game. If you are looking for a change from the modern shooters, the prince-saving-the-princess, and all the other predictable video game stories, this game is definitely for you. I would highly suggest you rent it at least, and to buy it if you are a big Suda51 fan. Lollipop Chainsaw is not the designer’s best effort but it sure is not one you should pass on.
- Original and over-the-top story
- Incredibly great soundtrack
- Great boss battles
- Humorous non-politically correct dialogues
- Very “stiff” gameplay
- Rather short game with low replay value
Game experience at time of redaction: Game cleared on Normal difficulty.
Lollipop Chainsaw is available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for $59,99.