Lollipop Chainsaw is Suda51’s newest game. The lead heroine is high school cheerleader Juliet Starling. It is her eighteenth birthday and there is a zombie outbreak at her school but that’s no problem, Juliet comes from a family of zombie hunters. So not only does Juliet have her family to help her but her boyfriend Nick, who gets bitten by a zombie and had to be turned into a dismembered talking head to save him, helps her out with his moral support as he hangs from her hip. If those first few sentences sounds like crazy funs to you then keep reading, otherwise this game probably isn’t for you.
As Juliet you will fight your way through hordes of zombies, save classmates and get birthday presents from your family that upgrade your chainsaw and combat abilities. You have three basic attacks: pom pom attack, low chainsaw attack and strong chainsaw attack. You combine these attacks along with your jump to execute various combos. Now you might wonder why you would use a pom pom attack when you have the chainsaw? The reason is to make it easier to go Sparkle Hunting. What is Sparkle Hunting? It is when you decapitate three or more zombies at once. When you manage to do this a cut scene where you see the zombies die in a scene of rainbows and sparkles will be shown. The reason for doing this is that you earn bonus gold zombie coins and platinum zombie coins. These coins can be spent at the Chop2Shop kiosks you find throughout the levels. The gold coins are used for buying new combos, health and strength enhancements, and lollipops that you eat to heal Juliet. The platinum coins are for buying new outfits, music and art work.
The combat system is not incredibly deep since certain combos are overly powerful but killing zombies is still loads of fun. Having a huge swarm of zombies charge you and then taking them out quickly and still managing to strike a cheer pose at the end of the combo is just plain awesome. Not only will you fight standard zombies but you will also have to fight boss zombies at the end of each level. These zombies all have a music theme: punk zombie, hippie zombie, funk zombie, etc. They are fairly typical boss fights where you have to defeat them in two or more rounds to finally kill them. The music themes dictate the style of attacks each boss zombie will use and makes them unique. I never found any of the bosses to be truly difficult but beating them was still enjoyable.
Juliet will do more than just kill zombies though. There are several mini games mixed into the levels of Lollipop Chainsaw. You will play basketball by decapitating zombies and having the heads fly to the hoop. You will play baseball where you project a runner going around the bases as zombies attack him. There are also several mini games based off video game themes like pac man and elevator action.
The part of Lollipop Chainsaw that many will discuss and argue about is the story and characters. Juliet is portrayed as bubbly cheerleader ditz (though she does apparently know Japanese). Her character is so very over the top you can’t even think they are trying to depict a real person. Then there are the zombies who shout insults such slut and whore at Juliet. The insults aren’t always very creative but some are hilarious such as “Now I hate you even more than Carrot Top” but really, they are zombies missing most of their brains so they can’t be expected to have great insults always. The students Juliet saves are all pretty strange or perverted too, commenting on Juliet’s breasts and body, or pointing out their favorite president is Warren G. Harding. It is this completely absurd atmosphere that makes this game so much fun. If you take any of this seriously or as objectifying then you have missed the point of this being a satire of everything it represents. There is no way any of this is supposed to be serious. My favorite line in the game points this out fantastically. At one point Nick asks where the rainbows come from when she kills a zombie and she answers in an almost patronizing voice: “Rainbows from zombies comes from AWESOME!”. Show that you just need to let Lollipop Chainsaws’ B-movie atmosphere take you away and make you laugh and smile.
Lollipop Chainsaw was a blast. It is rather short and shallow (in several ways both good and bad) but while you playing you won’t care. If you can just accept the game as for the wild immature ride it is then you will love it. If you can’t just let your mind go and enjoy killing zombies as spirited chainsaw wielding cheerleader you are going to hate it. I personally found Lollipop Chainsaw as a great time and look forward to going back and getting all the collectibles!
Final Rating: 8/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Playstation 3 (also available on Xbox 360)
Time to completion: 6 hours
Trophies Earned: 20/51
Price Bought at: $44.99
Current Price: $52.45 via Amazon
Recommend Purchase Price: $44.99
Why you should buy it: Killing zombies as a cheerleader sounds like fun!
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Killing zombies as a cheerleader doesn’t spark your curiosity.