Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (Reviewed)
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Price: $59.99 – Available Here
Suda51 has been known for making some very unique and sometimes strange games in the past and now that he is the CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture he has been able to release a number of his titles to the world and one of these just happens to be Lollipop Chainsaw. Originally revealed last year it was extremely questionable whether or not the title would actually appear overseas until Warner Bros. stepped in to bring this unique title to North American shores. Can a title as quirky as Lollipop Chainsaw provide an enjoyable experience? You betcha but read on to find out more.
Juliet Starling is a high school cheerleader at San Romero High School who wakes up on the day of her birthday ready to celebrate it with her friends in school and her boyfriend Nick. Her bubbly personality and love of lollipops has made her quite popular in school but she has one secret that no one knows about, and that is the fact that she is a zombie hunter. In the end this turns out to be a good thing however because on her way to school she finds that her whole city has become infested with the undead.
At her disposal she carries her two yellow pom poms and a large wicked (and sparkly) chainsaw that she uses to tear apart the zombies in her way. Unfortunately for her she finds her boyfriend a bit too late as he was bitten by a zombie. Now Lollipop Chainsaw is a game that practically takes nothing seriously so it only takes a few seconds for Juliet to decide that the best way to save her boyfriend Is to cut his head off with her chainsaw and strap him to her hip so he can bounce against her butt. With her boyfriend/fashion accessory in tow Juliet must find the reason for the zombies and put a stop to it, even if she has to battle against Viking drummers, zombie hippies and more.
Lollipop Chainsaw is a wild ride that never slows down for a moment. You have to give credit to a game that will literally never have you guessing what will happen next simply because everything that happens is absolutely outrageous. Juliet herself is hyper sexualized as she runs around in a number of tiny skirts and her peppy attitude never falters, though she seems relatively normal compared to the rest of her family who also happen to be zombie hunters.
It is unfortunate that the game’s storyline is relatively short in length however, as players will likely be able to finish each stage and complete the game in around six hours. However while the game’s storyline may be a bit on the shorter side, there are a multitude of unlockables, high scores to beat and collectables to find. All of these potential unlockables make Lollipop Chainsaw a title that is literally begging to be replayed more than a few times.
As far as colors go, Lollipop Chainsaw has a literal rainbow of colors that can be displayed on screen at any time. There are a number of times Juliet will literally make rainbows appear in the air (alongside gushing blood of course) as she slices through zombies with fluid combo attacks.. The world itself is bright and colorful and each stage is unique and full of different features. The zombies themselves are usually designed to match the stage though they tend to be a bit bland after a while, though the Dark Purbeyors (bosses) are wonderfully designed.
Juliet herself is of course, smoking in appearances and players can unlock a number of costumes to change her into, with some later costumes capable of changing her appearance and hair color entirely. Now while Lollipop Chainsaw may be beautiful to watch, there are a number of hiccups as well as I experienced a number of texture pop-in issues with certain zombies and fell through the floor twice, resulting in the restarting of a checkpoint, though this was thankfully not a common occurrence.
All in all Lollipop Chainsaw earns its M-rating through dialogue alone as the Starling family and the zombies themselves are willing to curse and make blatant sexual references all throughout the game. Ironically given the way that Lollipop Chainsaw was designed, none of this feels out of place and the cast of characters themselves are well voiced by enthusiastic sounding voice actors.
As for the game’s background music, you can literally take your pick. Players will unlock various pieces of BGM as they make their way through the game and can swap out songs they prefer and boy are there a lot of songs to choose from. There are pieces of music that were originally created for the game as well as a large number of licensed songs ranging from classics such as the ever prominent “Mickey” and “Lollipop” to hard rock songs such as “The Way of the Fist” and “Heroes of our Time.”
At its core Lollipop Chainsaw is a simple third-person beat ‘em up game, with players taking out waves of different zombies with Juliet’s chainsaw and pom pom attacks. Juliet will use her pom poms often to deal out small amounts of damage as well as stun zombies into a groggy state, which makes them instantly killable with one swing from Juliet’s fancy chainsaw. Nearly all zombies must be dispatched with Juliet’s chainsaw and those who are able to take out more than three zombies with a single attack will trigger “Sparkle Hunting” which rewards the player with gold and platinum coins depending on how many zombies they killed at once.
Normal zombie kills will usually drop gold coins and players can destroy a number of objects in the environment to discover more gold coins. These “zombie coins” are then used for new attack combos, passive upgrades to Juliet as well as the aforementioned costumes, music and concept artwork. It is worth noting that Lollipop Chainsaw is extremely accessible to even the most fresh faced gamer as Juliet is quite easy to control.
Although she is easy to control, Juliet also possesses a wide variety of attack combinations which range from small button inputs to situational attacks. These combos range from simple to outlandish, with players able to lay out drop kicks, leap frog over enemies and slice them up through the middle or impale crawling zombies with a viscous finishing maneuver.
As the player takes out zombies they will earn stars which begin to fill up a gauge which, when activated, makes Juliet capable of dispatching any zombie (except bosses) with one swing of her deadly chainsaw. Besides this special mode Juliet can also use her boyfriend Nick’s head to perform a number of tricks with the use of Nick Tickets.
Going through each level players will be able to save fellow classmates and take part in various mini-games, though it is unfortunate that some of these minigames can result in a game over if the player is unable to finish them which will damage the player’s all important final score, as well as take on unique and outlandish final bosses called Dark Purveyors.
Interestingly enough, Lollipop Chainsaw contains an ever present score counter which will rack up points depending on how many zombies you kill, how many coins you’ve obtained, clear time and subtract points for deaths. These scores can then be compared to the rest of Juliet’s family, though the final goal is to beat your Dad’s score on each level and unlock a number of extra goodies.
Lollipop Chainsaw is like no other game on the market today. With a story that is never taken seriously, crazy yet enjoyable combat, pleasing aesthetic, varied soundtrack, a cast of vulgar characters to accentuate the game’s story and ease of playability Lollipop Chainsaw is the best title Suda 51 has put out in years. Some may be a bit disappointed by the game’s lacking length, but a number of unlockables and just sheer enjoyability of the title make it more than worth your time.