Lollipop Chainsaw Review By: Andrew Bohnenberger
Lollipop Chainsaw Review
By: Andrew Bohnenberger
Lollipop Chainsaw is a character action game developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment. The game is a collaboration between acclaimed Japanese developer Suda51 and the Western dark comedy filmmaker James Gunn. Does Lollipop Chainsaw keep the humor and charm of previous Suda51 titles while improving in the gameplay department?
Lollipop Chainsaw is the story of Juliet Starling, a San Romero High School Cheerleader who is from a family of zombie hunters. Juliet must stop the zombie outbreak that is caused by her former Goth classmate Swan. Swan hopes to close the barrier between Earth and the Rotten World because he wants to torment the world and classmates that picked on him growing up. Throughout the story Juliet must stop Swan by defeating five of the Dark Purveyors from the Rotten World that inhabit Earth. Juliet is accompanied by the decapitated head of her boyfriend Nick, her younger sister Rosalind, her older sister Cordelia, her sensei Morikawa, and her father. Nick provides insightful commentary and wit that carries the game and he often breaks the forth wall portraying the players reactions to this wacky game world. The dialogue and writing by James Gunn and Suda51 is the best aspect of this game as it is not only laugh out loud funny but clever and insightful parody of the 1950s like world. The game is a great mashup of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Japanese gore film Machine Girl. Some may find the humor crude and objectifying to women but I think the game is clearly not taking its' self serious and is meant to confuse and shock players by crossing lines. Even if you may not be a fan of combat in the game I feel the comedic elements are enough to make this a unique experience that you will not be able to find in most games.
Lollipop Chainsaw is the most unique look I have ever seen in a zombie hunting game. The bright colors serve as a backdrop to the common dark decor found in most zombie games. The first time you see the screen fill up with rainbows as you saw off a zombies head is a sight I think I will never forget. All the levels are varied and creative interpretations of common locations like a farm, arcade, and high school. Grasshopper Manufacture finds a way to use the Unreal Engine and get away from the signature Gears of War look to make something that really shows the diversity in this engine. Not to mention the music in this game fits the game perfectly and serves as a great zombie slaying anthem that carries you throughout the game.
Lollipop Chainsaw is Suda51 and Grasshopper Manufacture's most mechanical sound game to date. Juliet wields a chainsaw, pom poms, and a chainsaw blaster as her primary weapons in the game. The pom poms in the game are Juliet's light attacks she uses to stun zombies. The chainsaw has two attacks; a low attack which is used to take out zombies on the ground and high attack used to take off zombie heads once they are stunned. The chainsaw blaster allows Juliet to have ranged attacks when necessary. There is a shop in the game where you can buy new combos, health, ammo,and upgrade health and strength. While the combo system and combat are simplified I feel that it did a necessary job of not overwhelming the player with various button combinations while allowing enough variety. There are plenty of mini games intertwined in the experience that serve as a great way to break up the combat sections. You play Zombie basketball where you sever zombie heads and try to get them in a hoop. Shoot zombies in zombie baseball while Nick makes it around the diamond. Also escaping giant ghosts in the funk patrol Pac Man parody minigame. The boss battles in the game are one of the highlights in the game putting you against various types of musical archetypes. Zed is a punk rocker that spews foul words that literally knock you over. Vikke is a heavy metal zombie who has a big bear head attached to him and attacks with a large viking axe that releases lighting and thunder. Mariska is a hippie who attacks Juliet with a maze of psychedelic trips. Josey is an autotuned funk zombie who wears a big pink mink coat and top hat while riding a UFO while he throws pix-elated bombs at Juliet. The last boss Lewis Legend is a Elvis lookalike Zombie who wields a guitar with a machine gun attached and rides a Elephant shaped Mech. The bosses are some of the most creative boss battles I have seen in a game and seems to be one of Grasshopper's trademarks. My only complaint with the combat system is the camera system does not do a good job of staying where the action is and the quick time events don't seem to trigger correctly for unexpected reasons. Also the game froze on me twice in the middle of boss battles on the Xbox360 version. Besides that the game is a blast especially when you chain combos to take out hordes of zombies.
The worst part about Lollipop Chainsaw is that it such a short game. It is not that I don't enjoy 5-6 hour experiences but that this a $60 retail product. Besides the harder difficulties and the ability to replay levels to get a better rating or unlock more abilities and costumes this is a game that you can rent and beat in a weekend. I think this game should have had some type of co-op element especially since you have a family full of zombie hunters that could have been playable characters.
Lollipop Chainsaw is not a game for people who want to look at games as art or who want games to be these big blockbuster Michael Bay experiences. It is a excellent Mid Tier title that finds a way to be unique and outrageously fun. You will not find a game that you will have more of a stupid good ole time with this year.
Rent: This is a 5 – 6 hour game with 7 stages that can be beat in a weekend. Either rent it or wait until it hits the bargain bin.