Lollipop Chainsaw Review
I’m, like, a Zombie Hunter!
Suda51 makes some of the strangest, but coolest games out there, and fans of his always love these games, but they don’t usually make it to the mainstream. In that case, many of you might not even know who I’m talking about. Well, the time for that to change is upon us. Lollipop Chainsaw is a Suda51 game, through and through, but is also a game I can see breaking down the barrier between Grasshopper Manufacture and the average gamer. If you pick up Lollipop Chainsaw, you’re going to have fun.
Lollipop Chainsaw tells a stylized tale of a young zombie hunter named Juliet. Juliet is also high school cheerleader who is just trying to get to school to meet her boyfriend on the morning of her 18th birthday, when zombies invade her town. Armed with her bedazzled chainsaw, her boyfriend Nick who is left as just a head through a series of unfortunate events and her family, who are also all zombie hunters, Juliet sets out to save the town.
This story is completely ridiculous but it works very well because, where other games and movies try to be completely campy and fail, Lollipop Chainsaw never tries to take itself seriously. Too many times we see a piece of work like this that ruins everything by trying to be real at times. You’ll never see that here, Juliet never loses her over-the-top, cheerleader style positive attitude in an attempt to be deep or clever, she kills zombies and she has a great time doing it. You’re supposed to like Juliet because she’s a blatant male fantasy, but you’ll end up loving her because of her infectious attitude.
Lollipop Chainsaw is a brawler that has you going after high scores while decapitating zombies. When I first picked it up the combat felt sort of clunky, as if Juliet didn’t want to switch between pop-pop attacks and chainsaw attacks as fast as I wanted her to (yes, I read that sentence and know how ridiculous it sounds). I soon realized though, that combat is all about combos and strategy. Where most brawlers turn into button mashers very quickly Lollipop Chainsaw subtly builds your skills and arsenal in a way that you can’t get bored of.
The engine here isn’t perfect, Juliet can often be hit when you think she shouldn’t be able to and the camera can definitely have issues catching up to you at times. My biggest problem with combat was that Juliet’s attacks could be interrupted by an enemy but she could never seem to interrupt their attacks. Since Juliet can’t block, the only thing you can do is vault away and run back in. This bugged me but it wasn’t major and I still really enjoyed lopping the limbs off of every zombie in sight.
Juliet can stun zombies with pop-pop attacks then finish them off with her chainsaw or mix and match for greater effect. She can also leapfrog zombies and add this into combos. Stunned zombies can be decapitated in one shot so combos are a must and decapitating more than one zombie at once, something the game calls Sparkle Hunting because sparkles and neon hearts pour out of them, will earn you big money. Coins can be used to buy new combos, health upgrades and other collectibles to power up Juliet and shoot for higher scores.
Crazy, multi-stage boss fights top off each level in just the right way. Again, other brawlers have you just pound away on bosses who have huge health bars but Lollipop Chainsaw always mix it up, causing you to change strategy midway through battles and just when you think you’ve finished a boss he may come back for more. The main single player game likely won’t take you more than seven hours to finish but going back with an upgraded Juliet will give you a reason to play through at least once more, and the superb design will make sure that further playthroughs stay fresh.
There are no multiplayer modes, other than online leaderboards, in Lollipop Chainsaw.
It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game that was as thoroughly entertaining as Lollipop Chainsaw is. Suda51’s mature humor is mixed with an exaggerated high school movie in a way that is much funnier than your favorite B movie. If you’ve been looking for a game that’s different than anything you already have, look no further. Lollipop Chainsaw is as fun to play as it is funny to watch.