Lollipop Chainsaw is Grasshopper’s and Warner Bros new insane game from Suda 51; who made the cult classic Killer 7 as well No More Heroes and my recently reviewed Shadow of the Damned. It should be clear that Suda 51 does have a fanbase (including myself) and his games are far from what you would expect to gain wide spread appeal.
Lollipop Chainsaw follows Juliet Starling, high school cheerleader on her 18th birthday. On her way to meet her boyfriend Nick, she discovers that an ominous gothic man Swan has corrupted “San Romero” High School by opening a portal to the rotting world: a decaying world filled with decomposing zombies. In no time what so ever Juliet with her recently decapitated boyfriend are determined to save their high school, with Juliet’s Chainsaw wielding skills and Nicks many talents.
Lollipop Chainsaw plays much like a basic hack and slash game, however many subtle alterations give the game a fair amount of fresh air. Juliet has access to a mix of low and high chainsaw sweeps, stunning pom poms and cheerleading acrobatics that give her that edge against the raving undead.
Most of the core combat is basic; however the game is built around a score attack system, giving players much greater rewards for multiple finishing blows at the same time called “Sparkle Hunting”, this really adds an extra edge to the gameplay, making players think more about how to milk the most amount of coins from a mob rather than just slaying them.
There’re several other ways that assist you in tackling the hordes apart from super moves. They’re always a brief but enjoyable break from gameplay from chainsaw driving to some explosive cheerleading, while most are enjoyable a few fall flat and other are a bit too simple by being left as basic quick time events.
Chainsaw really excels is the boss fights; letting each one be characterized by a different style of music as well fought in multiple forms. These fights really stick out to me as some of the most memorable I have seen.
Chainsaw vomits pop culture references, verbal abuse, comic book art, gore and family values. Lollipop is dunked in layers and layers of nostalgia and nod to so many things, from the abrupt comic book profiles that get pulled out for every new character with their hobbies, to the way whenever a student is saved they blurt out mad phrases like “I’ll make sure to add you on Facebook Juliet” giving a distinctive vibe of Crazy Taxi.
Chainsaw has something else that I don’t tend to see in many games…humour, and thankfully Lollipop pulls it off with flying colours, thanks to Nick and Juliet’s banter to a perverted Sensei always managing to get laughs. The humour certainly isn’t for all but it manages to get a good vibe of odd ball and black comedy something even more rarely seen in games.
The game has stellar sound work bolstering the already to say the least unique style. Juliet is voiced by Tara Strong which really aids in making the character stand out. The game also features and amazing amount of good sound tracks from metal to dubstep and even new wave. The game also knows just the right time to put the song on. It’s certainly always going to be a fond memory grinding zombies up in a combine harvester to You Spin Me Round by Dead or Alive.
Lollipop does just enough to keep the gameplay interesting creating a decent amount of depth and tactics in handling zombie hordes to maximise score potential, however some of the design choice hold the gameplay back. Many of the movements that players are given can be a bit too stiff and work against the idea that Juliet is this nimble acrobatic cheerleader. Many of the mini games as well can be frustrating as well with a few proving to be a bit too much of a hurdle, rather than a nice break to the gameplay.
Lollipop has an amazing style, great voice work, music, comic book style; it really sits forward as one of Suda51 best titles. Many of the cut scenes are burdened with references to spot, jokes and zaniness that you can only normally find in Suda games. One thing that did stick out however was Chainsaw did suffer from a slightly lower graphical polish and a few stiff animations, but these do little to dampen the fire.
Chainsaw in constructed 6 levels making the game last a slightly disappointing 5 hours, this however is not where the game stops, the game features 5 difficultly levels, one of which gained of completion which will test most gamers steel with new zombies. The game offers gallons of collectable songs, costumes, moves and powers ups, all topped off with leaderboards for three different modes; score attack, time attack and medal attack.
Chainsaw for the normal gamer isn’t the best as you’re just looking at 10 hours, if you want to complete very hard, however it’s a gold mine for people dying to beat their mates on scoreboards.
The game really stands out from any crowd; dropped in head first into a pool of great humour and off the wall style the game feels great. Suda 51 fans should find their next haven, however most people might find it difficult to swallow.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.