Lollipop Chainsaw is a hack and slash brawler starring the gorgeous Juliet in the midst of a zombie outbreak. Lollipop Chainsaw has some creative names backing it, including the always great Suda 51.The game throws a lot of ludicrous ideas into a single game and attempts to tie them all together. While Lollipop Chainsaw may offer some crazy fun, the game ultimately misses more than it hits.
The story in Lollipop Chainsaw is a simple and bizarre one. You play as high school cheerleader Juliet who’s secretly a zombie hunter. One day as Juliet rides to school to meet up with her boyfriend, she discovers a zombie outbreak as occurred in her town. According to your Sensei, someone has opened up some kind of portal between Earth and the ‘Rotten World’. It’s up to Juliet to put an end to the outbreak, discover who opened the portal and close it. The story plays out as you’d expect and you do get to meet some crazy characters along the way. The dialogue between Juliet and her boyfriend, Nick, is a little too tongue n’ cheek for its own good, and Juliet herself can be a bit annoying at times. It isn’t until Juliet and Nick meet up with Juliet’s father, when the game has some genuine funny moments.
The presentation is by far the best thing Lollipop Chainsaw has to offer. The game has a very comic book feel to it. The character models all have thick, black outlines, the menus and hud of the game are all illustrated to look like a comic and the world itself is quite sharp and colorful. Juliet has some great animations that complement the action and the game does a good job of putting you in a variety of locals. Unfortunately, many of the environments of Lollipop Chainsaw feel empty and dull. One level of the game has you running around a swamp and it just feels barren and boring. Also prepare yourself for loading times in Lollipop Chainsaw, the game likes to do it a lot. The game loads after every cutscene, whenever you enter or exit the in game shop, and whenever you kill a boss. Granted the load times are terribly long but they break the pacing quite a bit.
At it’s core Lollipop Chainsaw is a hack and slash brawler. Juliet can perform light attacks with her pompoms and heavy attacks with her chainsaw. You can purchase new combos from the in game shop and you unlock a few more weapons as the game progresses. The combat itself may need some getting used to though. Juliet isn’t particularly quick with her attacks, she must complete an animation before starting a new set of moves. There is a certain pacing to the combat in the game. Unfortunately Lollipop Chainsaw becomes repetitive very quickly. For most of the game you will enter an area or a room, kill a certain amount of zombies, unlock the new area, perform a quick time event to get to new area. Rinse and repeat. Lollipop Chainsaw introduces almost all of its gameplay mechanics within the first two stages and after that, the game doesn’t really evolve or change. The game does throw in some mini arcade games in stage four to freshen things up but you will be doing the same tasks through out the five hour campaign.
This doesn’t mean Lollipop Chainsaw can’t be fun though. It’s still quite exciting to tear through a massive crowd of zombies with your chainsaw, trying to pull off sparkle hunters but, the game doesn’t do this often enough. You’ll find yourself fighting around six to twelve zombies at most throughout the game. That’s it. It can get a bit boring and mundane at times. Even with all the combos the game offers you, you’ll be able to just button mash through a crowd effortlessly.
Lollipop Chainsaw has plenty of good ideas but never really dives into them. The game could have been an over the top B-movie but instead, just kind of dips it’s toe in the water. I feel like the game didn’t fully commit to the insane style of the main ideas involved. Lollipop Chainsaw still offers up some fun action if you know what you’re getting into, however, its short campaign and has little reason to play again, other than unlocking Juliet’s bikini costume. If you’re looking for crazy game with fulfilling combat, great visual flare, and tongue n’ cheek dialogue, I would recommend Suda’s last and superior game, Shadows of the Damned.
-Matthew Bruce 2012