Lollipop Chainsaw Review
Extra Features: Leaderboards
Lollipop Chainsaw is a beat'em up/hack and slash action game developed by Grasshopper Manufacture. The game is directed by Suda 51, who is known for creative games such as Killer 7, No More Heroes and the recently released Shadows of the Damned. Lollipop Chainsaw places the player in the role of cheerleader zombie hunter, Juliet Starling. On her eighteenth birthday, she goes to San Romero High School park to meet with her boyfriend, Nick, and take him to meet her zombie hunting family. Unfortunately, things get out of control and all hell breaks loose as zombies start to attack the school. Nick winds up as a severed head in all the chaos and Juliet must now find and destroy five rock and roll zombies in order to stop the zombie infestation in her town.
At its core, Lollipop Chainsaw is a beat'em action game, and it has a lot of variety in its overall stages. The game has a 3D cell shaded look to it and every stage is full of color and life. Juliet needs to hit zombies with her pompoms to dizzy them then chop them up with her chainsaw. Juliet gains access to several different moves as the game progresses. She will gain several new pompom and chainsaw attacks by buying them from a shop called "Chop2Shop.zom". Gain medals from fighting zombies and you can purchase new attacks and power up Juliet with each of the shops that lie around the game's six stages.
The main enemy in the game is zombies and they come in several varieties such as cheerleader, football player, farmer and several other forms of zombies. Sometimes Juliet will fight bigger zombies that can be much like a mini boss or just a harder enemy than normal. Juliet literally chops off zombie hands and legs until she finally chops off the head or damages the zombie enough to where it dies. A player gains bonus medals for chopping off several zombie heads at the same time. Silver medals are awarded for special kills and these can be used to buy extra outfits for Juliet, MP3s and other types of unlockables. The game's background music can actually be changed with purchased MP3s from the pause menu.
The game offers a variety of mini games such as button tap mini games where Juliet will jump from several zombie heads and slice the zombies as she bounces and there are also button tap mini games where Juliet will place Nick's head on a headless zombie body and have him open up a new path. Each stage has it's own exclusive types of mini games and gameplay variety as well. No matter what I was doing in Lollipop Chainsaw I never did get bored with it on the first time through since it constantly tossed new situations my way.
The game has a total of six bosses that have more than one phase each. Juliet literally chops up each boss as she fights it. The chopping up of zombies and other obstacles is usually done via a button tap command followed by holding a thumbstick direction. Each slicing of doors and zombies is always accompanied by some sort of extra button tapping that always put me in the mood to wreak more havoc!
Lollipop Chainsaw is a game oozing with style from the moment it is turned on. The game is so in love with its overall appearance that it's easy to get immersed in it from the very start. The main menu is full of color and features Juliet riding her bike while a voice track plays. The game features several popular tunes of new and old that completely nail the overall moment they are featured in. The Chop2Shop.zom shop has the "Lollipop" song playing while a player chooses from items and skills to buy and the "Mickey" song plays when Juliet uses her super meter to slash apart zombies.
The game does not take itself seriously at all. It will often use cussing and other vulgar acts during its gameplay and cutscenes in very clever ways. The first boss shouts out cuss words and the letters exit his mouth and try to hit Juliet while she fights him. The game throws several jokes and puns from other mainstream media your way all the time. Tara Strong, who has voiced many other animated characters, offers her voice to Juliet Starling and she does a great job. The voice actor for Nick really stands out as the best in the cast with his hilarious jokes and witty phrases. Add Juliet's family to the main cast and you've got yourself quite the list of comedians to hear.
It's so easy to get lost in Lollipop Chainsaw's overall appearance and forgive it for its flaws, but they are very evident eventually. The game's overall gameplay is average and can get repetitive easily. The game mixes up its gameplay variety, but its core beat'em gameplay feels clunky. The gameplay is not bad, but it doesn't really stand out as being addicting. The camera can also get lost in the scenery of narrows areas or while up against walls very easily. A lock-on can be enabled but it doesn't help out much since you have to constantly keep watch of everything around Juliet most of the time and locking on to a target really messed me up at times since the camera was only focused on one enemy.
Once the game is finished, most of the fun is gone along with it. The only real reason to replay the game is for gaining the leftover achievements/trophies and scoring high on the leaderboards in ranking mode. Ranking mode is basically a story mode with Score Attack, Time Attack and Medal Attack options of play. You can enter these modes and try to beat Juliet's father's score to unlock extra items. The game offers many unlockables that are gained through ranking mode and playing on higher difficulties but all of this requires you to go through the same old stages from story mode, which gets boring pretty fast, especially when the ranking stages have the same cutscenes that you have to skip over or wait to finish.
Lollipop Chainsaw is definitely worth a try for fans of Suda 51 or for any gamer that likes a very stylish game that has a completely original look. It's so easy to forget about the game flaws and get lost in its overall style. The game's presentation deserves around a 9.5/10, but the gameplay is only around a 6/10. The first time through the game can be quite appealing if you're into its overall style, but afterwards, there is very little fun to be had.
+ Very unique overall presentation
+ Good voice acting and music tracks
+ Much variety in overall gameplay per stage
- The beat'em up gameplay is very average
- Lack of replay value
Final Rating: 75%. Playing Lollipop Chainsaw is exactly like eating a lollipop - once you're finished with such a luscious treat, all the excitement is gone but definitely remembered.