Lollipop Chainsaw review (Xbox 360)
With Lollipop Chainsaw Suda 51 releases his newest wacky game. Who else would get the idea to mix Zombies with cheerleaders, a chainsaw and lollipops?
Starting the game we get a nice video that introduces the player to its protagonist, Jodie Starling. She is the captain of the cheerleader team at San Romero High School. Not exactly the most subtle reference. The first minutes of the game felt really awkward to me. Too unresponsive, too stiff. Those were my first thoughts. “A” Button triggers low chainsaw attacks, “Y” Button triggers high chainsaw attacks. “B” is used for jumping. “X” Button triggers the “Pom-Pom bash” which should be used to stun your enemies for a short amount of time. Unfortunately it rarely does that. It only pushes them away.
After playing the prologue, Juliet’s boyfriend Nick gets infected by a zombie, forcing Juliet to perform an “emergency operation” with her chainsaw. From then on, you have Nick’s talking head dangling at Juliet’s bum. Let’s hope she didn’t eat chili the day before. Nick can be used to perform attacks. To be able to trigger those attacks you need “Nick Tickets” which you can get by either buying them in the Chopshop or by finding them in the levels. To use a Nick attack, you have to press the left analog stick. It occured a few times that I accidentally activated it in the heat of battle! A “Roulette” will start once you press the left analog stick, which you have to stop by pressing “A”. You have no way of directly choosing which Nick attack you want to use. One attack spins Nick’s head around Juliet, hitting every zombie around her. I won´t give away every Nick attack. Have fun finding out what the other attacks are.
More than once you have to saw your way through gates or chain link fences. In order to do that, you press a button and use the analog stick to follow a directional arrow prompted on the screen. Most of the time you have to mash the “X” button to kick the sawed out part away. A few times you have to play mini-games like zombie basketball, zombie baseball or beat a few arcade games in one specific level. After every boss fight, you get a significant new ability for your chainsaw which you will need in the next level, like the Chainsaw Blaster, wich allows you to directly shoot zombies. I won’t spoil the other upgrades you can get but these upgrades are pretty cool and manage to keep the gameplay fresh throughout the game.
For every killed zombie, you receive coins. There are bronze and platinum coins. The latter is only used to unlock bonus content like artwork. The game also features a combo system, rewarding you with a nice coin multiplier. For 3 or more zombies killed in one strike, you get a “Sparkle Hunting” bonus, multiplying the amount of coins per zombie you would normally get with the number of zombies you killed with one blow… I mean strike. After every level you get a “report card” with grades from A+ to D to show how good or bad your run was.
The graphics are good. The comic style, which Suda 51 also used in previous games like No More Heroes 1 and 2 shines through and fits this quirky game quite well. No matter how many zombies were after Juliet’s heavily exposed bum, the framerate didn´t take a hit. And there will be quite a few zombies coming your way throughout a session.
This game truly shines in the audio department! It has awesome music from different music genres that never feel out of place and always fit the mood. You can buy those tracks in-game in the Chopshop and some tracks are gained by beating a level. However, music isn’t the only good audio part. The voice acting is great. Juliet Starling is voiced by none other than Tara Strong, who is famous for several videogame voices (Harley Quinn in Batman: Arkham Asylum/City). Nick is voiced by Michael Rosenbaum, who played Lex Luthor on Smallville. The great voice acting paired with funny and well written dialogue really develop the characters. I would always prefer this confident and funny Juliet Starling over a Lara Croft who moans like she’s in an adult movie!
Lollipop Chainsaw is one of those games that could have been much better than what it turned out to be. It’s not a bad game. While it is fun and did entertain me throughout the 6 hours I took to beat it, the stiff gameplay and short length are 2 bigger issues you have to deal with when you purchase the game. It has no online mode except for a leaderboard. There isn’t really a lot to keep you interested once the story is told. You can try to get a better report after every level. If you are a bit OCD about collecting stuff or having all upgrades, you will have fun with another playthrough. I would not recommend buying it for the full price. Renting it for the weekend or buying it when it’s at $20 is the better way to go!
+ Good graphics
+ No noticeable slowdowns
+ Great voice acting
+ Amusing characters (Except one annoying little sister…)
+ Gameplay is kept fresh by unlocking new upgrades and abilities throughout the game…
- … but too stiff in general
- Game is too short (4 to 6 hours)
- Up to 3 instances of 12 seconds of loading sequences inside the levels
- Most Chopshop upgrades not statisfying due to not adding much