Categories: Featured, PS3 Reviews, TopImage, Xbox 360 Reviews
Written By: Seamus.CA
The concept of Lollipop Chainsaw is as ridiculously crazy as it is a fun game to play. Main character Juliet Starling is a San Romero Knights cheerleader, comes from a family of Zombie Hunters and on her 18th birthday she goes to school to find that evil spirits have invaded our world and turned her school chums into zombies. The concept may sound lame by today’s standards but it is in the execution of that idea that gamers really get to see the sparkle and charm of this game.
Gameplay takes the form of third-person adventure game with focus on combat and scripted plat-forming. Juliet has three buttons to attack, a light and heavy chainsaw attack, a melee attack with her cheerleading pompoms and of course a jump. As Juliet battles through her linear adventure her time is split between defeating hordes of zombies and playing mini-games that occur throughout the levels. These mini game levels break up the hack and slash gameplay and are quite fun as they can place Juliet on a combine harvester mowing down fields of zombies and then change up to have her standing on a baseball pitcher’s mount as she shoots attacking zombies in order for her boyfriend Nick to safely score a few base runs. There are also a few interesting sections where Juliet’s boyfriend Nick takes over; these sections are controlled via quick time event button presses and, in keeping with the style of the game, Juliet will stand by and cheer Nick on, complete with pom-pom action.
Where Lollipop Chainsaw really shines is in stylizing itself. The developers set out to make a high-school game with high-school humour and in that they have succeeded. The game is bright and colourful, the language is immature and the humour is ridiculous. Comments made by characters are juvenile but comical. There is no better example of this than the interaction between Juliet and Nick. At the start of the game Nick becomes infected and so Juliet has to cut off his head to keep him from turning into a zombie… (this is the least crazy concept in the game). Nick then stays tied to Juliet’s hip throughout the game, commenting on the situations Juliet finds herself in and occasionally helping out during the above mentioned quick-time events. As gamers play through the game Nick will offer up his two cents and ask questions;
Juliet: “What the d**k is going on with all of this crazy stuff?
Nick: “What the d**k?”
Juliet: “It’s my new phrase I invented. Do you like it?”
Furthermore Lollipop Chainsaw is self-aware of its craziness and allows Nick to address this as well. For example Juliet’s chainsaw attacks can leave a streak of bright lights and sparkles behind them and while playing we heard Nick eventually ask “Where do those sparkles come from?” to which Juliet cheerily replied “From Awesome!”
While humour is essential part of this game it is obvious that sexualisation was also an intended main feature of Lollipop Chainsaw. Humour is handled well, apart form a handful of comments from rescued schoolmates, but the developers went a little over the top with the sexualisation of Juliet. There is an achievement/ trophy to be obtained for looking up Juliet’s skirt… which fair enough, it fits in with the tone of the game however we thought it would be more of an achievement to get as many achievements as possible without obtaining this one. Let’s just say we’ve earned the achievement a number of times without it appearing on our gamercard.
Speaking of achievements Lollipop Chainsaw has a few different features to lengthen the 6-8 hour campaign. The main quest contains a prologue and six main stages but these can be played a number of ways with traditional story mode, time attack mode, score mode (all of which have online leaderboards to compare against friends) and there is incentive to complete each level with a high enough score to beat the pre-set high point “Dad’s score.” There are also collectable lollipop wrappers, mp3s (all 80s themed of course) and a zombie scrap book. The scrap book is a particularly neat idea as some creatures will not appear unless a game is played on the hardest difficulty, encouraging gamers to at least try their hands at these modes.
In a nut shell Lollipop Chainsaw in a hack and slash game but it has more in common with games of old like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage as opposed to modern titles like Bayonetta and Vanquish and this is no bad thing. It is a game after all with a simplified objective; kill zombies, kill the boss, move on to the next level. On paper this may sound dull but playing them game is a hell of a fun, colourful and memorable experience.