Taking a quick glance of the skimpy cheerleader wielding a bedazzled chainsaw on the box, it’s easy to jump to conclusions as to what kind of message and perversions Lollipop Chainsaw might be sending. The blond bombshell on the box might be all some gamers need to warrant a purchase, but there’s much more to the zombie slash-‘em-up.
Lollipop Chainsaw stars Juliet Starling on the morning of her eighteenth birthday. When the game opens, Starling has plans to meet up with her boyfriend and head off to school. Unfortunately, her birthday also happens to coincide with the zombie apocalypse.
In a tragic twist of fate, Starling’s boyfriend, Nick, ends up sacrificing himself to save his girlfriend. Before Nick’s brain becomes zombified, Juliet takes his severed head and runs off on the zombie killing ride of their lives.
The pair constantly have conversations regarding the apocalypse and their own relationship; these discourses are what make the game hilarious. For example, Nick’s head and Juliet have a conversation regarding the possibility of kids, despite a solid chance they’re going to both end up zombies. Throw in some sexual innuendos, and Lollipop Chainsaw’s dialogue is a real treat.
While the cast is entertaining with their frequent exchanges, the game does follow a rather formulaic level structure. Go through some very long levels, and fight a boss. Rinse and repeat. Selecting a level felt like a commitment; once I quit, I didn’t know where the game would auto-load me.
Fortunately, Lollipop Chainsaw’s levels boast variety. From O’Bannon’s farm to inside a videogame, each level embraces it’s own unique feel and a mini-game specific to the level. At the O’Bannon Farm, for example, you’ll be taking out hundreds of zombies chilling in a field.
The bosses at the end of each stage are all very epic and entertaining in their personality, but they lack variety in gameplay. You would think fighting a hippy would be different than a viking, but both bosses follow the same formula.
You may me wondering how Julia Starling takes out these hordes of zombies and boring bosses. The answer is quite simple: with rainbows and the song “Hey Mickey.”
If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. Combat is divided between low and regular chainsaw slashes, pom pom bashes and jumping/dodging. Starling can fly around zombies and destroy them in a single slash, and then combo into a helicopter chainsaw swipe. The goal here is to chain Starling’s moves together to gain enough star power.
Once star power maxes out, “Hey Mickey” screams out of the speakers, and rainbows fly everywhere. Every slash of the chainsaw is a guaranteed decapitation, so players will want to sever as many zombie heads as possible. It’s kind of awesome.
Unfortunately, aside from the ridiculousness of the combat, it’s really Lollipop Chainsaw’s biggest disappointment. While the game draws from great beat-‘em-ups like Bayonetta, fighting never feels right. The flow of attacks is easily broken, and this kills the buzz you get when obliterating zombies left and right.
If you’re looking for a hilarious storyline with a healthy does of ridiculous, then Lollipop Chainsaw may be right up your alley. The novelty of the game itself is worth a look; however, hardcore action gamers might be put off with how poorly the mechanics of the genre are handled. I myself found the dark, sexual and unique humor was enough to justify Lollipop Chainsaw’s price tag.