Lollipop Chainsaw | Available Now
Xbox 360, PS3 | Publisher: Warner Bros. | Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
It’s taken me a while to get this and get around to reviewing it, but here we are. You, me, and Lollipop Chainsaw. Let me clarify something right off the bat: this is not the game you’re looking for if you want a strong female role-model in the lead role. Granted, you probably knew that just by looking at the cheerleader on the cover of the box clutching a chainsaw with little hearts cut into it. And for all intents and purposes, the game’s dialogue and story are ridiculous. However, despite it’s best efforts to make fun of itself and the zombie-killing genre, Lollipop Chainsaw actually does a pretty decent job at delivering a fun, fast-paced hack-and-slash style game.
In Lollipop Chainsaw (I know, a real stretch for a title, eh?), you play the part of Juliet Starling, an 18-year old cheerleader celebrating her birthday when all of a sudden the zombie apocalypse breaks out. But hey, all is not lost, because without any explanation (until later), Juliet busts out the titular chainsaw from her Felix-Bag-of-Tricks and you begin to carve zombies a new one. You find that your character’s boyfriend is alive, but about to become a zombie, so you proceed to cut his head off, mount it in something that appears to be a neckbrace with a tie on it, and wear it as a belt accessory. Ultimately, you find out that a “rift” has been opened between your world and the “Rotten World” and the gases leaking from the Rotten World are turning your classmates into zombies. So, you need to go on an adventure to save the world in typical fashion.
The story isn’t exactly novel (but then again, what is?) and the game itself won’t exactly win any awards (but then again, most won’t), but it’s still full of visceral fun. Now, the fun will be brief however, as the combat gets fairly repetitive and the move selection - albeit padded by a few techniques that you can purchase from the in-game shop using zombie medals - does tend to wear a bit thin. It does manage to provide a bit of a challenge in places, requiring you to manage yourself while dealing with the zombie hoard or the few special zombies you’ll encounter along the way.
The one big thing about Lollipop Chainsaw that stands out to me, beyond the campy art direction and underwhelming voice-acting, is the disappointing platforming. Lollipop Chainsaw is full of moments where, instead of allowing you to perform the jumps, spins or fancy chainsaw moves you SHOULD have at your disposal, you’re stuck either tapping a trigger key, dealing with quick-time events, or spamming a key long enough to get back up, open a door or jump over something. There were far too many opportunities where I should have been given the free reign to leap on or over something to get to the next part of the level and not had to worry about moving to spot A, pressing the B button and watching my character effortlessly leap where she needed to be.