Lollipop Chainsaw is an odd game. Here we have a main character named Juliet, who just happens to be a kick-ass, zombie killing cheerleader with a chainsaw in her bag. It’s all a bit of a co-incidence really, because both her boyfriend and the rest of her school have been subject to a takeover by the undead, so who better to slice them into pieces that this young, Buffy the Vampire style, zombie slayer?
Juliet is mean, sexy and out to celebrate her birthday in the way only she knows how – killing zombies, while also throwing around plenty of sexual innuendo at the same time. It’s complete and utter vulgar nonsense, but it’s also a lot of fun at the same time. In this respect, anyone who is easily offended should probably steer clear, although on the other hand, at least this is one woman who is not classed as vulnerable – no, she’d give any zombie killing male a run for his money.
Throughout the game, it’s hard to ignore the fact that there’s a lot of talk about masturbating and breasts, while the camera also has a tendency to look up her skirt or down her top. It’s frustrating in a way given that the action is a lot of fun, however this game seems to be aiming for one type of audience, so if you want to enjoy the zombie slaying then this is something that you’ll have to put up with.
All the above aside, the main plot at the beginning sees Juliet head to school, before realising that it’s been invaded by the undead. This sees her go on a mission to find her boyfriend and rescue some fellow students at the same time. It’s well known by now that she is eventually accompanied by her boyfriend’s dismembered head, although we won’t spoil what there is of the story by telling you how this happens. Let’s just say that Juliet becomes a lot more fun to play when her boyfriend and his one liners are accompanying her on the missions ahead (no pun intended, ok well maybe just a little one).
As for combat, Juliet uses pom-poms, a chainsaw and a gun to take out zombies. Her movements are quite limited, blending attacks and a dodge function together in order to take out the hordes. Although it is very basic, I actually found the combat lots of fun, thanks to the mixture of fast paced action and the bright colours which appear when multiple heads explode into confetti every time you are surrounded by a street full of dismembered zombies. Sure the enemies are generally just fodder for your chainsaw and the accompanying mini-games are rather lame. But it is fun, honestly.
Depth isn’t particularly a word I’d associate with this game given that it only lasts around five hours, however it does have some replay value thanks to the sheer amount of collectables on offer such as unlockable outfits, concept art and more. In addition, you can buy new chain moves and other items from mid-level kiosks, allowing you to mix things up a little. Although to be fair, it never tends to deviate much from the button bashing theme that continues throughout the game, from start to finish.
One of the most frustrating things is that the levels and missions don’t seem to be very well thought out. This will see you restarting missions often, maybe three or four times, as you once again try to rescue a victim or replay one of the other failed challenges.
If there is one saving grace for Lollipop Chainsaw then it has to be it’s rock-’n-roll soundtrack, which pumps through your speakers during the course of the game. This seems to fit the game’s ‘b-movie-like’ feel perfectly and it makes chopping up zombies in this rainbow coloured world, a whole lot more fun.
Lollipop Chainsaw isn’t the most polished game in the world. The enemies bodies seem to dissolve in a strange manner, while the main set-pieces feel very badly thought out. The visuals and textures don’t feel like particularly much attention has been paid to them either, but in either case, it all seems to fit in with the ‘b-movie’ feel I mention above. In fact, if anything, Lollipop Chainsaw is probably the first of its kind, a b-movie-soft porn-zombie slayer.
Overall though, it’s not big and it’s not clever. It’s not really even designed that well. But is it fun? Well yes, it is actually.
Rating: Average Review Policy (version tested: PS3)
Lollipop Chainsaw is out now. You can order a copy here (Xbox 360|PS3)