Every now and then I crave a pure 13 year old boy type experience. Before anyone calls the cops or fires off some hate mail, let me explain. From the eyes of an average 13 year old boy things do not get much cooler than: zombies, blood and guts, hot chicks and loads of action. With the announcement of Grasshopper Manufacture’s (Suda 51) Lollipop Chainsaw, it looked like my prayers were about to be answered.
Lollipop Chainsaw has players assuming the role of super hot zombie slayer Juliet Starling. Not only are you an ultra popular cheerleader dating the captain of the football team but your entire family hunts zombies. Swan, the local Goth outcast at school has somehow opened a portal between reality and an evil world filled with zombies. Juliet must clear 6 crazy levels, each with a Dark Purveyor boss battle. Her boyfriend Nick has fallen victim to a zombie, so before he turns into the undead she removes his head to save him. Nick is now just a talking head that is attached to Juliet’s belt for the duration of Lollipop Chainsaw.
As the title might suggest, there will be a chainsaw involved and it is pretty awesome. Juliet’s main attack revolves around the use of this power tool along with some ninja like kicking and punching. Players will be expected to combine various chainsaw moves with jumps and kicks to defeat the enemy. As you progress, the coins picked up can be used to unlock new moves, upgrade Juliet’s attributes and purchase various costumes.
Players have the choice of Single player and Ranking mode. The later is pretty self explanatory and Ranking mode carries a leader board type set up. The objective is to complete each zone as fast as possible and increase your ranking. There is no Multi player in this title at all. Suda 51’s focus here in the Single player experience and I for one am ok with that.
Initially this hack and slash game has a nice variety of ways to dispatch the enemy. After about an hour in things start to feel a little repetitive. Jump, dodge, slash, pick up coins, rinse and repeat, is probably the easiest way to explain the game play. Luckily there is a pretty entertaining story and some hilarious dialog to enjoy throughout this title. The addition of Nick as the body-less boyfriend adds a perfect amount of humor. This title is adult oriented so please make sure you know what you are getting into.
Controls here are responsive and forgiving. Usually if I missed a button press I could quickly tap it again to complete the on-screen task or combo. As Juliet gets stronger you will have the opportunity to pull off some “Sparkle Hunting”. The objective is to kill as many enemies as possible with one final shot, at least 3. The more you kill the better the reward and score. There is also a nice little animation each time you pull the move off.
Zombies come in all shapes and sizes here. Some will fly, some go boom and others just plain frustrate you. The last group I am referring to are the zombies that turn blue and then charge, knocking you down. No big deal right? Well, you end up having to hammer a button to get up each and every time. So when encircled by a group it only takes a few of these pesky little blue suckers to keep you down as your health rockets towards empty. With the ability to focus your attacks on specific targets I was able to take the “knockdown suckers” out first.
So who the hell was going to tell me what to do with these damn lollipops I keep finding all over the place? Oh, no one was? Let me reference the 2 page manual for more info. Nope not there either. Let’s jump into the options menu and check controls for a clue. Well, that told us nothing. I guess the suckers are just a collectible. I went online only to find that these lollipops are utilized to regenerate Juliet’s health. No where, and I mean no where does it say or tell you how to use these. Thank god for the world wide web.
The boss fights are down right awesome. Does anyone else remember a time long long ago when we had those cool multi-tiered boss battles, and it was fun? The ones where you wear one aspect of the enemy down and then move onto the next until someone wins? Lollipop makes these fun and also creative. Each Dark Purveyor battled is super unique and you never know what the next move will be. These types of battles can also be a massive frustration and seem cheap, which this title never does. I would have loved to see a mode that focused solely on the bosses and their battles.
The game looks great. Detail was taken to make sure each character comes to life and pops off the screen. Some levels feel like retreads and the hallways connecting battle areas are kind of boring. I could not shake the feeling of going from room to room waiting for a mob/boss battle. Luckily Suda 51 is known for adding weird little games and quick time moments to break things up. I especially love the basketball mini-game, which has me cutting off zombie’s heads while they defend a basketball hoop. I am required to shoot the head in and score a certain amount of points before a timer runs out. Just crazy, “who the hell thought this up” fun.
People will complain of stereotypical and somewhat offensive characters but they need to understand, this in intentional and so Suda 51. Shadows of the Damned was another title that played heavily on western stereotypes and succeeded, in my opinion. If you have not liked Suda 51 titles in the past, don’t expect Lollipop Chainsaw to be your saving grace.
The single player campaign is pretty short and easily completed in less than 8 hours. The game is meant for multiple play throughs as your character carries over each time you start a new. The completionist in me wanted to get back in there right away and search out all the hidden lollipops.
So will Lollipop Chainsaw make “the cut” or just be cut?
Great story and characters.
Fun game play topped off with awesome boss battles.
Immersive and imaginative world (so Suda 51).
Where the hell are the lollipops and what do they do?
Short campaign and only one other mode.
Very adult oriented, parents beware.
This game oozes character and fans of Grasshopper’s games will undoubtedly love this one. The quirkiness of the levels and characters may seem a little off at first but in no time you too will be repeating some of the hilarious dialog out loud. This game is a hard sell at $60 if you are not a fan of this developer’s past games. In that case, I recommend renting this title before buying it. The single player campaign is easily completed in one sitting/evening.