Lollipop Chainsaw Review! Sweeter than Candy?
Killing zombies just got cuter! Follow around cheerleader/zombie hunter Juliet Starling and her bodiless boyfriend Nick as she tries to save her school, and ultimately the world, from an evil seeping onto Earth and a crazy goth kid who probably just needed a pal in the first place.
Lollipop Chainsaw pulled me in with the cute zombie hunter and the fact that this game was a zombie button masher but I definitely stayed for how much I loved going back and playing the levels over again, unlocking costumes, and trying to get some achievements in the process. I didn’t listen to the bad reviews I had heard about this game and bought it anyways and I’m glad I did because I thoroughly enjoyed the game inside and out. With only some minor annoyances, it’s nice to have a game that can be played multiple times and still be enjoyed.
Juliet Starling seems to be the typical high school student but on the day of her 18th birthday, a zombie outbreak has occurred. She’s on her way to meet her boyfriend, Nick when she starts battling zombies that have taken over San Romero High School, her alma mater. Juliet gets to Nick but two seconds too late when he’s bitten trying to protect her. Her ultimate love for Nick prompts her to sever his head from his body. She performs a magic ritual that allows his head to remain alive and animated without having a body attached to it and her true origins are revealed: she’s comes from a family of zombie hunters. Juliet carries Nick around with her, his head dangling from her waist, as she continues to fight more zombies while trying to find her tutor, Morikawa. Morikawa explains to Juliet and Nick about the separation of the universe, the realms being Earth, the Land Beyond Words, and the Rotten World. He goes on to explain how someone caused a crack between Earth and the Rotten World with black magic and explosives that caused everyone to turn into zombies. It is revealed that evil Goth high school student Swan was the one to cause the rift between the worlds and he summons five demon lords to Earth. Juliet begins her hunt to exterminate all the demon lords and throughout the cleansing, she encounters her sisters, Cordelia and Rosalind, and her father Gideon. They give her zombie hunting advice and birthday gifts for her chainsaw as she takes down the demons and gets back to Swan for the final battle.
Lollipop Chainsaw is a hack and slash button masher that has different combos that make zombie killing a fun thing to do. The main weapon used is Juliet’s chainsaw that can be upgraded throughout the game by receiving gifts from her family, along with buying combos and increasing Juliet’s stats through the Chop2Shop.zom. Her secondary attack is a pom-pom bash that makes zombies groggy and can be executed faster. The game offers a Sparkle Hunting mode that increases zombie metals and platinum metals you can get in a level, which then can be used for buying combos and other unlockables. Sparkle Hunting happens when Juliet kills three or more zombies in succession and is great for racking up a high score on levels. Juliet has a Star meter that gains power as she slays zombies. When the Star meter is activated, Juliet’s chainsaw is extremely powerful and allows Sparkle Hunting to be easier. Along with defeating the main bosses, Lollipop Chainsaw also offers certain rescue moments where Juliet can receive zombie metals for saving her classmates. You might ask “What can a head do?” but Nick’s head can be very useful when it comes to Sparkle Hunting and with main story progression. Nick’s head can be attached to bodies to help Juliet clear paths or advance further by doing a QTE mini game. You can also collect Nick Tickets and use one of three Nick powers to make zombies groggy or shake his head to get more coins and lollipops. The lollipops are used to heal Juliet’s health and the max amount of lollipops she can carry depends on the difficulty level being played.
The graphics of this game are pretty standard but the monotony is broken up when new characters are introduced. The characters are introduced with a baseball card/comic book styled graphic that usually has funny quips on it. The menu also has the comic book feel to it with how it pops out as you scroll through options. It’s nice to see heads flying and arms being ripped off with a chainsaw and it’s visually pleasing how the rainbows and sparkles really pop out. The game in general looks very real but still keeps its cartoonish atmosphere with both graphics and the overall style of the game.
The sounds of the game were definitely my favorite things about this game overall. There are so many funny moments between Nick and Juliet that makes you literally laugh out loud. Even the zombies say some pretty interesting things and by interesting, I mean off the wall, crude chitchat. You can unlock MP3’s throughout the game and customize the playlist to what you want to hear while playing the game. I liked this feature a lot because I liked some parts of the score more than others. Outside of the MP3 score, the featured artists (including Skrillex, Children of Bodom, the Human League, and the Chordettes) are fun to hear throughout the game. The one thing I can say is that when using the Star meter, it’s pretty annoying to hear the same part of the same song over again. If you can walk away from playing this game without having “Hey Mickey” stuck in your head, pat yourself on the back because you definitely deserve it.
I felt this game was harped on too harshly by most critics when it’s simply a cute game to play. With all the different combos and special modes used to kill zombies, you can really vary on how you take down zombies and rack up on metals. For the achievement hunters out there, I really enjoyed going back and playing the game to increase my gamer score but it was fun to go back and try out new combos on harder difficulty levels as well. The replay value isn’t the highest but each boss has an achievement attached to it that wants you to defeat the boss in a certain way so it’s fun to try and take them out in different ways. When trying to execute certain combos, I felt that the controls stuck too much and I would end up screwing up a combo I was trying to pull off. A lot of the music in the game was very catchy but there were some stages that had overly repetitive music. There isn’t any online play but you can register on leaderboards to compete against friends and other players for top scores. In general, Lollipop Chainsaw is a fun game to play with witty banter between Nick and Juliet, catchy tunes, and a cute way to kill some undead suckers.