There are games that go beyond the standards of inventive in game story telling that it sets the bar for every other game in the industry, who tell stories and thrill us in ways we didn’t even know were possible. These games put animators, directors, creators, composer on the figurative map. And then there are the mindless hack-and-slack button-mashers who are just meant to entertain the masses with flashy graphics and quick gameplay. But why can’t the two types blend together?
This game, to be sure, is a visual masterpiece, and has an inventive story and aesthetic. Is it brainless? A little bit. Is it fun? Of course. Does it work? That’s a whole ‘nother questions. Join me on my first look at Suda51’s latest project, Lollipop Chainsaw.
Lollipop Chainsaw, from the creator of No More Heroes, is about a teenage girl who belongs to a zombie-hunting family, and must save her high school, and subsequently the world, from total zombification. She’ll do this with the help of her loving, but eccentric, family and her recently decapitated boyfriend Nick…we hope. I’ve only got through the first major boss battle. And sometimes, it’s better to write about a game before you finish it, before you see all the surprises it has in wait.
To say this game is unique is to say the sky has clouds in it. Suda51 always produces funny, interesting, magnificent games. And this one is by no means a disappointment. The dialogue is funny, ranging on hilarious sometimes, the graphics are clean and crisp, and the soundtrack is a lot of fun. Yes, it is a little bizarre, and has the vocabulary of a trucker (or, where I come from, your average teenager), but has a quirky charm about it.
The gameplay itself is just like the old arcade beat-em-ups. As you can see below in the screenshot, there’s a health meter, power-up meter, score, and radar, all of which don’t obscure the screen, but is still shiny and visible at all times. The system of buying powers, clothes, health, attacks, taking phone calls on your chainsaw, and throw your boyfriend’s head around. There are a lot of quick time events, and also a lot of mini games and time challenges…some good, some terrible. Also, there are the occasional lags and glitches, but nothing distracting. I will say that trying to aim in this game is near impossible, and that your pom-pom attacks are somewhat useless once you master the combos.
My biggest complaint is that the game gives me a major headache from it’s loud, fast-paced gameplay and I found that after an hour, my neck hurt and my head was pounding. And I don’t get easily get motion sick. So, if you’re prone to that sort of stuff, you might want to adjust the sound settings and take a break more often than not to enjoy the game to the max. The comic-book-candy-pop style might also be to blame, but it makes the game so much more fun, you couldn’t hold it against the game if you tried.
As a lady who happens to game (not a girl gamer, mind you, I don’t appreciate the stereotypes associated with that term), you might think I dislike the title character Juliet, a bubbble-brained, big-boobed cheerleader who is essentially everything I’m not and “everything a guy could want,” but I really don’t. Yes, she’s nothing like me, but who is she like? Certainly no one I know. And you can tell that while she’s a bit scatter-brained, she does generally have brains, fighting skills that involve gymnastics and chainsaws, and a kind heart – the girl even speaks Japanese! But just cause she’s a sexy girl in small clothes killing zombies doesn’t offend me. As our awesome editor Judge has discussed several times, more recently in his Courtroom Hitman article, sexy men or sexy ladies in games may sell but we’re not all buying into it or objectify the sexes, we’re in it for the aesthetic value, and to shut our brains off for a while. It doesn’t make me a bad feminist to like this game – why CAN’T a woman wear sexy clothes if she wants to? Wouldn’t making her cover up be setting up women to standard to oppress style, creativity, and fashion freedom? And what of the creators? Would you ask da Vinci to make the Mona Lisa uglier to be more realistic? Or claim that nude paintings objectify the models?
Some people are complaining that this game has short play time, and can be easily finished under 6 hours. However, this is a blessing to me. I am a full time student, with a job, taking Latin lessons, prepping applications to continue my education at a professional level, and my grades, sleep, and social life are all squeezed in so tight to my social life that gaming often doesn’t fit. I just now this summer got to the final level of Silent Hill: Downpour. I just don’t have time anymore for long, arduous games that take up over 30 hours. So this is a perfect fit for me – a game you can go back to time and time again but that is quick to play through.
Overall, my first impression of this game is a very good one, and I would recommend Lollipop Chainsaw to anyone looking for a fun button-mashing good time without having much thought involved, but you might want to wait for its price to fall, as 60 dollars US is a little too much to pay for such a short game.