Horror Hoedown Showdown: Lollipop Chainsaw Review

Hey, remember when I did a first impression of this game way back in July? Yeah, it takes me a while to find the time to play games. Be thankful – I still haven’t finished Silent Hill: Downpour yet (though I am on the last level, finally!). But, luckily, this one was short so you actually get a review in less than a month! I know – as a reviewer, it’s pitiful, but you also have to remember, I’m not the best gamer either, so it’s usually going to be take me a little longer to get the job done.

So, we continue the adventures of Juliet Starling, bodacious high school cheerleader and zombie hunter extraordinaire, whose town has been invaded by hordes of zombies that only she and her eccentric family can destroy and save the world from darkness. Can she do it with five major enemies awaiting her at the end of every road? Will there be time for her birthday cake? How are they going to get Nick’s head back on a body? All this and more will be answered in my first ever video game review! Lollipop Chainsaw here I come!

How does one go about reviewing a real videogame? Well, I guess let’s start with the most important parts – level design and combat. I’m the first to admit I am not a fighting-game-pro. I don’t  memorize lots of combos, but rather stick to my five move arsenal. Don’t get me wrong, I can duel it out with most Tekken, Street Fighter, and Soul Calibur fans, but I’m no where near the level of the hardcore gamers. What’s unique about this game is that you don’t learn combos, you buy them, along with everything else, from music, to outfits, and health upgrades. By buying combos, you learn what you want, but you’re also limited, so you need to score higher to get more points. In the game, everytime you kill a zombie, you get a certain amount of of coins, and if you manage to decapitate more than three at a time, what is called “Sparkle Hunting,” you get higher amounts and special silver ones. Because, you know, this game just wasn’t cutesy and pink enough already.

They even bleed hearts! How precious!

You also get weapons, mostly from your family, such as the Chainsaw Blaster, which is basically a portable heavy arterially canon, which is impossible to accurately aim and shoot, because he even it says you’re good to shoot, you’re not. Zombie baseball, which forces you to learn this weapon fast, is the worst mini game ever – I have to try it six different times, and each time I lost, it was always the last base of the final homerun, and it was just that one part that held me over. But the weapon itself is pretty useful You also get a “Nick Ticket” which is when you can throw your boyfriend’s head around like a flail, or shoot it out of the canon, which I hated so I never bothered with it. Most of the time though, it was me and my pinky sparkly chainsaw – how it should be. Not a lot of quick time events which is great, but there’s lot of variety to the different actions so you’re not likely to get bored.

Along the way you collect lollipops, info on special zombies, achievements, and even phone calls, making the game feel a little more involved and a scavenger hunt. After all, if there’s something to be done in a video game, it’s collecting as much shit as they lay out in front of you. I mean, I grab treasure chests and health packs like they are made of solid gold. Does it change anything if you collect all the stuff? No, not really but the names and concept art are a lot of fun. This bad-boy is packed with lots of great production extras, and great art still so it’s a major plus.

The level designs are actually really fun and creative, and take place in boss appropriate areas. The hippie rock boss took place on a farm with psychedelic mushrooms, tractor-mass-zombie-killing, and creepy chickens. The 1950s rock takes place in a cathedral, giving a shout out to its roots in old school gospel music. Hell, the 1980s-1990 electric funk takes place in a giant arcade, where each level is a different halographic side scrollers and has break dancing zombies. Every boss is unique in attack, personality, and mode of fighting.

Funky pimp on a flying machine? Please and thank you.

The music, a mix of cutesy pop, hard rock, electronica, classic tunes are all held together with supplemental scores by Silent Hill musical god Akira Yamaoka. Personally, I loved her single song on here and the fact that you can buy additional soundtracks to personalize the game a little really stood out and is where most of my money ended up going to.

I wish that we got a little more time with the bosses to really get a feel for them, since the fights go by really quick. However, our two main leads, Juliet and Nick are well developed and fun. Nick acts more like a real human boy, hating his condition of just being a head, cracking wise, and ultimately feeling terrible despair at being dragged around against his will, playing the role typical assigned to girls in this genre.

Juliet herself is actually more of a typical teenage girl stereotype than normal, and yet, she’s also incredibly likable. The worst is that she seems brainless but really isn’t and is portrayed to be caring, smart, and confident, but with a game that’s so short, we just get glimpses of it while we’re running around trying to kill as many zombies as we can. I wish there could have been more of her and her family dynamic because it seemed a lot more interesting than just hack-n-slash throughout multiple levels.

The aesthetic of the game is beautiful – I can’t rave enough about it. The detail in the scenery, the objects and costuming are spectacular, and really a labor a love. I wasn’t thrilled at first with some of weird outlines on the characters at certain points, which can make it look messy, until I released it was a throw back to comic book design and drawing, a theme which also when into the many menus of game. It may not be everyone’s cup of tee, but you more so fast, you sometimes can’t even tell. Still, with no lag time, few distortions, and amazing conceptual designs that are unique and stand on their own, this is one great looking game.

Not everyone could pull off a game with imagery like this with such flare. It’s gotta be a Suda 51.

The one complaint I have is while I wanted the game cause it was short and very re-playable, the story mode was just a little too short. I got through it with 5 days of moderate game play time (2 hours more or less), and that’s just a little bit too little plot in what seemed like an incredibly fun, imaginative game. I’m hoping that like No More Heroes, there will be a sequel which will be longer, better, and with no freaking zombie baseball. Never again, Suda51. NEVER. AGAIN.

This minigame is one of the circles of Hell, I’m sure of it.

Rating Breakdown
Presentationwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Great level design, amazing detail on even the silly, most minute details that most gamers don't even care about. Great use of color, and amazing diversity within the game that makes it feel like a really working, moving environment and not just jumping from level to level.
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Buying combos is useful, but also a little limiting, so if you're one of those people who loves memorizing all the combos, you might need to replay the game a bit to get all the coins you need for them all. Otherwise, there can be some delays on the attacks, or you just straight up freeze, but the attacks are also fun, acrobatic, and energetic.
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The art can be a hit or miss per person. I wasn't in love with it at first, but it gets cleaner and better. No major glitches, if any (it's something I don't tend to notice). Honestly, it a game of its generation and it'll probably age well.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The music is top notch, and being able to customize the soundtrack to your taste is definitely a bonus to this multi faceted game. However, as you can't listen to the tracks before buying them, it can be an annoying gamble, and sometimes the hard rock tune would give me headaches, so this portion is a little biased - take it as you will.
Replayabilitywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
If you like fighting games, you shouldn't have much of a problem coming back to this game over and over again, with different outfits, music, difficulty settings, and fighting modes to choose from. The plot is short enough that you could go ahead and replay it a bunch of times in order to get all the hidden extras and beef up your score. If you're not into that, it may have a more limited appeal.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
This is a fun game if you need something easy and stress-free to play on your off time, or maybe if you're just currently between titles. This is a game that can please both casual gamers, but is one I would mostly readily and heavily recommend for fans of brawlers, beat em ups, and Suda51 games in general.

 

Miscellaneous details:
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture (Suda51)
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Notable people involved: James Gunn (writer)
Available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewed on: PS3
Genre: Hack and slash
Rating: M
Release date: June 12th, 2012

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Starshine5050

As just a regular, hard-working work, often-stressing, procrastination-mastering history and journalism student, I often turn to the silver and small screens for relief, even though I'm only an average cinema-and-television loving viewer, commenting on what, and does not, makes good entertainment. I love horror everything - book, TV shows, games, movies - even though they frighten me terribly. I'm a long time believer of the old saying "When life gives you lemons, don't take life's lemons! Give the lemons back!" So, onward I go, returning lemons and logging an unhealthy amount of screen time for your enjoyment. So please be sure to read my stuff and let me know what you think, I'm alway looking to improve and be the best, most cynical critic I can be!

Latest posts by Starshine5050 (see all)

Starshine5050

As just a regular, hard-working work, often-stressing, procrastination-mastering history and journalism student, I often turn to the silver and small screens for relief, even though I'm only an average cinema-and-television loving viewer, commenting on what, and does not, makes good entertainment. I love horror everything - book, TV shows, games, movies - even though they frighten me terribly. I'm a long time believer of the old saying "When life gives you lemons, don't take life's lemons! Give the lemons back!" So, onward I go, returning lemons and logging an unhealthy amount of screen time for your enjoyment. So please be sure to read my stuff and let me know what you think, I'm alway looking to improve and be the best, most cynical critic I can be!

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