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Lollipop Chainsaw (Xbox 360) artwork

Lollipop Chainsaw (Xbox 360) review

"Lollipop Chainsaw is what it is, a Suda51 production featuring a unique style wrapped in basic play mechanics."

In the gameplay department, Lollipop Chainsaw doesn't even try hard to be different from previous 3D hack'n slash titles; you'll fight waves of enemies using simple button combinations ad nauseam, activate a special bar for one-hit kills, lock-on to erratic bosses and evade their predictable attacks, and purchase new, powerful moves from shops. So if you're expecting a game changer from this title, you're in for a huge disappointment.

However, Lollipop Chainsaw shouldn't be dismissed immediately, as the game provides quite a bit of humor and style to keep you enthralled... to an extent. If you have played a Suda51 game, or at least know them, you're going to see the usual suspects here: loads of gore, excessive use of vulgar language, and just a straight-up, bizarre trek. In this plot written by James Gunn, you're in control of a highschool cheerleader, Juliet, who also happens to be a professional chainsaw-wielding zombie hunter. Her skills are put to great effect when, on her birthday of all days, a zombie outbreak occurs in and around her school, San Romero. In just the opening stage alone, zombies are sliced in pieces by the dozen, a bus filled with normal students explode, vehicles crash everywhere, and your avatar chops off her boyfriend's head to save it from his zombified body. Huh? Yeah, she performs magic to keep Nick's head alive.

The game is a rollercoaster ride of silliness, pitting you against zombie break dancers, using Nick's head during spinning attacks, and literally getting stuck in mindtrips where you're forced to fight giant birds. Lollipop Chainsaw is also loaded with pop culture references, new and old, Japanese and American, enough that every person who plays will spot at least one thing they know. People like Justin Bieber and Stephen Hawking are mentioned, a famous Fist of the North Star quote is uttered, and the song Mickey by Toni Basil always plays when you're exhausting the special bar. I was even shocked when Pac-Man Fever started playing at one point! The conversations between Juliet and Nick are amusing, too. Juliet will yell at Nick for being racist towards zombie cows, comments are occasionally made about his head being a fashion accessory, and goofy things are discussed during fights, ranging from favorite colors to pole dancing. There's enough here to make the standard gameplay bearable to the end.

You're not always going to be slicing and dicing throughout the game, though, as attempts are made to add variety, often to varying degrees of success. Examples include running around in a life-size Pac-Man maze while avoiding killer munchers, as well as dashing and jumping off ramps in succession on rooftops. They give you a break from the norm, sure, but I wouldn't go so far to call most fun. The ramps are abused to hell and back in the stadium stage to the point of being obnoxious, and you're even forced to mow zombies using a tractor a couple times in a condensed crop field. Sounds fun until you actually drive the slow-moving tractor that needs to kill anywhere from 100 to 300 undead. Boss battles, though easy, fair much better, offering better enjoyment in their approach. They range from fighting a zombie Viking who disintegrates into a bouncing giant head to a funkadelic pimp who talks with a synthesizer and floats around on a mini UFO with babes.

Lollipop Chainsaw is what it is, a Suda51 production featuring a unique style wrapped in basic play mechanics. I wanted to love the game much more due to its content and approach, but the glaringly simplistic gameplay and flow made the six to seven hour experience a tad repetitive. And the game includes zombies, a threat that's been used way too much this generation. I still recommend checking out Lollipop Chainsaw if you want to be amused, but I wouldn't advise rushing out to get it right away, especially at full price.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (June 14, 2012)

Gomu Gomu no Bō...

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Genj posted June 15, 2012:

I'm about halfway through the game myself and sadly I'd say you're pretty spot on. I find the combat enjoyable and decent but not great. The dialogue, cutscenes, concept, art style and Suda51 weirdness greatly overshadow the actual gameplay. It's absurdly easy so far on normal, some of the mini-games flat out suck (zombie baseball & the combine harvester), the loading times are long, and the audio is over compressed (this really pisses me off because I'm playing the PS3 version). The game was announced only shortly after Shadows of the Damned was released about a year ago. It just feels like it had a smaller budget and short development cycle. Of his localized cannon, I'd say this is slightly above Killer7 but pretty far below No More Heroes 1 & 2 and Shadows of the Damned.
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pickhut posted June 15, 2012:

Funny thing is, this is the first time I've actually played a Suda51 game. I've seen clips and watched some streams in the past for the other games, and just by that alone, even I agree his previous works had more variety, even if they had issues of their own.

This may sound strange saying this about a Suda51 game, but it feels like they were playing it safe in an attempt to appeal to a bigger crowd. Dunno.

Thanks for reading the review! I like the game, but in all honesty, it's something that's been seen before. Dug the style (concept, music, art, etc), though.
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zippdementia posted June 16, 2012:

Nice review, Pickhut. How does it control? Pretty smooth? I hadn't heard of this game (I've been out of the loop) but it sounds like it has great style. Also sounds like it falls into the classic hack-and-slasher trap of being repetitive.
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pickhut posted June 16, 2012:

Plays basically like any other decent hack 'n slash game that's been released in the past, so no issues with the controls if you've played those before.
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Genj posted June 17, 2012:

It actually doesn't feel all that repetitive your first playthrough mainly because the game does enough in the way of diversions from combat to break it up (anything from mini games of varying quality to short QTE-ish button prompts) and the game is only 5-6 hours. On my second playthrough, it does feel a lot more repetitive now that I can spam a lot of the same overpowered combos. I mean, it's not a good thing that it's best described as a higher budget Onechanbara. This game is going to bomb, so it's best to wait for it to drop price.
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pickhut posted June 17, 2012:

I dunno, once I got the spinning attack during the stadium stage in my first run, I pretty much spammed that attack the most, even when I bought other attacks later. It just felt easier to pull off compared to the more powerful attacks that required at least 7 button presses to perform.
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Genj posted June 17, 2012:

The bigger combos are better for Sparkle Hunting and farming Platinum Medals.
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pickhut posted June 17, 2012:

That's true, but I do find it hard replaying the game for another full go just to unlock costumes, pictures, and getting better grades. The game's fun, but not THAT fun. :
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JujuZombie posted July 08, 2012:

Good review, I really enjoyed the game. The style and humor is great, and I love spotting all these off the wall references it keeps making to so much stuff, like you mentioned. (lol, Fulci Fun Center)
I agree, the minigames are a pain in the ass mostly, I didn't find many of them fun, except the combine one. It's completely pointless, but I thought it was fun lol.
I've almost got all the trophies now, and I'm still having fun with it.
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pickhut posted July 08, 2012:

Thanks for reading!

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