Game Review: “Lollipop Chainsaw”

Lollipop Chainsaw is an action hack and slash video-game developed by Grasshopper Manufacture for the Xbox 360, (the console that I played it on) as well as the PlayStation 3. The game was published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Kadokawa Games. It was released on June 12th, 2012 in North America, two days later in Japan, and three days later in Europe. The main-protagonist is a girl going by the name of Juliet. Juliet is a cheerleader with more tits than brains, voiced by the talented Tara Strong. You can immediately tell that the character is supposed to be a parody over the stereotypical teenage girl, because she’s loud and stupid, and for a while, it’s funny. Thankfully though, the character evolves into something more likable before the novelty of it all wears thin. Our chainsaw-wielding dame also has a boyfriend named Nick, who can be every bit as headache inducing, hotheaded, and … other head pun, and these are the ingredients chosen to embark upon the story in Lollipop Chainsaw.

And now, onto the story, … where do we begin.

Here we go: It’s Juliet’s eighteenth birthday, … all of her family are zombie-hunters, while her boyfriend is completely oblivious to that fact, he gets bitten trying to save her, and she decapitates him to keep the virus from spreading. I immediately questioned why she didn’t chop off his arm where the infection was, but I had no questions whenever she used magic to keep her boyfriend from dying. Now, she carries her boyfriend by her ass like a fanny-pack.

I know, I know, strange beginnings, but I believe they really work out all of the kinks when they introduce the villain. Basically, a kid named Swan from Juliet’s school that looks remarkably like Brandon Lee’s The Crow decides that he is fed up with the world and all who inhabit it. He decides that it’s time to hack-in-slash open the underworld, while at the same time, he leaves Juliet with five distinguishable zombie overlords to contend with. All while eating lollipops for health, as well as countless movie, video-game, and music references along the way.

I think I might have answered the question as to why this game got me interested enough to write a review.

Don’t let the summarizing fool you, the game is actually relatively bizarre. And I think a lot of that can probably explain why I had mixed emotions about giving this game a chance. In all honesty, if I heard this premise, I would immediately want to get my hands on something like this on audacity alone, but just looking at the game, it looked as if it was more stupid than weird. As if to say, I didn’t know if was going to be anything more than a one-trick pony, that didn’t know anything else except playing off how attractive, stupid, and scantily-looking the protagonist. I think one of the things that got me really interested in this game is whenever I read that I could unlock alternative costumes like Shiro from Deadman Wonderland or two of the girls from Highschool of the Dead. Which, it’s funny to bring up Highschool of the Dead because that’s actually what this game reminded me of.

For those that don’t know, Highschool of the Dead is an anime that follows a group of friends during a zombie-apocalypse. As a show, it doesn’t really innovate much at all when it comes to the apocalypse story, but it’s actually entertaining to a degree. However, what made it standout is the fact that the animator had actually only had previous experience doing hentai, or anime pornography, so he basically made all of the girls large-breasted and had a lot of … suggestive moments throughout the series, and even had nudity. While I thought in that show, it was stupid, because they played the concept straight and the female characters weren’t actually stereotypical, I think that it’s ironical and amusing in this game. One of the variables to consider is that this game doesn’t have any nudity, and so, while the character is, of course, supposed to sell on sex-appeal, it really does feel like it’s meant as a joke, and not something meant to completely override the rest of the game, which is an all-out parody of several notable musicians, video-games, and movies.

The story doesn’t have too much depth, but it is fun, and isn’t nearly as hollow as what you might expect.

The graphics in this game actually feel more like manga or comic-books than they do anime, and I like it. A lot, in-fact, I would say that the mere spectacle of the graphics is probably the best thing that the game has going for it. A lot of it seems deliberately as a throwback to a lot of older games, from the level-selection layout, the pause-menu, and the actual visuals of the game itself. These components alone really do help to make the experience feel exciting, imaginative, self-ware, and fun.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0