Lollipop Chainsaw is what you get when developer Suda51 and horror filmmaker James Gunn(who is not new to the zombie genre, having penned the screenplay for Dawn of the Dead) join forces. Featuring Juliet Starling, a zombie hunting cheerleader fighting off hordes of zombies who have invaded her hometown. This is one of those games where you either love it or hate it. And I love it.
With her boyfriend Nick’s head firmly attached to her belt (don’t worry, he’s still alive – it’s a long story) she chainsaws her way through the undead that have overrun her school on her way to meet her tutor, Morikawa. Who reveals that the Universe is divided into three realms: Earth, the Land Beyond Words, and the Rotten World, an infernal realm where demons and zombies reside. It turns out someone has cracked open a portal between Earth and the Rotten World by a combination of black magic and explosives and five rock styled demon zombies (yes, it’s a thing) demons have descended on the world.
The gameplay is pretty average, to be honest. The combat evolves as you play, stating off with a few combos and skills that increase as you go along. It does get to a point once you have learnt all the combos you can simply button-mash your way to the end. You can purchase upgrades, music and skills in “shops” places along the way.
So if the story is nothing new, and the combat is average, what are the highlights? Well, for one, the incredibly funny banter between Juliet and Nick’s severed head – who is as baffled as the audience as to what is going on here. Watching the dynamics between poor Nick and his kick-ass girlfriend is a delight to the sick minded such as myself. The soundtrack is killer (haha get it? Killer? Never mind) featuring Skrillex, Joan Jett and Children of Bodom. Plus these zombies aren’t just your average mindless stumbling corpses. They have weapons, they crawl after you if you cut off their legs and they talk back. Plus, they’re filled with sparkles and rainbows. SPARKLES AND RAINBOWS, PEOPLE.
One of the obvious things about Lollipop Chainsaw is that it is completely over the top. On the surface it seems like your typical “sexist eye candy made-for-teenage-boys” Japanese title. From the opening shower scene to the constant requests from Juilet to please “don’t look up my skirt”, to the sexist insults thrown at her by her zombie ex-classmates, it would be easy to take it at face level. Look a little deeper and you’ll find a very clever dig at those more subtly sexy games that insult the intelligence of gamers in general, regardless of gender. I’ve played almost every zombie game out there, and Lollipop Chainsaw despite it’s flaws HAS given me something new to enjoy. I’m not saying this game is perfect, in fact it’s far from it and definitely is an acquired taste, but it’s worth a play.