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Review | Lollipop Chainsaw

The undead have risen, trashed your school, ruined your birthday, and left your boyfriend for dead. What do you do? Where this would ruin the day of most girls and leave them a crying mess, curled up in their bedroom staring up at a Justin Bieber poster for inspiration. But not Juliet. She’s different. She’s a zombie hunting cheerleader who’s not afraid of a few thousand flesh hungry zombies vying after any living human. Oh, and did I mention she wields a whopping great chainsaw that she’s more than capable of using?!

Developer Grasshopper Manufacture apparently watched hours of cheerleader footage to get the movement,s stance and overall attitude correct (Well someone had to do it!) This has clearly paid off because Juliet’s moves and attitude are portrayed brilliantly. She could easily have come from any teen cheerleader film. Amidst the carnage, she’ll throw in a few yells and cheerleader poses and still find time to decapitate three zombies in a row!

Juliet is your typical 18-year-old; she loves shopping, lollipops,  her family, and her boyfriend. All these play a big part during your zombie hunting. Nick, the boyfriend, spends most of his time as just a head attached to her skirt but still comes in handy in certain situations. She has an older and younger sister and they both serve as  help and hinderance during your hunting. Watching her suck on lollipops isn’t just there for visual gratification. They also serve as a health boost. Clever, huh?

Aside from her chainsaw, Juliet will use her pom-poms to strike zombies. While these are not quite as satisfying as the chainsaw, they are useful as they make the zombies groggy which will set them up for devastating chainsaw attacks. It is possible to button mash, but as you progress, the hordes of zombies increase, forcing you to learn combos and build strategies as certain zombies need to be attacked in a special way. Hacking zombies back to the grave is strangely satisfying; almost therapeutic.  Juliet is extremely acrobatic as you would imagine being a cheerleader she jumps somersaults  pirouettes does flying splits this is all visually amazing. This is important because you are rewarded for killing zombies in a spectacular way, the flashier the kill the more medals, if you kill three or more in a row your awarded special medals these are used as currency when you shop. The shop allows you to upgrade Juliet herself, buy health boosts, better more punishing combos and even different outfits!

It’s possible that chainsawing zombies limbs off and sending them back to whence they came could become a little tedious, so the developers have added a lot of variety. Juliet’s chainsaw can be used as a dash move where she runs at high speed pointing the chainsaw to the ground mowing down anything in her path, along the way you collect medals. There all also vaults for her to use this turns into a quick time event, where you can earn medals for gymnastic ability. Certain areas can’t be accessed by Juliet so Nick lends a hand so to speak, this again turns into a hilarious QTE.  The chainsaw itself can also be modified in the form of a powerful gun, so if your tired of slicing and dicing you can go Indiana Jones on the zombie crowds! The screen can become full of zombies if you’re becoming overwhelmed you can activate a kind of hyper mode which increases her strength temporarily.

If that wasn’t enough, mini-games are present in the form of  80s retro arcade fun. Pac-Man, Elevator Action to name a few, even zombie basketball! Grasshopper Manufacture seems to have gone out of their way to keep this from becoming a one trick pony. The mini-games blend in well to the story without feeling tacked on.

This game is a challenge due to the sheer amount of zombies on screen. In order to survive, you have to make space in order to perform your combos. The boss fights are formidable they have certain weak spots which must be exploited. The chainsaw is used to finish them off, as you have guessed, and it’s a blood soaked frenzy. One thing is for sure, these fights are far from being dull.

A minor irritation is the lack of a manual save. Quite why this is absent baffles me. If you die, you will restart at the nearest checkpoint but if your midway through a level – Which are quite long in themselves – and leave the game you will be forced to start the whole level again.

The graphics are well presented in a kind of cel-shaded comic book style, clear and very colourful. The animation on the zombies are executed well (See what I did there?) They run and shuffle as any self respecting zombie should. Grasshopper Manufacture has gone through the trouble of making the zombies varied and detailed enough even with different animation and dialogue.

A special mention must go to the soundtrack its superb and random from the likes of the 1950s classic, Lollipop, You Spin me Right Round, and Hey Mickey. The in-game sound effects are fitting.

This is a fun, action-packed game, similar to the God of War series. It has a lot of replay value as there are still items and upgrades to collect after the game is finished these can all be carried over. With only 7 levels, it could be considered short but the ending does hint to a sequel. Either way, Lollipop Chainsaw can definitely “Stick It”!

Pros

  • Addictive fun gameplay from the start
  • Lots of varied combos to learn
  • In game variety prevents it becoming repetitive
  • Funny storyline and dialogue

Cons

  • Lack of a manual save point
  • Only seven levels so game may not last to long
  • Controlling Juliet can sometimes be a little fiddly

8/10

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