High School Is Hell
I don’t typically find myself at an uncomfortable moment of indecision about whether to take a game to the counter and pay for it or not. I might feel a little silly when choosing something clearly meant for a much younger age group or start justifying an indulgent purchase to myself if I know I’m overextending my budget. But Lollipop Chainsaw is that rare game that’ll have me hide it between two other games to bring it to the counter, maybe look around and make sure no one’s watching and that there’s no queue of small children or judgmental parents at the register. Lollipop Chainsaw, with its panty-flashing, cheerleading main protagonist, made me feel like a real creep even when just considering buying it. Kinda makes me want to go in in a hoodie and dark sunglasses, to avoid accusing stares and ridiculing fingers.
Luckily, Lollipop Chainsaw has several things going for it that speak to its artistic value, as well as just plain being a fun brawler. Developed by Suda51’s Grasshopper Manufacture, Lollipop immediately has a certain kind of street cred, a kind of quirky, indie sensibility that you might associate with a Wes Anderson or even a Stanley Kubrick film. Though that might send the wrong message; I’m not trying to compare it to movie royalty.
As it stands, Lollipop Chainsaw is a fun and irreverently tongue-in-cheek action game. Right from the beginning, it’s hard not to alternate between snickering at the ’50s teen-flick soundtrack and guffawing over the starkly contrasting extreme violence of literally chainsawing flesh-eating zombies in half. The oddball humor of the zombie hunter family (especially the Elvis Presley impersonating father) and the severed head of a boyfriend who still frequently quips about his resting place, belted to the hips of the skirt-flipping cheerleader provides, at the very least, a ton of personality to the game that saves it from being a pure teenage misogynist fantasy.
I really did have a pretty good time with the game. I wasn’t necessarily blown away by the combat – brawlers usually are more about button-mashing than strategy to me – but the visual gags and overall style were certainly praiseworthy. The bosses and general flavor of the gameworld was unique and memorable.
I feel like, in just a few words, I’ve pretty much said everything I have to say about this game. The plot was fairly unmemorable, pretty much what you guess it was before playing it is what you got. I’m not the type to go in for competitively trying to post scores to leaderboards or become a tournament-level player, so I doubt I’ll go back to replay levels for higher grades (that pun may or may not have been intended). But perhaps one day I still may go back just to play a uniquely flavored, off-the-wall game – which is pretty much par for the course with Grasshopper Manufacture, isn’t it?