Suda 51’s got a new game coming out pretty soon. That game is called Lollipop Chainsaw.
I played that game and now this is what I thought about it.
As with most Suda 51 games, the set-up is just as important as the game itself. So here it goes;
You play as Juliet Starling, a high-school cheerleader in San Romero, a fictional town in an alternate California. An alternate California FULL OF ZOMBIES! It turns out that one of Juliet’s class-mates has a thing for the undead and as a result has awoken a whole manner of re-animated corpses. Juliet needs to fight through the hordes, taking on eccentric bosses. Using her pom-poms and chainsaw Juliet will need to send these creatures back to their graves.
Juliet won’t be going through this alone though. Her two sisters are there to help throughout the game, though they’re not playable. Adding to the cast is your boyfriend, Nick. He has a somewhat tragic story as he was bitten during the outbreak. To stop him transforming into a shambling mess, Juliet did what any caring girlfriend would do. She chopped off his head and now has him attached to her waist.
As you may already be able to tell, the characters in the game are pretty lively. Nick and Juliet are happy to throw out a quip or two, though these can get repetitive. The bosses are a particular highlight of character design, as each level culminates with a battle against a zombie that represents a particular genre of music. Within the demo I played, Zed the zombie was a punk loving, obscenity screaming nut-job who could hurt you with his words. Literally, his words would materialise on the screen and come flying at you meaning you’d better dive out of the way or take some damage.
The fighting is pretty reliant on dodging and timing your attacks. The combos feel a little disjointed, with your actions not feeling particularly fluid. As long as you press the buttons in the right order, the animation will play. This doesn’t promote any real sense of combat as it appears to just be a test of timing and pattern finding. The boss fight was a pretty traditional affair. Boss would jump into air. You dodge as he lands. This causes him to be open to an attack. You attack. Repeat.
It seems that you’ll be able to buy new combos and moves as the game progresses, so with a bit of luck this will open up the combat into something that feels a little more rewarding. All in all though, it feels very traditional and safe in terms of game-play. Each location feels like moving from arena to arena, finding lollipops to boost health and defeating zombies to reach the boss.
As previously mentioned, each boss has their own music style. This is helped by the fact that Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka and Jimmy Urine (real name?) from Mindless Self Indulgence are providing the music for the game and from what I’ve heard, it’s fantastic. Adding to the audio treats in the game is the fact that Tara Strong (Bubbles from The PowerPuff Girls) is voicing Juliet. An amazing piece of casting.
The game’s looking like it’ll be another addition to Suda’s catalogue of amazing ideas, barmy characters and loony stories, bolstered together by solid if not particularly inspired gameplay.
Lollipop Chainsaw is shaping up to be pure Suda 51. This is both its biggest strength and greatest weakness.