When the zombie apocalypse befalls San Romero High School – a nice nod to the infamous zombie king, and just one of several such in-jokes – cheerleader Juliet Starling rises to the challenge. Luckily, she’s from a family of zombie hunters, so while she shakes her pom-poms through each of the game’s stages, players can rest easy in the knowledge that she’s trained to do this. Why no, that isn’t just an excuse for lots of panty shots and “dumb blonde” gags. Well, except that it is.
The bastard love child of ‘Bring It On’ and ‘Evil Dead’, Lollipop Chainsaw is the latest surreal action game from the quite possibly insane director Suda51. Unfortunately, while such a hybrid of inspiration should be beautifully, anarchically brilliant, the end result is instead a linear hack and slash effort that disguises its shortcomings with lashings of snazzy violence, cartoonish sexuality and more rainbows and sparkles than a Care Bear snorting lines of glitter.
You might think that slaughtering the undead with a rainbow-spewing chainsaw is a good old time – and you’d be right, if the controls weren’t quite so unresponsive. Button-bashing through the hordes with a mix of heavy and light attacks will get you so far but unlockable combos never quite seem to work when you want them to. Other moves, such as slinging Juliet’s boyfriend’s still-living severed head (long story…) as a projectile, are barely worth bothering with. However, filling up your rainbow bar with stars dropped by fallen enemies does allow brief periods of increased power, letting you chop down zombies to a soundtrack of Toni Basil’s ‘Mickey’, a touch so mind-bogglingly bizarre that it has to count for something.
Though there are flashes of inventiveness – such as zombies with unique attributes that can be used against each other, and some genuinely inventive minigames – the game as a whole is too unrefined and, dare we say it, predictable, to excite players for long.