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Suda 51 never ceases to amaze me. The eccentric potty mouthed developer’s multiple design philosophies echo with his numerous releases, to the point where fans can immediately point and say “that’s a Suda game”.

So given the natural expectation of quality, does Lollipop Chainsaw live up to the creator’s legacy?

There’s really no way around saying this: Lollipop Chainsaw is probably one of the most, if not the most absurdly dirty games of all time. Although there is no explicit sexual content, there’s enough innuendo, cursing, and violence to fill an entire day of Grindhouse cinema. In fact, I think this may have a world record for “most f bombs in a video game” (or pretty much any medium for that matter).

Thankfully, due to the wonderful writing by James Gunn (Director of the films Slither and Super), it never comes off as annoying, or thrown in just for the sake of it.  In particular, the main character Juliet is wonderful, as she has the personality of a typical cheerleader, but is extremely resourceful, intelligent, and has a knack for excellent comedic timing.

Veteran voice actor Tara Strong is perfect as Juliet Starling , as is Michael Rosenbaum, who plays the part of her newly decapitated boyfriend being kept alive by zombie hunter magic. Juliet and Nick are joined by Juliet’s family — her older sharpshooting sister Cordelia, her hyper younger sister Rosalind, and her Dad (whom Juliet’s classmates refer to as a DILF).

Nick himself quickly became one of my favorite video game characters of all time. Simply put, even though he’s literally just a head, he’s likeable, he’s funny, and he’s wonderfully acted. Come to think of it, the entire cast is just plain likeable, to the point where I bothered to remember them well after my time with the game was done. This is partially because of the wonderful script from Gunn, which, entertainment wise, feels like a good old fashioned Sam Raimi film. Overall I think this may be Suda’s most likeable cast yet.

I’m not usually one to speak in true hyperbole, but Lollipop Chainsaw is probably the funniest game I’ve ever played. Nearly every five minutes I was busting out laughing, and given the game’s short length (more on that later), it never truly overstayed it’s welcome.

With numerous contemporary references ranging to Facebook, to the anime Highschool of the Dead, Lollipop Chainsaw is indeed a Suda game. In my opinion, I prefer to describe his titles as “a game that contains a hundred other games” — a tradition that he keeps alive with numerous industry-centric mini-games and references I won’t spoil here.

In addition to the noticeable visual charm, music is a large part of Lollipop Chainsaw.  Not only are the original boss themes composed by Mindless Self Indulgence frontman Jimmy Urine, but a number of old classic songs are used, ranging from the 1958 Lollipop, to the 1985 You Spin Me Round (Like a Record). Rest assured, there’s pretty much something for everyone here musically.

If I had to think of the closest game in practice to Lollipop Chainsaw, it would probably be Godhand (which Suda also worked on). LC is a linear stage-based affair with limited exploration, in that most of your movement is funneled through one main path, but there are branching areas to find secrets.

Running on the Unreal Engine 3, Lollipop Chainsaw is pretty smooth for the most part, allowing you to bust out combos with the use of pom pom punches, chainsaw attacks, and low attacks. Juliet’s Pom Poms allow you to stun zombies (but not truly damage them), which can set you up for an instant decapitation move with your chainsaw — the more zombies you corral/stun and behead, the bigger the token bonus you’ll earn.

Of course, you don’t  have to get that technical with stuns, as you can just rip zombies apart with your standard high and low chainsaw attacks, as well as a number of special abilities you’ll earn throughout the course of the game (such as the chainsaw rocket launcher, chainsaw dash, and a ton of Nick head attacks). At first the game may seem fairly simplistic, but once you start buying combos and earning Juliet’s chainsaw story upgrades, the game really opens up.

As a word of warning if you’re an experienced action game veteran, make sure to play the game on Hard right off the bat. As the difficulty increases, not only are you allotted less healing items (which severely changes the dynamic of boss battles), but it also gets a lot more difficult in general. As a frame of reference, I only died a paltry few times on Normal throughout the entire game, and all of those deaths were a result of falling off cliffs — not through combat.

In fact, these deaths are sort of an issue in-itself, as the reason for them was mostly due to the sometimes wonky controls. Throughout the game there are a number of QTEs you’ll need to engage in (which are mostly forgiving), and sometimes you’ll have to be in an exact spot to trigger them.  It also doesn’t help that the camera can continually get in the way, adding to these issues.

Additionally, there are a few platforming sections (mainly of which require your chainsaw dash that you earn after level 1) that boast particularly twitchy controls. Thankfully, the bulk of the game is pure hack and slash, so this isn’t an overwhelming issue.

As previously mentioned, the game is packed with content. Through the use of in-game tokens, you can buy a ton of different combos, songs, artwork, costumes, and special moves — the sheer number of content included in the game is staggering. Although you won’t really need higher level combos until the higher difficulties, all of the auxiliary content can help break up the action.

Having said that, the main story of LC will only take you around five hours to complete. If the prospect of a five hour game utterly offends you, you should probably steer clear of this game.

Thankfully, for completionists, there’s a ton of replay value. LC includes additional difficulties, hidden collectibles, extra costumes, additional combos, artwork and BGMs, and a full time attack mode with worldwide leaderboards. In that sense, it feels more like a beat ‘em up of old in that the bulk of your enjoyment is found in multiple playthroughs (like Godhand).

In the end, Lollipop Chainsaw is above all else a fun game. It has some issues (like most action games), but it’s a non-stop outlandish joyride from start to finish. Thankfully, there’s a ton of content packed in, and completionists will probably need 15-20 hours to obtain absolutely everything (rankings included) . I can only hope Juliet returns for a sequel.

This review was based on a retail copy of Lollipop Chainsaw for the Xbox 360.


  1. Ooh man, this sounds exciting! Thanks for the action aficionado’s view point on the gameplay, and the tip. I’ll be getting my copy shortly after I get home.

    You know, I’m sure I knew at one point that Suda worked on Godhand, but I was not that into his work back in the day. Since his recent stream of great games lately, reminding me that he was part of one of my favorite games is just awesome (it’s the only ps2 title sitting next to my bc PS3 right now). It makes total sense considering the wacky assed clown and demon bosses in that game.

  2. Avatar Image why

    Oh Gamer Limit. You never ceases to amaze me. So Witcher 2 gets 45 out of 100 and this game gets 90. Riiight. :(

    I know that the games are not supposed to be compared directly, that the reviewers are not the same and whatnot, but jeez, some consistency at least in terms of taking into account such basic things as graphics, amount of content, voice acting, music and other technical aspects of games would help you a lot and most likely would spare us from situations like this one, when a game with clearly lower production value, shorter development time and which offers less content, gets significantly (!) better score than the other one.

    Really, it makes your reviews look less like a professional reviews and more like a user reviews from a reviewers who just happened to like / hate some aspects of a game too much and overinflated or underinflated overall scores because of that. Not very trustworthy.

    • avatar Occams_electric_Tootbrush

      “when a game with clearly lower production value, shorter development time and which offers less content, gets significantly (!) better score than the other one.” #Darksiders2

    • avatar Matt

      Witcher 2 got a 45/100 because to spite the high production value, blah blah, it sucks to play. After reading the stream of schill reviews that give Witcher 2 100′s across the board (or 5 starts or whatever) – I genuinely regret purchasing it and didn’t enjoy it in the least. It’s like a beautiful piece of crap. Can crap be beatuiful? That’s Witcher 2.

    • Avatar Image why

      @Matt

      The thing is, you, as random internet user whose opinion means very little, can do that. You are held to much lower standards (many user reviews are very poorly explained or nonsensical) and because of that, you can act and rate games however you want. You can take into account a SINGLE aspect of videogame or all of them and you can overinflate or underinflate the scores however you see fit.

      However, the supposedly professional reviewers shouldn’t do that. They are held to much higher standards not only because of competition, but also because their reviews are supposed to be directed to broad audience, which can have pretty varying tastes. So they shouldn’t just go completely subjectively about things. They have to take into account, that “some” part of their readers may actually “love” what they “hate” and vice versa, but their reviews should still be somewhat useful to those people.

      And one of the best ways how to accomplish that, is to take more into account things, about which people can achieve consensus much more easily, such as the things I mentioned in my previous post, and maybe slightly less things which can be perceived very SUBJECTIVELY, such as story, dialogues, or heck, based on your comment, even some gameplay mechanics.

      This way, their reviews can start looking much more objective and less biased and they can be useful even to people with preferences different from reviewer’s. Not to mention, that that way you can build some kind of system between your reviews, because people would know, that you would not just rate games how you “liked” them, which can be pretty random, but also based on merits which are hard to dispute or question (e.g. good technical graphics or amount of content).

      PS: Sorry for longer post.

    • @Why – No. This isn’t a classification board that rates quantifiable measurements of graphics and length of the campaign, it’s a review of a game’s value and delivery of enjoyment. Reviewers tell you their impression of the game, it’s subjective. The movie SpiderMan 3 had great graphics and lasted longer than it should, but thank God those aren’t the classifications by which we rate things.

      This game may be short and have less detailed textures than AAA blockbusters, but holy shit, it’s pure entertainment. It’s length means nothing when its levels can be jumped into at any time for the intrinsic fun the gameplay delivers. The combat is much deeper than I even hoped for, with pompom attacks featuring two layers of depth based on how you time subsequent inputs, and the possible strategies of when/how to use the chainsaw are incredibly engaging.

      I suggest growing thicker skin and not throwing tantrums when people have different opinions than yours. Especially if you’re doing it in a review for a game in a completely different genre – that’s just childish.

    • Avatar Image why

      @Arttemis

      You want to be completely subjective and rate games purely according to your own “enjoyment”? Which can be pretty off in comparison to most people?

      Blog it, or write user review somewhere, because that would be all the informational value your “review” would have to offer to anyone, whose subjective preferences and tastes would be different from yours.

      There’s usually a reason why most magazines give terrible scores only to games that are bad on all fronts, from graphics through story to amount of content and also why generally the best scores are awarded to games that excel in all areas. And when reviewers don’t do so, they are usually called out by users. Thankfully.

      Also, what kind of system would you have, if your scores were based purely on your own enjoyment and how much “fun” you had with the game? What would be your reasoning behind it? – Eh, sorry guys, but with this game, I had a lot of “fun”, so I gave it an excellent score and with this one, I didn’t, so I tore it apart. What? You don’t understand? I had fun. Subjectively. Nevermind, that it does not make much sense to you, it doesn’t have to, because it’s supposed to be subjective.

      No, that’s not how reasoning behind professional reviewing policy should look like. Not saying it is like that in Gamerlimit’s case, but it would in yours and also for now, it Gamerlimit’s reviewing policy and scoring system seem very random to me.

      Also, not saying that now they have to measure everything with some kind of standardized system and shouldn’t be allowed to offer subjective perspective on some things, but it should be toned down a bit in favor of less questionable aspects.

  3. avatar krtprime

    Pretty much spot-on. I’ve only finished the first two levels, but I’ve done them multiple times in order to levels up and boost my ranking. And then there’s the matter of playing through to get Trophies, too!

    Just a quick note: Nick was voiced by Michael Rosenbaum, not Steve Blum.

    • avatar Ferah

      hey there…love the blog! i have been thinking about doing one msleyf for awhile…just where to find the time!! Also very interested in pinterest…send me an invite! i think you have my email…:)

  4. I’ve never felt the desire to play any Suda 51 games, but glad to hear you enjoyed your time with it, Chris.

    • avatar Angus

      I will be posting my lolilpop recipe in a few days (I just figured out how to make them for my kids birthday). I made some all natural honey ones too. These would be great with home made lolli’s!

  5. avatar Ferahtsu

    I stopped reading at James Uringer composing some of the games music, for that alone has me sold on this game.

  6. avatar Bolo

    Shooooot. Zombies have me sold.

  7. Nice review. Just finished the game and pretty much agree with everything you said — though I’m usually not one to burst out laughing for the most part. There wasn’t a lot technically wrong with it, but I’d have probably scored it a tad lower had I done the review myself. It didn’t feel quite as special as my previous experiences with Grasshopper games. The talking musical zombies didn’t quite gel with me and other than Nick and Juliette I wasn’t enamored with the characters. At times it seemed like it was trying to hard, other times not hard enough. Honestly just kind of made me wish there was a full-on High School of the Dead game out there.

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