What do you get when you cross Buffy and Bayonetta? Not Lollipop Chainsaw.

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There are precious few moments of inspiration in Lollipop Chainsaw. Such as running zombies down with a combine while You Spin Me Right Round plays. The combine handles like a zamboni. The unspectacular zombie splatter is one of the many casualties of this plasticky personality-less use of the Unreal engine. It’s certainly not inspired for the gameplay. But the value is in the idea, which is funny enough to sustain itself both times it happens. Lollipop Chainsaw needs about ten more ideas this good.

Instead, it has zombie basketball, zombie baseball, chainsaw dash courses, rote boss battles, a whole level of tedious retro games, and a lot of pointless twirling combat amid plasticky gore, rainbows, and pink hearts. Lollipop Chainsaw isn’t much of a game. It is a collection of poorly executed gimmicks and a heroine who occasionally chirps “What the dick?”.

I expect more from writer James Gunn and producer Goichi Suda after the wonderfully subversive Super and Killer 7. But Lollipop Chainsaw delivers on the same level as Scooby Doo and No More Heroes: lowbrow jokes, crass pandering, and a blithe disregard for meaningful characters or gameplay. One of the survivors you rescue has to go get another tampon. Another one has shit his pants. If you got your britches in a twist over the bad guys calling Catwoman a bitch in Arkham City, this game will send you into paroxysms of indignation over the insults hurled at the heroine. Levels are named after George Romero, Dan O’Bannon, and Lucio Fulci. Get it? Ten percent of the banter between the heroine and her boyfriend is really funny. Ninety percent of it isn’t.

If you want to play a shallow fighting game that combines bad humor, cheesecake, and gore, Splatterhouse would be delighted to get a little of your attention. It knows what it is and it delivers. But the gravest insult in Lollipop Chainsaw is that it’s such an obvious and vapid attempt at Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bayonetta. You, ma’am, are no Bayonetta.

1 star
Xbox 360