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Hands-on with Lollipop Chainsaw: What the [email protected]#$ is going on?

on 13 April 2012

If you were at PAX East last weekend, you know about Lollipop Chainsaw. There’s no way around it – you would have noticed the long lines to play the demo, the school bus, Suda 51 hanging out, and let’s not forget the brow-raising cosplay by Jessica Nigri (which actually led to her being removed from the show floor).

We got the chance to run through the short, albeit sweet demo, which unfortunately lasted less than five minutes. We stepped onto the pimped out Lollipop Chainsaw school bus and got started on one of the wall-mounted demo stations.

Here’s what we understand: Lollipop Chainsaw stars lead protagonist Juliet Starling, leader of the San Romero Knights cheerleading squad. She carries a chainsaw, an infinite supply of lollipops, and her boyfriend’s head on her waist. Why is she jumping around strapped with a human head? We asked, and apparently, cutting off and keeping her boyfriend’s head was the only way to save him from turning into a zombie. Go figure.

Here’s what we didn’t understand: everything else. Within seconds of picking up the controller, we were running throughout the school’s hallways, attempting to rescue trapped students, all the while absolutely decimating hordes of zombies in the most… colorful of ways.

We’re not kidding, either. Wide-eyed, we watched the screen light up with rainbows, lollipops, and gore as we tried to grasp what was happening during combos and finishers. It probably would have been a good idea to stop and ask a representative what exactly was going on, but it was too late; we were hooked.

The right mix of action, button mashing, pizazz, and shock value transitioned from controller to screen and vice versa. Beating the undead with a cheerleader’s pom-poms and acrobatic moves is something we just haven’t done before. And after enough hammering on the attack buttons, we’d be rewarded with some of the most over the top finishers; from severing zombie heads with a chainsaw, to literally blowing up enemies from within using stars and hearts, this game had it all.

At one point, we even triggered some type of in-combat lottery system that rewarded us with use of our boyfriend Nick’s head as a cannonball boomerang of sorts. From a third-person shooter perspective, we aimed his head, fired, and watched the head make its way to a group of zombies, blast them to bits, and return to Juliet’s hands.

There are, however, objectives to complete. We did see some students proclaiming “S.O.S.” as we were tasked with saving them from flesh-eating threats. So there is some method to the madness, but we were fine with just going nuts.

We’re sure the combat makes sense once you learn how the game plays (or when you play through a tutorial, much unlike we did) but we were totally fine with learning on the fly. The game was just that entertaining.

The demo ended with a boss fight, but we didn’t get to finish it. Like we said, our experience with the game was short but sweet.

We walked away puzzled, but most importantly, we walked away wanting more. That’s the highest praise we can give the game, having only played it for a few minutes.

Consider our curiosity piqued; we’re chomping at the bit to hear and see more of Suda 51’s latest departure from the everyday action game.

Lollipop Chainsaw will be available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on June 12, and 15 in North America and Europe respectively.