Game Review: Plants Vs. Zombies
Release: February 8, 2011
Genre: Tower Defense
Developer: PopCap Games
Available Platforms: PSN (reviewed), XBLA, DS, iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC
ESRB Rating: E10 (Everyone 10+)
Website: PopCap Plants Vs. Zombies
Plants Vs. Zombies has pollinated it’s seed on the PlayStation 3 this past month, and I am here to tell you whether it was a success or a bust. For those of you who have not heard of this game yet, shame on you. It’s a take on the Tower Defense genre that has been sweeping the nation. There are four common factors that make up a tower defense game; attackers (the enemy), defenders (you), something the attackers are after, and a set path that the attackers will follow and the defenders will be set-up on. In Plants Vs. Zombies, you are defending your house from swarm after swarm of attacking zombies. In order to protect it, you have to plant “zombie attacking plants” in your yard, which serves as the attacker’s path. You start off defending your front lawn, then ultimately end up on your roof.
Helping you throughout the Zombie siege is your neighbor, Crazy Dave. Even though he is a few nuts shy of a sundae, he is still capable of assisting you. At first he just gives you some helpful tips, but after finding the legendary treasure he is seeking (you’ll have to play to find out what it is), he will open up his car trunk store, Crazy Dave’s Twiddy Dinkies, and sell you very useful items to use in your lawn’s defense. He will also explain some of the extra special levels that you get to play as you progress. Oh and he wears an upside down saucepan on his head. Whacko!
You need two things to plant your Plants; seeds and sunlight. You will collect different seed packets as you progress through the game, and the sunlight is collected while you are playing. Some plants will produce sunlight (i.e. Sunflowers) while the rest of your sunlight collecting will come from the sun itself. Each plant costs a set amount of sunlight to plant; think of it as a form of currency.
Your house is on the left side of the screen while the hedgerow that the zombies pass through to start their attack is on the right. There are a set number of paths that they will walk across to get to your house. These paths are straight lines made up of squares and your plants can be planted just about anywhere on the path, only one plant per square allowed though. As the zombies make their way to your house, your plants will fight back if said zombie is on the same pathway that the plant is on. If a zombie makes it to a plant occupied square, it will start to eat the plant. It doesn’t take much for your plants to get totally eaten, so be careful. As the zombies forge forward taking down your plants, you do have one more line of defense before your brains become a tasty snack. A lawn mower sits in wait at the end of each path. If the zombie makes it to the mower, it will start up and mow down any zombie that is on the same path. Now you need to be extra cautious though. If one more zombie makes it through, it’s game over.
Once you get past the massive story mode, you’ll have a ton of mini games to play as well (whack-a-zombie, zombie bowling, etc..). There’s also co-op and a new versus multiplayer mode that doesn’t appear on the PC or iPhone version. Besides earning some trophies from playing these games, you can also help build up your money supply. You can gather money dropped from zombies during the story mode, but you can earn a lot more from playing the mini games. So what do you do with all of this money? Remember our buddy Crazy Dave? Yeah, you spend it at his store, Twiddy Dinkies. This is a great place to find some rare plants and a few other nifty gadgets to help you out in your fight against the undead.
PopCap does a great job of easing you into all of this through their early stages of the game. Even many levels in, you are still learning something new. There are a ton of different zombies and plants that each have a unique ability to help shape the course of the game. For example, sooner or later, you will come across “balloon zombies”. They will float across the yard, above the range of the flower’s attacks, well all except the Cactus which will shoot needles in the air to pop the balloons. Another example is at one point in the game, you will move to the backyard and have to deal with your pool. Well most plants can’t be planted on the water, but if you bring along a lilly pad, you can put that on a water square, then put any other non aquatic plant on top of it. This is one great feature of the game, it always presents you with a new plant type just when you will need it most.
Sadly though, this also brings up my one and only gripe that I have with Plants Vs. Zombies. Why am I only allowed to bring a set amount of seed packets along with me? I’ve played other Tower Defense games, and I have never been restricted to how many different types of “towers” I can tote along. I never seem to have enough space to bring the plants I want and this is disappointing. I would have liked to have seen this feature stricken out of the game all together. Otherwise, I love Plants Vs. Zombies.
Brian’s Final Say: Plants Vs. Zombies is a must buy. There’s no other way of saying it. The mega-addicting gameplay will have you playing “just one more level” every time. It has a fabulous presentation, colorful graphics that are pleasing to the eye, and tons of story levels, mini games, and other game modes to sink your teeth into. This game is for lovers of strategy, tower defense, goofy neighbors, horticulture, and of course, brains and zombies.
- + Great presentation and gameplay
- + tons of options, towers, and enemies to master
- + lots to do
- – Why can I only bring a few plants along to the battle?
Final Score: 9/10