AHH. THERES ZOMBIES AND MUTATED PLANTS!
Since when did Popcap make games people actually gave a f*** about? It used to be that Zuma or Bejeweled were games your mother played! Now Popcap games end up being one of the most talked about topics on twitter! Personally, I blame Peggle and its addictiveness. Bloody unicorns. But I’m going off topic.
Plants vs. Zombies has a very intresting setup. Zombies are attacking your house and, due to the fact you are an expert gardener who appears to have done some Umbrella Corp style modification to their plants, you now have to plant a horde of them in order to defend your brain from the undead shambling across your lawn/pool/roof. Your plants range from the humble Peashooter, through the Squash and the Scardey-Shroom up to the DOOM!!!-shroom. Arrayed against you is the the most unusal horde of zombies you have ever seen. It starts off normally with the shamblers but you end up with pogo zombies, balloon zombies and, my personal favourite, a zombie bobsleigh team. Obviously the design document consited off the words “Think up zombies. GO”. And that is brilliant.
So, once in the game, you must plant your weaponized flora in order to stop the zombies from getting past your lawnmowers and into your house in order to eat your brains. Placing your plants is simple - click the plant you want then choose a square. However, most plants can only attack down one row, so you need to setup your defence in order to get prevent your brain becoming a zombie snack. To make matters worse, different zombies have different weaknesses or quirks. One good example is the miner zombie, who crawls under your plants and attacks left to right, rather than the usual right to left. So you need to use the plant selection screen (which also shows the zombie types you’ll encounter) to work out which plants you’ll need for a specific levels. Additionally to place them in game, you need to collect sun (either dropping from the sky or from certain plants) in order to place the more expensive plant. this leads to a sort of action element as sunlight disappears after a certain amount of time.
This may all sound a bit dry, but once you’ve started playing you mind goes properly to work though you may not realise it. Just like Peggle, you’re bombarded with bright colours, well drawn art and humorous sound effects. But you need to be planning a couple of plant placings ahead, as the hordes of zombies start swamping you in the later levels. This is by no means a casual game.
Even better is what is unlocked after you finish the 50 level adventure mode.A set of puzzles and a mini game compilation (some of which are based on other Popcap games like Bejeweled) add some more game to play, while a zen garden gives you a calming mode to just sit back and play with to make money. Speaking of which, the money you earns get you the ability to buy upgrades for plants, new areas for the zen garden and other items. The extra content is as much fun as the main game, and also brings a change of pace.
However, there are some downsides. The first couple of maps are ridiculously easy. And the designers put in a god-awful level at the end of the 4th chapter which blacks out the screen every few seconds. This just pisses me off. Its a nice idea but the timing is whacked. Another flaw is the store system. Its a nice idea, but the cost of every is so inflated. You’ll probably have to replay the adventure quite a few times as well as having to trophy all of the puzzles and mini games. This does make the upgrades for the plants are next to useless
For £7 off Steam and about £16 off Popcap, Plants vs Zombies provides more than enough bang for your buck. Its also is a better “game” than Peggle and will keep you entertained for much longer than any ball pinging thing with a bloody unicorn.
I give Plants Vs Zombies 87% and heartily recommend it to everyone.