Plants vs Zombies Review

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Plants vs Zombies was created by Pop Cap games. It is available for download on XBOX Live, the iTunes Store, Steam; and available in stores for XBOX 360, PC, and Mac.

Essentially a tower-defense game, Plants vs Zombies has a simple premise. Zombies are coming to your house to eat your brains. As the player you defend your your house with plants that shoot seeds, explode, freeze, smash, and a plethora of other methods. It might sound a bit weird, but it works.

Some plants create Sun points which are the equivalent of magic points or mana. Sun allows you to plant your defenses.

Zombies come in all sorts of varieties: normal weak-zombies, zombies with protection (like helmets and screen doors), pole-vaulting zombies, dancing zombies, balloon zombies, and more.

At the beginning of most levels you have the ability to choose which plants will best take on the particular zombie-horde. At first your choices are limited, but as the game progresses you are able to unlock more powerful plants to use.

The game mechanics are simple enough for anyone to learn, but also offer a decent strategy element. There are several ways to play the game. It’s up to you how to tackle each level.

The game stages advance in a way that slowly introduce you to new elements like night levels, water, fog, and fighting on an arched roof. The game sometimes gives tips on how to take down a new zombie, but often it is up to the player to experiment with which plants will work best.

I first played this game on an iPad display at an electronics retailer. I was immediately hooked. I came home and threw down $9.99 to purchase the complete game on Steam. For the next six hours I completely lost track of time. The gameplay is super-addictive. I completed the entire campaign and about half of the bonus content that first night.

While the game isn’t terribly challenging, the joy of building a personalized plant defense is brilliant. There were even a few edge-of-your-seat moments. At times a new zombie destroys your defenses. It turns out to be frustrating in the best kind of way. Whenever a zombie made into my house and ate my brains I would quickly start the level over and make sure to up my strategy. Again, this is the real fun of Plants vs Zombies; it allows you to craft your own strategy and use your favorite plants.

The mini-games and extras are just as addicting as the main adventure. One exception is the Zen Garden mini-game. Your guide through Plants vs Zombies is Crazy Dave (he gives hints and such throughout the campaign). He has a shop where you can buy extra plant slots and other useful things. He’ll sell you plants you can grow in several different garden areas. You are tasked with watering, feeding, and playing music for the growing vegetation. I found this portion of the game to be tedious. Though it does reward you with much needed money to buy more cool stuff.

The replay value of Plants vs Zombies isn’t very high. Once you’ve beat the adventure-mode, you can replay it at a higher difficulty. Crazy Dave gives you three random plants on each level. This can throw your whole strategy into a funk, but it’s still fun. Playing through the campaign twice was really enough for me. Likewise, once you’ve beat all the mini-games there isn’t much reason to go back and play them again.

Despite the low replay factor Plants vs Zombies satisfies a gamer’s heart. It is absolutely worth the retail value of $19.99, and especially the ten bucks I paid for it.

Plants vs Zombies is highly recommended by this WPR author.

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