Saturday, 6 June 2009

Plants VS Zombies review

Plants VS Zombies

Whilst I was brought up to not judge a book by its cover, it's a hard task when confronted with such a weird, blunt title such as “Plants VS Zombies” But true to its name, Plants VS Zombies gives you exactly what we all want; An immense battle between the Plant kingdom and the living dead – Just what we all want – Right?

I'll start with the basics; Plants VS Zombies is not the next best in-depth Zombie survival game, I personally have trouble referring to this game as anything but a basic tower game, the kind you'd find on your average flash game site, so if you're looking for the next big Zombie game, then I'd have to direct you in the other direction, toward Valve or Capcom.
As mentioned before, Plants VS Zombies is a tower defense game, but it's much more than that, whilst the exterior of this game may seem like your basic flash (I wouldn't blame you if you avoided it because of that minor fact.) but underneath that big, ugly, generic coat is a game reeking of charm and personality; don't get me wrong, I wouldn't call what it has a “Story mode” (Or Adventure mode), but I would say there's more story there than your bog-standard flash tower defense game – Presumably this is because you're expected to pay for Plants VS Zombies and the generic mold wouldn't quite cut the cheese.


The basic gist of the game is (As you might have guessed from the title) to fight the Zombies; more specifically defend your house from the Zombies. No back story is really given, but then again, it doesn't really require one, all you need to know is that you wanna kill the zombies before they get to you – And you DON'T wanna fuck with Crazy Dave; Mainly because he's crazy, but also because he gives you items that'll help you fight off the horde; such as a shovel that allows you to dig up misplaced flowers.
Crazy Dave; Sporting a very fetching sauce pan on his head.

To create your flowers and such, you need some form of currency, in Plants VS Zombies, it comes in the form of sun points, these randomly drop from the sky every once in a while giving you 25 points each time, with your generic Pea shooter tower costing 100, obviously leading you to the conclusion that there are faster and better ways to gain sun points; Well, if you had lead yourself to that conclusion, then you'd be correct; Using sunflowers you gain an extra 25 for each one at random intervals, you soon learn to use Sunflowers in every match and you find yourself placing them towards the back of the map where Zombies can't get to as they'll be the bulk of your currency supplying your vicious flower army with more ammunition and protection.

The game will have you completing levels to gain new flowers and other botanical based creatures and to carry on in the “immense, emotionally in depth” story; which basically involves bringing bigger, scarier, harder to beat enemies, such as a Zombie with a pole-vault, which manages to launch itself over any obstacle such as a Potato mine, a walnut and even a Chomper; It will also launch itself over your first line of pea shooters, which is generally a stupid move, because if you play like me, then you'll have line of ice pea shooters to freeze them and possibly even a walnut to prevent such maneuvers – After all, you gotta stay on your toes in this game, what with those crafty, sly zombies sneaking about.

My winning layout; Well, atleast it was winning on the starter levels.

Whilst some gamers may think that a pure Tower defense game can get a little stale after a while, it appears that PopCap anticipated this and included several mini-games that come up within the game, these are tasks similar to the main game, but given a little jazz and twist of the game play mechanics. One of the earliest examples of this is when Crazy Dave gives you the chance to use Walnuts to bowl the Zombies down, whilst this only lasts one round, it certainly does refresh the game play and whilst the Bowling mini-game is fun, it makes you appreciate the main game play a little more – Another example of this a little later on is when you aren't given the usual sun points to build the items that you need, but you're given a random selection of items that scroll across a bar along the top at random intervals, you are then hounded with a horde of zombies larger than the usual crowd, it's more challenging than the main game play and has the same effect that the bowling has, in that it allows you to appreciate the main game play ten fold.

In conclusion, whilst most gamers may want to avoid this for it's lack of story and in depth game play, I personally found it well worth picking up off of Steam; Especially for the meager price of £6.99; The game play is good, basic, clean fun and I recommend it to any fan of the Tower defense genre and any one just looking for a game to play for a couple of minutes every once in a while.


Chris Leddy

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