Plants Vs Zombies is the newest title to hit the internet from the dealers of digital crack; PopCap, the peddlers of previous titles which could put you in rehab because of how ridiculously addictive trying to hit those orange pegs in Peggle were or lining up the red squares in Bejeweled.
The newest title for PopCap to deal to it’s addicted customers moves away from there usual puzzles games, and lands in the center of the ever-growing tower defense genre which your used to playing on the internet while your at work. This time round though, it’s brought to the digital distribution platforms for a price which is more than fair to pay (£14.95) for considering the amount of enjoyment I can promise you’ll have with the hundreds of hours you could easily spend on trying to finish every level.
The plants are what you’d consider to be the towers full of guns you’d usually be used to and I bet your thinking “there surely can only be a few different things with plants right?!” Well, I can tell you that you’re 100% wrong. There are 40+ different types of ‘towers’ ranging from single shot peashooters to doom-shrooms which cause a massive explosion where you play it killing everything within a few lanes. And the zombies (as you could have guessed) are the enemies which are trying to overrun you. They come in all different shapes and sizes, ranging from the plain boring zombie to the dancing Michael Jackson zombie who brings zombies up from the ground to defend him while he dances his way through your precious front line of deadly (yet colorful) plants.
The game is all based around defending your beloved back garden, in both day night situations. In each stage there are 6 lanes for you to set up your flowery front line defense using sunlight which will either drop from the sky (but only in the levels with daylight) or you can harvest it yourself using sunflowers (and sun-shrooms for the night levels) and you spend the sunlight on the different types of plants you picked at the start of each level. Another form of resource in the game is money which the zombies will randomly drop from time to time, this money being spent on buying more slots so you can take more plants with you into battle. And as the game progresses, picking the right plants for the right levels become incredibly hard as there is never enough slots for what you need.
On each stage there are always 6 lanes which the zombies will walk (or run) down the lane they stepped onto originally, never swapping lanes oddly. Although multiple can be on the same lane at one time which is where the trouble starts occurring, especially when the multiple enemies are the ones which are heavily armored with metal bucket heads and holding screen doors in front of them. This is where your own unique play styles come into play; if you’re feeling defensive you could throw down a few wall-nuts in each lane and have one or two plants behind them and the wall-nuts act like a wall (surprisingly) to severely slow down the zombies for you to pick them off. Or you could go all out offensive and spend every bit of sunlight you get on putting more and more peashooters down to just fill the screen. Although on a certain set of levels this tactic won’t exactly work… that damn pool.
And like past PopCap game, Plants Vs Zombies isn’t exactly a Crysis in the graphics department, but that doesn’t mean the game looks bad in any way, shape or form. The games general art style is stunning, lots of lovely warm colors in daylight and in the night light they still shine. Plus, the combination of its happy, upbeat bangin’ tunes in the background to keep you smiling even while you’re getting your ass handed to you by the zombies dressed as NFL players.
The game also features 2 more game modes on the side of the games relatively long campaign, these being; mini-games and survival. The mini-games are incredibly addictive, ranging from bowling down the 6 lanes with wall-nuts as they try to overrun your yard to a game where there is something similar to a conveyor belt at the top of the screen which keeps throwing different plants at you and it’s up to you where to put them. And survival is basically exactly how it sounds, the zombies keep coming at you and you have to see how long you can survive and put your tactics to the test.
Its safe (I guess?) to say that this is PopCap’s third title I’d like to title ‘digital crack’ and the second best that they’ve ever put out (just behind Peggle, and in front of Bejeweled). It looks great, sounds fantastic yet the difficulty curve in some of the missions takes the piss.