By now, if you don’t already own some form of Plants vs. Zombies already, you’ve at least heard about it. So is it worth dropping more money on yet another version of this beloved tower defense game? In a word, yes.
For the uninitiated, Plants vs. Zombies is a classic tower defense game with a fun, modern twist. You are in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, and the only thing protecting your house (and your brains) from the encroaching hordes is your considerably diverse garden. The premise is simple: plants seeds to grow various items that will protect you from the zombies. The game is incredibly easy to learn. Your yard is basically divided into squares, and you can only plant one item on each square. Each of the plants has a different function, and some of them only fight specific zombies. With nearly 50 different plants that shoot peas or ice, consume graves, freeze zombies in place, and more, it might seem like a cinch to stop the zombies. But a lot of strategy will be needed to hold off those ever increasing zombie packs.
One of the biggest challenges involved in Plants vs. Zombies is your choice of plants. There are dozens of plants to choose from – but not right away. You start out with a few, and earn one new item for each stage completed. In the very beginning, you are simply equipped with whtever plants you have. Once you’ve earned a few, though, you’ll have to choose which ones you need for each level. You only have a limited number of slots, and certain items are a must, so it becomes increasingly difficult to choose which plants you really need. You “pay” for the plants with sunlight, so you really need a sun-producing plant: sunflowers in daylight levels, mushrooms for night. Your backyard has a pool, and in those stages you will need special water plants to fight zombies in wetsuits or riding dolphins. Some zombies hold screen doors or float with balloons, and there are specific plants that must be used to fight these. At the beginning of each level, you are shown a quick snapshot of the level and a crowded group of zombies, and you’ll use that picture and your strategy as a guide to which plants you should.
In addition to earning plants by completing levels, you can buy items from your neighbor Crazy Dave. One of the more useful of these items is additional plant slots. They are costly, and with coins popping up randomly during gameplay, you don’t always have a lot of cash. A great method for earning more cash is playing mini games. These mini games like pop up randomly during gameplay and count as stages in your adventure. Once you’ve played them in-game, you can access them through the main menu and play them at any time. Money earned from playing these or even the multiplayer modes does carry over to your adventure game as well, and you can access Crazy Dave’s shop at any time as well.
By far, my favorite part of the PS3 version of Plants vs. Zombies is the addition of a multiplayer mode. You can play either vs. or coop with another player, which really adds some variety and fun to the game. In vs. mode, you each choose your side. Yep, you can play as the zombies–that is pure awesome right there. You then have a choice between quick play, custom, or random. This refers to the plants that you have during the battle. Quick play gives you a standard set of plants, custom allows you both to choose which plants you want, and random selects them randomly, of course. The random is the hardest by far, as you often end up missing some pretty important plants and having to get pretty creative if you want to win. The zombies also have plants, which are done pretty cleverly. You get brains instead of suns, and you can buy each of the different types of zombies (football player, screen, etc.). Instead of a house at your base, there are stationary zombies holding targets. The other player shoots out three of your targets to win, so you’ll want to place plenty of gravestones for maximum coverage.
The coop mode was not as epically awesome as vs. – but it was still pretty awesome, and works really well when you have kids who want to play with you. Both players choose which plants they want to be in control of, and you start defending against the encroaching zombies. While it is cooperative, you each can only plant what is in your own slots, and the suns are not shared. In fact, you can even steal sun from the other player by going above them after they have bounced it up. This means you will really have to work together to make sure both of you have enough sun to plant the items you need at various times. There is also double sun, which means two suns pop up together, and you both have to touch them before they can be retrieved. Much yelling will ensue. “SUN! SUN! PLANT A WALNUT ALREADY!” Good times.
Plants vs. Zombies has very fun, cartoony feel to it. The music is upbeat and engaging, and really gets stuck in your head. My children actually begged me to download the song from the end. You haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed a 4 year old girl beltin out the lyrics to “There Are Zombies On My Lawn.” The zombies are much more funny than scary, and there are 26 different kinds moaning “Brains!” as they inch their way across your lawn. Everything is bright and colorful, and not scary at all. Kids love this game, and there is no objectionable content, which makes it a great family game.
Plants vs. Zombies is just an all-around great game. Even if you already own one of the other iterations, the addition of the addictive multiplayer levels makes it worth another investment. If you don’t already Plants vs. Zombies in any form – what are you waiting for? You will not easily find another tower defense game that pulls you in like this one does. I give Plants vs. Zombies a 9 out of 10, and recommend it to…….everyone!