Monday, 19 September 2011

Plants Vs Zombies - review

The PvZ cover-art
This review is a little late but I've just bought Plants Vs Zombies again, but on a different platform, the iPad. Yes, it really is that good.

Plants Vs Zombies is essentially a tower-defense game (or flower-defense as it's become affectionately known), which sees your home under siege by an army of the living dead. Your last line of defense is your front-garden and the huge variety of killer vegetation that inhabits it.

There are over 50 types of plant, each with its own unique ability. Peashooters fire projectiles, Cherry Bombs explode taking down multiple foes while 'Wall-Nuts' (Walnuts) create a barricade to keep those pesky Zombies at bay. Plant types are limited to begin with but players unlock a new plant at the end of each level.

Like most Real-Time Strategy games, farming resources is key to building a successful empire. In this case the currency for purchasing plants is sunlight, which can be collected whenever it falls from the sky or by planting Sunflowers. The more sun you have banked, the more defenses you can grow.

However, like all good tower-defense games, PvZ has excellent balance with multiple Zombie types with various strengths and weaknesses. There are Zombies wearing buckets and traffic cones on their heads for protection, Zombies that can pole-vault over your Wall-Nuts and even a Zombie resembling Michael Jackson that can summon back-up dancers. This is a tongue in cheek nod to the Thriller video and a prime example of the style of humor in PvZ.

Added challenge comes from later levels which take place at night. This introduces new varieties of flora (mainly mushroom variants) but also drastically inhibits the amount of sunlight available. This is just one example of the ever changing environment which keeps each of the 50 levels feeling fresh and a constant challenge.
Brains are off the menu

The iPad's added touch functionality adds to the fun and simplifies the experience but aside from that there are no major differences between this and the Xbox version.

Blending what is essentially simulated farming like Harvest Moon or Farmville with a Zombie apocalypse is genius and developers Popcap have done a wonderful job in creating a fun, challenging, well balanced game. PvZ is beautifully rendered and features a unique, jaunty soundtrack that compliments the mood perfectly. A must have for Zombie-lovers and Botanists alike. You'll really 'dig' it.

My top tip: Sunflowers are key to victory. Build up a sizable patch that is well protected from attack and watch the sunshine-credits roll in.

My Score: 9/10

Game Reviewed On: iPad


  1. I wish I could write like this, erm that! On a browse through xboxlive, I must admit this would not have appealed to me, but after your review tis time to reconsider and test these brain cells of mine.

    Still getting my head around the idea the iphone can pack such a punch.

  2. Nonsense, you write very well!

    Good to know I've just earned Microsoft another 800msp :) Seriously though,PvZ has a lot of humor and charm. I've not tried the iPhone version but sure it's as good as iPad and Xbox.

  3. Got to get myself acquainted with handhelds, iphone prices are off the hook, games for DS are exorbitant, but as recommended by the mysterious Gnome, looks like ipad is the way to go.... and as for the writing.. you are too kind, but your review is a fine example of word crafting... premiere league :)

  4. Didn't realise the iPad had "proper" games. Not really paid much attention to gaming on tablets tbh. But I bought a cheap tablet recently to try them out and it makes me want to get an iPad. They're just a bit darn pricey! Hows the price of the actual games?

  5. I'm a big fan of games on the iPad but functionality definitely lends itself more to some game types than others. Tactile games like PvZ, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds and Infinity Blade. I've yet to play an iPad FPS that I've enjoyed though.

    Games in the app store range from 69p to around £5 and you can often find special offers.

    Overall I'm pretty pleased with tablet gaming.

  6. Went and bent my flexible friend, and got myself an ipad, now hooked on an old style free text adventure app, "Frotz"

    Agree with James, there's a style of game that suits the ipad, and games are temptingly priced. Beimg able to sit cosy on my couch late at night, playing mahjong with my mp3 collection reaping havoc with my hearing is a treat. I am getting old...

  7. Ha! You and me both. Mahjong is the future! I'll have to hav a look at Frotz.

  8. Oh god Plants VS Zombies is amazingly awesome. And yeah, I have it via Steam and Android and i don't care about buying it twice. Hell I almost wanted to buy the retail copy because it came with a little plant figurine.


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