Plants vs. Zombies Review
In developer Pop Cap’s latest game, Plants Vs. Zombies, you fend off ravenous zombies with a variety of war-ready plants. The game combines zombies and tower defense gameplay in a fresh take on the two genres (zombies are a genre, right?). The game is packed with humorous characters and situations and has a style all its own. Where else can you dispatch a zombie Michael Jackson with an angry jalapeño pepper?
As in most tower defense games, you choose and place different towers in strategic positions, hoping to eliminate waves of enemies efficiently. All the standard tower types are incorporated in clever ways through the plants that you set up on the field. There are projectile towers in the form of peashooters, bombs in the form of jalapeño peppers and cherries, and defense makes an appearance as ice-peashooters and nuts. You’ll choose from upwards of forty unique plants for maximum zombie braining.
Each plant is unique and has a use. I found myself falling back on a trusty lineup of four plants for nearly every battle with the remaining two or three choices depending on the zombies, stage and conditions. While I had my staple choices, I could easily see how a different combination of plants would be equally effective. It all comes down to personal preference, and it’s impressive that people can create their own strategies and plant lineups based on their play-style. Some plants are better for certain situations, but there are always numerous ways to get the job done.
The stages consist of the front yard, back yard, and roof of your house. Throw night battles, a swimming pool, and fog into the mix and this small number of arenas provides countless possibilities. There are fifty levels in the main adventure mode and the wide variety of zombies, plants, and environmental conditions stretch the few stages as far as they can go.
Unfortunately, the game does get slightly repetitive at some points. You’re likely to tire of certain environments before the game decides it’s time to move on. Still, this never becomes too much of a problem, because you receive a new plant or item at the end of each level as motivation for pushing through the more tedious parts of the game.
The idea of fighting zombies with plants sounds bizarre at first, and it is, but the developer was obviously invested in creating a world where this makes sense. The game is bright and colorful and the animations give each character a personality. The humor is baked right into characters with comical designs such as dolphin-riding zombies, butter-launching corn kernels and shop owner, Crazy Dave, who spouts gibberish and wears a saucepan on his head. The tone of the game is lighthearted and distinct and I had fun even as I sat back and just watched zombies finish themselves against an expertly constructed wall of plant life.
In an age crowded with zombie games and tower defense games, Plants Vs. Zombies manages to stand out by taking a completely unique approach. This is a humorous and addicting casual game, far from the tense and gory experience found in most zombie games. It’s great to see a fresh take on zombies and it’s obvious that Pop Cap went to great lengths to carve a niche in the genre. Humorous characters, a huge variety of enemies, and a healthy dose of difficulty help to eliminate tedium and place Plants Vs. Zombies right up there with Bejeweled and Peggle.