Plants Vs. Zombies Preview (PlayStation Vita)

It’s a rather bizarre match-up to put into place — probably something along the same lines of pirates versus ninjas — but it’s an interesting question nevertheless.  Who would win in  a fight, plants or zombies?  Now, before you automatically go answering zombies, keep in mind that these plants can actually defend themselves, and some actually come with healing abilities as well.  Not such an easy question to answer now, is it?  Luckily, PopCap Games has come up with an amusing way to survey the results with its popular Plants vs. Zombies game, which is set to release on PlayStation Vita in time for the system’s launch.

Plants vs Zombies PS Vita

Now, you don’t actually get to choose sides in this war.  You’re automatically put on the side of the plants, and your goal is to fend off hordes of incoming zombies using a variety of plants.  They’ll come at you through different rows, so you’ll need to slot up your defending plants accordingly, like having a “spitter” in each row.  Plants are also used strategically, such as sunflowers that can help sprout the necessary sun gems that unlock additional plants.  Getting more plants helps build your defenses, so use them wisely.

As each level progresses, you unlock various other plant types to use in battle, such as bombs, cherries and more.  They get stronger with each wave, but so do the zombies, who start wearing road cones, dressing up in costumes, and even bulking up in size.  Your job is to micromanage successfully through each stage until the last of the undead are wiped away from your yard.  It's a task easier said than done, but part of the fun is seeing how you complete your task.

With the PS Vita edition of Plants vs. Zombies, PopCap Games provides two different gameplay options.  The first is with the traditional analog/D-pad set-up, which highlights squares on the screen where you want to place your army, and then lets you pick and choose your soily soldiers.  The other involves the handheld's touch screen — a method that’s been used with the iPad/iPhone versions of the game.  This works much easier, as you can pick your spots and plants much more rapidly.  Unfortunately, you can’t use both control methods in the game at the same time; you’ll have to choose one or the other.  No matter which way you go, you’ll find management of your plants to be a cinch, even when a huge armada of zombies is inbound.

Along with the new touch-screen control method, Plants vs. Zombies will also come with specific PlayStation Network-related scoreboards, so you can see how you’re fare against your fellow planters.  A competitive mode, where one player controlled plants and another the zombie horde, would’ve been an excellent idea, but for now, this option is competitive enough.

As for presentation, PopCap doesn’t change much in Plants vs. Zombies’ formula, nor does it need to.  The character design is quite inventive, between the plants you get to choose from in combat and the zombies, who range from flag-carrying freaks to zombie swimmers that can’t get enough of your ponds.  They’re hilarious, and you’ll hold off your attacks just to see which ones come next.  (Don’t dawdle too long, though.)

Plants vs Zombies PS Vita

While Plants vs. Zombies isn’t necessarily a brand new game, it’s one with an extensive amount of redeeming value, just like most of PopCap Games’ library.  If you’re even remotely a fan, you’ll want to download this one right away when it drops in time for the PS Vita’s launch later this month.