Plants Vs Zombies: Game Of The Year Edition PC Review
Popcap Games is one of the biggest names in the casual gaming market with hit after hit under their belt. Titles like Bejeweled and Peggle have already cemented their reputation, but with Plants Vs Zombies they have really outdone themselves.
At its heart, Plants Vs Zombies is a tower defense game with hordes of zombies determined to get into your house and devour your brains. Your only defense is planting a variety of flora to block and repel the undead invaders. It sounds rather macabre, but in typical Popcap fashion, everything is coated in a sugar sweet layer of cuteness. While the graphics are rather simplistic and resemble a flash game more than anything else, it’s the brilliant and humorous character designs that really made the game.
To stop the zombies from lumbering into your house, you have at your disposal a range of plants that are gradually introduced during the course of the 50 level adventure mode. You need resources in the form of sunlight in order to mobilize your troops and while it slowly trickles down during the daytime levels, you’ll need to plant sunflowers in order to get more, faster.
It’s a fine balance as you have six lanes to defend and the steady trickle of zombies soon turn into huge hordes that can quickly overrun your defenses. The amount of different plants you can plant on a level is also very limited but fortunately you are shown what zombies you will be dealing with before you have to make your selection of seed pockets.
Speaking of zombie types, there are 26 different undead freaks and they aren’t simply the same zombies but different toughness levels. Each zombie type has their own unique style and has to be dealt with appropriately. Athletic zombies will pole vault over your defenses unless you put a “tall nut” to stop them while miner zombies will burrow underneath everything and attack you from behind. With bungee, pogo, disco, football zombies and many more the challenge just never becomes boring. Some zombies even rock up in vehicles or adorn themselves with buckets, street cones and screen doors to thwart your attempts of killing them, again.
It’s not just the different zombie types that make your life difficult, but the environment as well. While your start off in your front yard the fight soon moves to the backyard where the pool provides another avenue for intrepid zombies to sink their teeth into your brains. Night time is even more of a challenge as you won’t get any sunlight and need to use nocturnal mushrooms in your setup. Things get worse when the fog rolls in obscuring your vision and by the time you reach the roof the where plants can only be put in pots you’ll have to rethink your strategies again.
Added help comes in the form of “Crazy Dave” your neighbor who sells you items out of the boot of his car. You need cash for these, but fortunately the zombies sometimes drop coins. Dave plays a bigger role later in the game when you’ve unlocked all the puzzle, mini games and the zen garden feature.
The replay value of this game is really through the roof and the amount of content included is unusual for the genre. The mini games alone is a blast and take their inspiration from past Popcap hits. The game of the year edition adds some nifty Steam achievements and some of them will really take time and dedication to get. You also get the “Zombatar” feature that allows you to design your own custom zombie. Long after you’ve finished the adventure mode there will still be new items to purchase from Dave’s shop that make subsequent play thoughts worthwhile. A second play through of adventure mode is also a challenge as Dave will randomly pick three seed pockets for your inventory and you will have to adjust the rest of your defenses around this.
The audio is a goofy mix of tunes and fit the game perfectly. The zombies also have wacky voices and utter phrases like “the zombies are coming!” and the obligatory “Braaains” The music video at the end of adventure mode with the song “there’s zombies on your lawn” is a stroke of genius. The controls are spot on and for a casual game can have some fiendish challenges like mini zombies swarming or attacks of invisible zombies. Lucky these challenges are apart from the adventure mode which is fairly easy to complete.
Plants Vs zombies is really one of those games that’s impossible to criticize. It’s a cliché to say it but its one of the cases where the adage “simple to pick up but impossible to put down” rings true. The game off the year edition doesn’t add much to the game but if you are new to the world of Plants Vs Zombies there’s no better way to start. As far as casual games go, this is truly one of the best and belongs in the collection of any self respecting gamer. Even if tower defense games isn’t your thing this might just be the thing to change your opinion.
- OS: Windows XP/Vista/7
- Processor: 1.2GHz+ processor
- Memory: 1GB of RAM
- Graphics: 128MB of video memory, 16-bit or 32-bit color quality
- DirectX: DirectX 8 or later
- Hard Drive: 65+MB of free hard drive space
- Sound: DirectX-compatible sound
- OS: Mac OS X 10.5.8-10.6.x
- Processor: Intel Core Duo 1.66GHz+
- Memory: 1GB of RAM
- Graphics: 64MB of video memory, 16-bit or 32-bit color quality
- Hard Drive: 50+MB of free hard drive space
- Sound: Standard audio