Developer: PopCap
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Plants? Versus Zombies? What?

Plants vs. Zombies is an action/strategy game that could be thought of as a form of tower defense. In the past few months we’ve seem many examples of games that use this gameplay, but now the original Plants vs. Zombies is available on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

PVZ2Plants Vs. Zombies was a huge hit for Pop Cap on the desktop. The game quickly became the number one selling game in PopCap’s history, and that’s a pretty big deal if you consider the number of sales Bejeweled has had in the many years it’s been around.

While the gameplay mechanic is similar to any tower defense game, it has been greatly simplified. The game has also been done in an interesting and very humorous manner. What’s not fun about a bunch of plants destroying the undead? You start off the game in a pretty slow, but helpful to the beginner, progression of tutorial levels eventually unlocking killer plant after killer plant. Each with their own interesting defense mechanism. Along the way, new forms of strange and interesting zombies are also released. As you can imagine, different plants (towers) work better against particular zombies (creeps) based on their characteristics. Luckily there is an almanac available to view the number of different plants and zombies and their characteristics.

PVZ5The gameplay differs from a traditional tower defense, basically a simplification of the mechanic. Rather than the creeps moving in various directions, the game board in Plants vs. Zombies is laid out in a grid with the Zombies always moving in the same direction, right to left.

Where the game gets a little more complicated than your average tower defense is in the number of different plants you have to choose from. At the beginning of each level you are given the opportunity to choose your plants for the level. Luckily you know what kind of zombies you have to face in that level as they are displayed on the screen. Different zombies move differently. Some are fast and weak, some are slow and strong, others have special characteristics like jumping, flying, etc. As mentioned earlier, some plants work better on certain types of zombies and choosing the correct ones for the level is the key to progression.

Let’s take a look at the trailer for Plants vs. Zombies from PopCap.

There are lots of things to love about this game. There’s the great comic style, the humorous gameplay, and the attention to detail put into this game. Each new plant or zombie has interesting and funny characteristics. In addition, there’s the great long play adventure mode with 50 levels to progress in. There’s also an unlockable quick play mode once the adventure mode has been completed.

The game has been modified well for the iPhone in most respects. While the on screen buttons can be rather small, I rarely had an issue with pressing the wrong button. This might be an issue while riding in moving vehicles though.

PVZ6The game does a good job with respect to pick up and play characteristics of iPhone and iPod Touch users. If you quit the game or are interupted by a phone call, you can easily resume right where you left off the next time you start the app up.

While overall this game is a load of fun, there are some things we’d like to see fixed. First, for those that already have played the game on the desktop, the time to ramp up the game is rather long. Would be nice to have a way to jump ahead in some fashion. We also noticed some slight slow down on the second generation iPod Touch we were using to test the game when there were lots of things moving at once on the screen. This likely isn’t a real concern unless you are on a first generation device.

Overall there’s a lot of game here. Well made for those that like to sit down and play for hours or just play in quick bursts. If you enjoy strategy games, you’ll enjoy Plants vs. Zombies. And at $2.99, it’s a steal.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , , ,