Zombies are the best thing ever. There’s no two ways about it. And you can keep your Romero-esque social commentary; just give me an undead horde and a group of shotgun-toting zombie-fearing civilians, and you’ve instantly got a recipe for success. Case in point #1: Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake. Case in point #2: The Walking Dead.
It’s a dynamic that translates well in frantic First Person Shooters like Left 4 Dead, but how well do zomboids fare in the thinkier context of tower defense? And what happens when you replace shotguns with, erm, plants?
In Plants vs Zombies, you must defend your house from an undead assault, which happens to take place via your front (and later back) garden. Fortunately, you have an array of feisty plants on offer that can be used to thwart the zombie invasion.
You start out with a few basics, like the peashooter, but the game gradually introduces (literally) dozens more. Plants can be purchased within each level using sun points, which either fall from the sky during the day, or can be grown with sunflowers. You can only choose a fixed amount of plant species per level (six to begin with), so picking a strong combination is paramount to success.
Plants vs Zombies also keeps thing interesting with a steady flow of new zombies and environments. The zombie with a traffic cone on his head can absorb more punishment; disturb the newspaper-reading zombie and he’ll charge; the athletic zombie can pole-vault your first line of defense; in water levels, you have to set down lily pads as a base for plants; at night time, you have to rely solely on sunflowers for sun points. These are just a few of the great concepts Plants vs Zombies throws in as you progress.
Plants vs Zombies is yet another game to benefit from the iPhone’s touchscreen controls. A quick tap of the plant selects it, while a second tap lays it in the garden. Quick and easy.
The tone in Plants vs Zombies is incredibly light-hearted. The animated zombies are often amusing (particularly the dancing Thriller-esque one), and the soundtrack is suitably catchy. Your crazy next door neighbour occasionally provides guidance and sells useful items, and even the zombies write the odd letter (with intentionally bad advice).
There are also a number of bowling-style mini-games to break up the tower defensing. Not that Plants vs Zombies needs them, but they’re a nice change of pace now and again.
- Great variety of zombies and plants
- Often laugh-out-loud funny
- New concepts are always well-introduced
- Arguably too easy to start off with
- Levels can feel quite samey
- No shotguns
Summary: Pop Cap looked at the already-saturated tower defense category and said, “You know what? We can do better.” And thank cripes they did, because Plants vs Zombies is awesome.
Developer: Pop Cap
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.