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Plants vs. Zombies

Score: 88%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Developer: PopCap Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Plants vs. Zombies is another port of the amazingly popular tower defense game that pits mindless zombies against a wide variety of vegetation designed to defend your home from the brain eaters.

While Plants vs. Zombies has always been a pretty game that puts a very light feel to what is typically very dark subject matter, the game simply pops on the Vita's screen. Even though your whole world is focused on a small lawn, every square, plant, lawn mower and zombie is rich and full of color. It's a simple design that goes a long way.

Similar to the visuals, the game's music and sound track are also dead-on. Music is low key, but pleasant and again, fits the light-hearted nature of the game which seems so different from most zombie-related products. The same goes for the various sounds of zombies moaning, plants shooting and sunlight being collected. It all fits together nicely, but like most portable or casual games, the sound isn't required for a good gameplay experience - it just helps a lot.


Gameplay:

If you haven't had a chance to play a version of Plants vs. Zombies yet, then either you don't like tower defense games, or you don't know what you are missing. If it's the former, then Plants vs. Zombies probably won't hold too much appeal for you. For the latter, on the other hand, this is a game that you must at least try out, and considering that the game has been released on pretty much every modern platform, you should be able to find a free demo somewhere.

The concept is simple, zombies are trying to get into your house and eat your brains. All that stands between you and the lumbering dead is your front lawn and the variety of plants you have to seed it with. These plants aren't your everyday vegetation though. They each have their own abilities, pros and cons, and you will need to use your sunlight, the currency of the game, wisely in order to put up a solid defense.

At first, you will start off with basic plants like Sunflowers, which produce more sunlight, and Pea Shooters. It isn't long before you start getting Potato Mines, Cherry Bombs, Wall-nuts [sic] and Snow Peas (a form of the pea shooter that slows down zombies).

The invading creatures walk across the screen to your house. They don't really vary in their paths, so you will be planting your various defensive forces on the same rows where they appear. So unlike other tower defense titles, there isn't a chance that the enemy will just walk by your plant - if it's in the way, it will get hit and the zombies will try and tear it down (well, eventually you will have to deal with jumping and balloon-riding zombies that can skip squares). As a result, its good to know how strong your various defenses are. One good example is the Wall-nut. While this plant doesn't do any actual damage, it can take a lot. Put this at the front of potentially vulnerable areas in order to slow down the horde so your damage-dealers can work on them longer.


Difficulty:

As with most tower defense titles, Plants vs. Zombies starts off at a slow pace to get you acquainted with the game, but it does a great job of slowly adding complexity in both the variety of plants and zombies. As a result, you might get lulled into a false sense of security early in the game, but the idea of Plants vs. Zombies being a cakewalk is dispelled fairly soon.

Again, as with any good tower defense, the key is not only resource control, but also using the right defenses. While it is good to have a lot of attackers on the field, some amount of sunlight needs to go towards Sunflowers so you can plant more vegetables quicker. On a similar note, it's not a good idea to constantly use all of your currency. I found that it was always a good idea to try and hold enough in the bank to buy some instant-use plants like the Cherry Bombs for when I got a little overwhelmed.


Game Mechanics:

Plants vs. Zombies uses the Touchscreen for everything, and it feels very natural. Of course, there aren't really that many complex actions you have to perform in the game. Besides tapping on pickups like sunlight, tapping on the seeds you want and tapping on the square to plant that seed, you don't have too much to handle. What I really enjoyed was the fact that the Vita's screen was considerably bigger than my iPhone and as a result, the selection and planting process was a lot easier to do. While I rarely fumbled over my fingers on the smaller screen, there was the occasion, and with the Vita, this never happened.

So yes, Plants vs. Zombies is a great game. It's been out for a few years now and it has garnered a lot of attention. The question is, do you get it for the Vita if you've already got a copy somewhere else? I like the bigger screen, but it really isn't a different experience outside of that. If you have a Vita, like tower defense games, and have somehow not gotten this game - then yes, buy it - you will enjoy it.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Related Links:



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