Monday, 31 March 2014

App Review No. 51 Plants vs. Zombies

Strong Points:
Lots of content
Lots of levels
Great cartoon graphics
Good sound affects
Varied achievements
Almanac is useful and funny
Lots of plants and zombies
There's a zombie on my lawn! (the song)

Weak Points:
Huge difficulty spikes
Levels can sometimes take too long
You can't play the bonus levels until the main game is completed

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
World Wide:  February 15, 2010

Tap to place plants, gather sunlight/coins and do a variety of tasks

If your garden was suffering from being boring, how would you deal with it? By using plants. If you wanted to attract more insects and animals, how would you do it? By using plants. If a zombie hoard was trying to attack your lawn, how would you deal with it? By using plants... wait, what? That's right, PopCap takes a nice twist on the generic zombie game by getting you to use plants to defeat said zombies.

The premise of the game is that your house is being attacked by zombies and you have heeded the word of your neighbour Crazy Dave (even though the word 'crazy' is actually in his name) by preparing a lawn defence made entirely of plants with eyes. How they have eyes, we are never told. You then have to fight your way through five groups of ten levels (day, night, pool, fog and roof) which each have varying gameplay. For instance, in night you are required to plant fungi as it is hard to get sun and in pool, you have to use lily pads (to place land plants on) or use water based plants. Every fifth level is a minigame such as bowling (which can be late replayed in the minigame mode) and every tenth level is a conveyor belt level. Conveyor belt levels differ from main levels as you don't have to use sun to buy plants and instead have to wait for the conveyor belt to give you a plant. This makes the conveyor belt levels much more frantic, and less strategic than the main levels. Levels are set up into waves with each wave consisting of a hoard of zombies as well as a few more.

The gameplay consists of you placing plants on any of the six lanes so as to defeat the zombies that are coming down these lanes. To buy a plant you must fist have the required sun which can be obtained naturally during daytime levels as well as through Sunflowers (and its variants) and Sun-Shrooms. There are many different plants that range from your basic Peashooter (that fires one pea down one lane) to Torchwood (that set peas alight so as to deal more damage) to Squashes (a one use plant that kills a single zombie) to Wallnut (a tough plant with no attack and a smiling face) Throughout the levels you will gain more plants as well as money so as to buy special plants.The shop takes the form of Crazy Dave's car and enables you to buy anything from plant upgrades (such as Twin Sunflowers which give you double the sun) to garden rakes that kill a zombie as well as extra seed pockets enabling you to take more plants into the field of battle.

The zombies that you face come in many varieties as well from Basic Zombie (just an average zombie that walks in a straight line and eats plants and brains) to the dreaded Pole Vaulter Zombie (that jumps over a plant) to the Bucket Head Zombie (which are much harder to kill, although if they already are dead, then surely they're impossible to kill?) all the way to Dr Zomboss (the ruler of the zombies). If a zombie reaches your house, then you lose the level and the zombie's eat your brains. Luckily, you have an arsenal of plants as well as some lawnmowers (kills one line of zombies when reached) to help defend yourself.

 Finally, there are extra modes other than adventure mode that are unlocked after beating adventure mode. These include minigame mode (which I've talked about previously), puzzle mode (containing: 'Vasebreaker', 'I, Zombie' and 'Last Stand') survival mode (fight against continuous waves of zombies) and zen garden (a virtual garden for you to marvel at your plants). While these modes are meant to be a reward for you beating the adventure mode it would have been nice to have at least one of them available at the beginning so as to break up gameplay a bit.

Overall, Plants vs. Zombies is a brilliant time waster that dares to be a little different to the generic zombie games. And you get to see a Sunflower sing at the end of the game. What's not to like?

Rating: 90%

Goodbye for now, Harry

Update: minor improvements

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