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Review – Plants vs Zombies (PC, Mobile)

PopCap Games, Inc | Released: May 5th 2009

Occasionally Valve likes to promote other games by having tie ins with Team Fortress 2.  Generally these will be special limited edition Hats or Weapons.  I generally steer clear of the idea of buying a game “just for the hats”.  Especially considering how these are often somewhat expensive games.  Plants vs zombies went on sale for something like $4 plus you got TWO TF2 hats for free.  For the first time I admittedly bought a game just for the special Hats for TF2.  I’ve bought other games that had hat based promos but I bought them because the game seemed interesting (Mount & Blade, Left 4 Dead 2).

The irony here and the point of this little story is that of all of the games I’ve gotten hats from, this one is the one I’ve ended up playing the most.  It did look interesting before I’d played it but I’m not a huge fan of the Zombie Genre. The basic premise here is to defend your home against the oncoming horde of Zombies.  Instead of using the traditional methods of fire, shotguns or old records and cricket bats, you instead use an army of plants.  As the game progresses you get an increasingly more powerful array of plants to help defend yourself, which is good because you must face an increasingly powerful array of Zombie attackers.

This task is not without it’s hindrances.  a third of the way through the game the action shifts tot he backyard where you must contend with the pool, which only takes a certain types of plants or require lily pads to hold up regular plants.  Later you move to the roof where the pitch becomes a problem for your straight shooting Pea Shooters requiring the use of catapults.  Then there is the problem of the night.  The currency of the game is sunlight, which happens naturally during the day and can be produced from Sunflowers.  You can use Mushrooms at night but they are considerably weaker than their daytime counterparts. There’s a LOT more to this game though, which only helps drive up the value and quality.  The main Adventure game consists of 50 stages, though to help break up the monotony, there are several special stages that don’t involve straight planting and defending.  The most common will give you a conveyor belt sort of menu of pre chosen plants to drop.  These stages don’t require Sunlight but you’re limited to what is given to you to complete the stage.  Other bonus stages involve breaking open jars or destroying grave stones hoping to reveal plants instead of more Zombies.

You also get to collect coins as you go along in order to pay for upgrades from the Crazy neighbor.  You know he’s crazy because why else would he price his stuff so cheap?  Oh right, and because he SAYS SO.  Some of these upgrades are almost necessary such as the last line of defense pool cleaners.  There’s also a “Zen Garden” you can buy plants and supplies for, it’s essentially a virtual garden of friendly plants to take care of which will earn some additional money for the player. Top if off with a bunch of themed mini games and an interesting replay mode for the standard Adventure mode where you are forced to use a particular set of plants and you’ve got a lot of good replay value built in once the main game is complete. 

You certainly get a lot of decent and fun gameplay for not much. Plants vs Zombies can be found on Steam  There is a demo available as well.

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