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Plants vs Zombies review

AT A GLANCE
  • Endlessly funny
  • Not just random or simple
  • Ridiculously good value
  • Not good for your clicking finger
  • May make you see zombies in your sleep
  • Oddities aren't immediately intuitive

There are counter-plants for each, but the more effective ones only counter one or two types. You tend to learn the hard way which zombies absolutely have to be crushed the second they show up, and which will generally succumb to raw firepower despite their special abilities. Since the mix on each level is different, PvZ never lets you settle into a comfortable build order for your garden, or preferred set of plants.

The drip-feed of new toys is what keeps the Adventure exciting, but very quietly, another side to PvZ is building in the background. Sets of levels are punctuated with silly little minigames, and mysterious options appear on the main menu. By the time you finish the Adventure, the obscene wealth of other things to do already outweighs it for entertainment value.

These minigames, challenges, shops and pet projects are all tied together by an economy: some zombies drop money when they die, all minigames give cash rewards, and your Zen Garden generates a steady stream of income. Your profit from all of these can be spent at Crazy Dave’s car boot sale. Some extremely expensive but extremely tantalising plant upgrades give a powerful impetus to play any and all modes that make you money.

A few of the extra ways to play deserve special mention: Beghouled is a pitch-perfect mash-up in which you play Bejeweled with your plants even as the zombies try to chomp through them, adding strategy to which types you choose to match. Last Stand lets you take as long as you want to design the perfect garden with an enormous budget, but leaves you helpless to watch once the zombies pour in. Our favourite is I, Zombie: a delicious reversal in which you have to choose which zombie types to purchase to strategically decimate a preset garden.

We love Bejeweled and Peggle, but we stop playing those games when we tire momentarily of their singular mechanic, or get irritated by their random elements. We stop playing Plants vs Zombies when someone makes us. It has neither of those limitations, and more substance, invention, humour and depth than either game. It’s not a hardcore strategy game, nor is it a hard strategy game, but it is a strategy game. And a strategy game by PopCap turns out to be a frighteningly compelling thing.

May 13, 2009

More Info

Release date: Jan 18 2011 - DS
Sep 08 2010 - Xbox 360
May 05 2009 - PC (US)
Sep 08 2010 - Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: PS Vita, DS, iPhone, Xbox 360, PC
Genre: Strategy
Published by: Popcap
Developed by: Popcap
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence

19 comments

  • Zepaw - September 24, 2010 7 a.m.

    Only iPhone game I did not get sick of after 10 minutes. Insanely good. "I'm waiting for the XBLA release though." Only took a year and a half.
  • donxiomai - March 29, 2010 5:39 a.m.

    this is a very great game !!
  • Nobody - November 28, 2009 9:12 p.m.

    GOT IT FOR 5 DOLLARS ON STEAM SALE! AMAZING GAME!
  • bugmenot - May 15, 2009 9:38 p.m.

    Fantastic game, haven't beaten it yet but I intend to over the weekend. Incidentally, I'm one of those people that pirate a game, play it for an hour, then delete it (also the kind that logs into sites requiring a login using bugmenot). But it should be mentioned that I voluntarily gave them $10.00 for the experience I have gotten thus far. Kudos PopCap.
  • Spybreak8 - May 15, 2009 9:56 a.m.

    You know the demo was a lot of fun and I could see where this could actually be hours of gameplay. Not bad Popcap, you must have geniuses in your think tank. I'm waiting for the XBLA release though.
  • frag - May 15, 2009 3:14 a.m.

    This game is awesome for the 10$ it cost you. I wish mainstream games could provide this quality all the time(proportionaly speaking).
  • EYE8URBRAINS - May 14, 2009 12:45 a.m.

    I've beaten the game, and it is the best defense games I have ever played! I'm a big fan of Insaniquarium, and now this!
  • Hobojedi - May 13, 2009 10:42 p.m.

    It seems cool, but from the screen shots, it looks a bit complicated.
  • FloydChaos - July 25, 2009 4:09 a.m.

    This game can make you feel like it can go forever but then a side of you doesn't want it to stop. Overall it's really fun and i cant leave it alon!!!
  • Spybreak8 - May 22, 2009 8:17 a.m.

    Well Steam had it for 10 bucks and I'm now 10 dollars in the hole. Very enjoyable game and I love the humor, gameplay and of course unlocking mini-games lol.
  • KatamariLovesSpock - May 17, 2009 3:14 p.m.

    This game looks great, I hope it comes out on XBLA. xP
  • IHazCheezburger - May 17, 2009 9:42 a.m.

    Thanks for the helpful review. I downloaded the demo on Steam, liked it, so I purchased the full game. Well worth every penny. For 10 dollars, this is an incredible value and a great game. I would definitely suggest trying it out to anyone that reads this, if you have spare time that you want to throw away forever.
  • dukethepcdr - May 16, 2009 12:19 a.m.

    Maybe it's fun to play, but it looks stupid. Of course, I never really have liked "tower defense" games anyway. The only games I've liked with any "tower defense" in them were games like Stronghold where you got to build your own tower and a castle to go with it and then defend it if you played one of the modes where enemies came at your castle. The other versions of the same idea like this reviewed game are just weird.
  • Schmegeggi - May 14, 2009 3:11 a.m.

    Damn you GR and PCG! And damn Steam for offering a free 1 hour demo. Another chunk of my life murdered by a Pop Cap game. I'd almost be better off with a drug addiction of some kind. Braaaaiiins
  • Grenade - May 14, 2009 1:13 a.m.

    Hobojedi = Not at all. You select a plant, place it in a row, and it attacks zombies.
  • drprofessor - May 13, 2009 11:27 p.m.

    I hate Pop Cap. How much of my life must they demand? Soulless bastards. Oh, well...*pulls out credit card*
  • bakakaba - May 13, 2009 10:49 p.m.

    Totally agree with the review. It's one of the most fun games I've played so far this year, and it's only 10 bucks! Even if you don't like Peggle or other Popcap games I urge you to at least try this as I'm pretty sure there is a demo on Steam and elsewhere.
  • GoldenMe - May 13, 2009 10:45 p.m.

    Huh. PopCap made another good game. I wonder if this will make it to XBL Marketplace... That would be great.
  • piccolodevilking - May 13, 2009 9:54 p.m.

    wanna play it first

Showing 1-19 of 19 comments

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