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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Play it Now!: Plants vs Zombies

by Lauren Doster

I would probably rate PopCap’s “Plants vs Zombies” as the cutest, most creative, and addictive tower defense game to date. The gameplay is built on a simple grid format, where Zombies move horizontally across the screen towards your rows of defense. If your lines of defense are not sufficient, the zombies will enter your house and the dreaded “ZOMBIES ATE YOUR BRAINS” flashes on the screen.

The key to long-term success in this game is twofold: your ability to collect sunlight quickly, and your ability to assess which plants to add to your arsenal at which time. Sunlight is key for financing more plants. I would highly suggest you purchase the double sunflowers as soon as Crazy Dave offers them up for sale in his shop. When selecting your arsenal, I always try to incorporate a walnut (this slows a zombies approach to your home, while you continue to attack him) and an “oh shit” plant for those zombies that do sneak by (Squash, Red Pepper will do just fine). Couple these with your traditional Pea Shooter, Sunflower, etc. As you progress, more seed packets will become available to spruce up your zombie-killing arsenal. I would highly suggest buying more seed slots as soon as you can raise the cash. This will come in especially handy as you take on nighttime games, where you receive no free sunlight.

Nighttime Survival Mode

That being said, the biggest hook of this game goes beyond the normal adventure mode. Puzzle mode, survival mode, and various mini-games including maintaining your own “Zen Garden”. I was trying to explain to Sean the importance of saving up capital to purchase Stinky the Snail to continue to collect gold coins in my Zen Garden while I was away. He’ll understand, someday. Another great mini-game consists of playing as the zombies, attacking plants and trying to eat brains. It’s a great way to learn how to resist zombies in the normal adventure mode.
Stinky the Snail – kickin’ ass and taking names.

Overall, I give this game a 9/10! I have completed the adventure mode and most of the puzzle/mini-games. I think PopCap balanced the “cute” aspect perfectly with genuine strategy required to be successful. This will appeal to both light gamers and their hardcore counterparts. Just be prepared for your girlfriend to utter “the zombies….are coming” for a few weeks!

*Note: Photos are a result of Steam and Google image search


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