Busy Gamer Review - Plants vs. Zombies

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Busy Gamer Review

Too busy to devote 12+ hours a day to your gaming habit? Here's a review that's sensitive to your needs: Short and focused on just the things that a busy gamer like you really needs to know.

Busy Gamer Review - Plants vs. Zombies

Reviewed On: PC. Also available for Mac and is expected to eventually be released on iPhone and Xbox 360.

Plants vs. Zombies
All we want to do is eat your brains... and sear ourselves into your eyes.
In a Nutshell: Tower defense game that pits you against the titular zombies. All that stands between the brain-crazed monsters and your front door are five lawn mowers and the ability to sow a variety of weapon-y plants, including one that rather resembles a certain villain from Little Shop of Horrors. (Not Audrey II, please don't sue!) Plants perform a variety of "attacks," from shooting peas to hypnotizing zombies into attacking their little buddies.

Early zombies are dumber than a box of rocks, with later additions gaining specific advantages. For example, an undead athlete can pole-vault over certain plants that stop other zombies in their tracks. The game gets exponentially harder around level 10, when the sun goes down and the tombstones pop up. Players must up their strategic thinking, selecting the plants they think will best suit their needs in upcoming levels. The game automatically flags doomed decisions ("This level will be extremely difficult without..."), which can be a lifesaver in double-digit levels.

Zombie-flavored mini-games break up the tower defense monotony. Bowling for Zombies appears early enough in the game that most players should get to it in the average trial period. Whack-a-Zombie, a whack-a-mole inspired mini-game, appears much later - and is difficult enough to make users rethink their purchasing decision. Alas, you can't replay mini-games outside of adventure mode or gain access to survival mode until you complete the main campaign (15 levels in all).

Learning Curve: Ridiculously easy in the beginning, then turns it up to 11 around the 1 hour mark - or about the time your free trial period expires. (Coincidence? I think not.) Strategic thinkers will survive the zombie onslaught longer than those who just plant whatever looks cool. Good peripheral vision doesn't hurt in the later levels, either. Don't be fooled - after level 9, a very strong strategic mind and an itchy mouse finger will be required to survive the onslaught. Great for tower defense enthusiasts, bad for people looking for a relaxing solitaire replacement.

The Save Game: Save and exit at any time by clicking the menu button. All progress is saved. When returning to the game, you have the option to continue from where you left off or restart the level.

Family Factor: The zombies are very comical, but might freak out very small children. No blood, but some mild comic violence: Zombie arms and legs fall off when hit by certain plants. Zombie heads roll. One plant swallows zombies whole. When a zombie inevitably makes it into your house, the words "Zombies ate your brains" appears in big, drippy green letters. (You don't see the big event, however.)

Buy or Skip? A very solid purchase for tower defense fans who enjoy casual games. If you aren't sure - or just don't want to spend the dough - play online at popcap.com. The site retains your progress even after you leave. You will have to sit through the occasional ad as there's no such thing as a free game.

On a Personal Note: I avoided this game for a long time despite reading constant reports of friends losing entire afternoons to its charms. I finally went online to check out the game during some downtime and found it oddly captivating. That led to me downloading the trial so I could avoid the ads and, finally, shelling out for the full game.

Our 6-year-old has become obsessed it, choosing Plants vs. Zombies time over his much loved - and rare, during the school week - Pokemon Pearl time. He did report one zombie nightmare the day after seeing it for the first time, but said it was OK, he knew it wasn't real. He has started availing his fellow 1st graders with Plants vs. Zombies stories, just in time for parent-teacher conference time. Oh, goody.

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1 Comment


Yeah this game rocks. My wife and I trade the mouse back and forth and just dig it. Top notch game.

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This page contains a single entry by GrrlGotGame published on November 19, 2009 11:54 AM.

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