Monday, October 12, 2009

Pollen on the Brain (A Plants vs. Zombies Review)

Unfortunately in the world of gaming, the recycling of old and unoriginal gaming ideas is a viable and highly profitable business. It’s not often that a developer like Pop Cap (being the kings of recycling themselves) makes something new, yes they create newer games, but those games are basically re-skinned versions of their older ones and as such, are not really new in a sense. But winds of change seem to be blowing, because unbelievably, they made not only a new game, but one that involved every gamer’s favourite mascot, the zombie. Naturally, I was quite excited, although I must admit I still had my reservations; once I had played the game however, those reservations quickly became null and void as I found myself playing an incredibly fun game.

Plants vs. Zombies is basic in its formula but very big in its result. By taking influences from the tower defence maps of Warcraft 3, and building upon that simple premise, the player must prevent zombies from munching on the brains (which they oh so lovingly do) of the houses owner. It’s simple yet deceptively fun. Zombies, being the nuisance they are, spawn in continuous waves on the right side of a garden, their goal, is simply to get to the left side where the owners house is located. Your job as the player is to strategically place plants in an effort to prevent the zombies from accomplishing their goal; which as you would expect, becomes progressively more difficult each level. In order to successfully defend your garden, and through the various methods available to you, the player must collect enough sun power with which you can plant your vegetable army. How these photo synthesisers of doom manage to impede such zombie masses? Well I’m not exactly sure, but what I do know, is that by acting as either defensive obstacles or offensive attackers, they get the job done with satisfying effect.

These satisfying ingredients make up a majority of the game, but between every few levels, and after completing the game however, a series of enjoyable mini-games present themselves. These mini-games allow for a variation of play styles, this successfully manages to keep the game fresh and fun; ranging from the bowling over of zombies with walnuts, to playing a bejewelled style game with a twist.

As important as gameplay may be, there are many other elements to which comprise a game. For example, both the graphical style and audio track lend themselves brilliantly to the game and its accommodating themes. In fact, they do more than that, because they help to complete the game. Without these specific design choices, the game would seem less like a retail product and more like a mini browsing game. Over and above everything else I have mentioned, it’s the polish that most astounds me. The game is well balanced, almost completely bug free and not to mention incredibly addictive. Not only has Plants vs. Zombies been polished to an absolute T, but the game reeks of character, to a point you’d think it was the stilton of gaming. So what am I trying to say? Well it’s quite simple really, play Plants vs. Zombies. It really is a fine game, and if anything to go by, I see better days to come from Pop Cap.

It's a great game, its only real failing is its short length. gr33n_FIEND


Richard said...


p.s. i prefer the name, Dick!

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