Tower defense games have become very popular these days. They cover all kinds of subject matter, from aliens to military tactics. Casual gamers cannot get enough of this genre. Plants vs Zombies by PopCap Games is a unique twist on the genre, delving into the public’s fascination with zombies as the backdrop to the story.
As a home owner, your front lawn is suddenly besieged by the living dead. Your only defense are lawnmowers (which activate when Zombies come in contact with them) and plants. As the game begins, you are given a small tutorial about using plants and defending your lawn. Even though you start with a single plant that can shoot peas, your collection begins to grow very quickly after each level.
Additional plants can be obtained by defeating a zombie wave or buying them from Crazy Dave (more on this shortly). New plants will drop in the play field as icons; tapping on these icons with the stylus will add them to your plant collection.
The most important plant in your collection is the sunflower. Sun is a necessity for planting a defense; your lawn will be defenseless without it. Even though sunshine will randomly fall from the sky, the sunflower will generate additional sunshine to help speed up the process. The more sunflowers that are planted, the more sun you can stockpile for planting later.
As the game progresses, you will eventually amass a large collection of plants with various abilities. Mushrooms shoot poisonous spores; Chompers (which are Venus flytrap-like plants) devour incoming zombies; and potato mines lay patiently beneath the soil to explode. This is just a fraction of the plants available.
The zombies are a group of comical misfits that desperately try to reach your front door. They will devour everything in their path (plants included), and while some of them will mindlessly walk into the traps planted, others are more mindful of their approach. Some zombies will wear buckets to repel attacks and others will use screen doors. This is where the strategic element of PvsZ comes into play.
Certain plants will work better against these smarter zombies. The large mushrooms will emit a spore gas that will seep through the screen doors, while zombies wearing head gear are better dispatched by a potato mine. If all else fails, there is a cherry bomb that can annihilate large groups of approaching zombies. This works well when your strategy is failing to protect your lawn.
Initially, you are allowed to use 6 plants per stage, but plant seed slots can be purchased later from Crazy Dave – a mentally disturbed neighbor with a sauce pan on his head. Crazy Dave will make random appearances offering his services as a vendor.
PvsZ isn’t without its mini games: a bowling game segment has you rolling walnuts like bowling balls at the undead. Like the game itself, this mini game is very entertaining. While no planting is involved, it is a great diversion from the actual game. There are four mini games in all.
The environments and time of day will change the further you progress. While the game begins in the front yard, it will eventually take you to the backyard (where there is a pool) and the roof where you must lay pots before planting. The day will eventually change to night, and fog will also set in casting an eerie feeling over your house.
PvsZ DS is a well-polished game that offers hours of entertainment. All modes from the PC version made the transition along with a few extras. Even if you’re not familiar with the tower defense concept, the charm and wit that presents itself – along with the addictive gameplay – make this game a must-have for portable gamers. Popcap continues to develop some of the best casual games in the industry today, and Plants vs Zombies for Nintendo DS is no exception.
Platform: Nintendo DS
Developer: Popcap Games
Publisher: Popcap Games
ESRB Rating: E10+
Popcap Game’s Website
|Despite being on the small screen, the graphics still look great.|
|The classic zombie sound effects from the original PC version are intact.|
|Plants vs Zombies for DS is just as addicting as the computer version.|
|This is a must-have title for any DS owner.|