Those zany zombies that will stop at nothing to feast on human brain matter have staggered their way on to the PSVita. Popcap’s award-winning game, Plants vs Zombies, places you in the shoes of a survivor living in a neighborhood infested by the undead. Your only means of defense is your garden.
As the game begins, you are given a brief tutorial about planting in your front yard. A seed packet appears in the planting bar at the top of the screen. Using the PSVita’s touch screen capabilities, you must press and hold your finger on the seed packet and drag it to the strip of grass on the lawn. Once the desired location is chosen, lifting your finger from the screen will plant the seed. Sunshine falls from the sky; these must be collected to continue planting. Titling the PSVita upwards will add it to your sunshine points.
After the tutorial, you’re left to fend for yourself. Your arsenal of plants initially contain a sunflower, peashooter, walnut, and cherry bomb. Before the zombie horde reaches your lawn, you are given a few brief moments to begin planting. The best strategy is to start planting sunflowers to increase your sunshine points.
Since every seed has a cost, it is important to save as much sunshine points as possible. Once enough sunshine points have been saved, you can start planting peashooters. These plants are capable of firing peas the entire distance of the yard, hitting zombies as they approach. The more peashooters guarding your yard the better.
As the zombies slowly stumble their way on to your property, plants like the peashooter will begin to attack. Weaker zombies will fall apart easily, while stronger zombies can absorb more damage and will eat your attacking plant in retaliation. The best way to save your plants is to use the wall-nut. These nuts serve as temporary blockades until they are devoured by zombies.
As the game progresses further, additional seeds are introduced to improve your chances of survival. The Hypno-Schroom, when consumed by a zombie, will turn it against the others. This works best when you’re overwhelmed by a zombie horde. If things become too overwhelming, the Doom-shroom will vaporize just about every zombie on-screen. In addition to these, the Squash and Jalapeno also serve as good defenses, but their uses are limited. There are 40 seeds in all to plant with eight upgrades.
The PSVita version includes the original game modes, mini-games, puzzles, and survival games from previous versions. Plus, the Zen Garden is present. Unique to the PSVita version is an updated version of the Zombatar zombie creator. Zombies created with this feature usually appear during the final wave of zombies.
The PSVita version utilizes 6-axis gyroscope technology to collect on-screen items. A simple downward tilt of the system will collect coins dropped by the undead. It is possible to collect items by touching the screen, but when a horde of zombies are attacking, tilting the system is more convenient and it helps you focus on the gameplay.
The PSVita’s 5-inch OLED screen produces a vibrant, colorful picture that really helps the graphics stand out. This also causes a few issues while playing. Since the Vita’s screen is so large, and the analog sticks and buttons are placed where they are, it can be difficult to use the touch screen while playing. It’s impossible to use your thumbs to touch the screen like a standard handheld device. Since the system must be held in one hand and the other to touch the screen, cramping in the hands usually occur after a few hours of gameplay.
With gripes aside, Plants vs Zombies is a perfect rendition of the PC classic. It offers the same addictive gameplay and unlockable features that gamers have come to love. Plus, the Zombatar zombie creator is fun by itself. While nothing innovative has been added to its release, Plants vs Zombies is still one of the best games available today. Not only is it a worthwhile purchase for your PSVita, it’s a no-brainer.
Platform: PSVita (Available on PSN)
Developer: Popcap Games
Publisher: Popcap Games
ESRB: E 10+ (Everyone 10+)
|The graphics look gorgeous on the PSVita's OLED screen.|
|Cranky zombie sounds and catchy tunes round out the experience.|
|You're missing out if you haven't played Plants vs Zombies.|