Monday, August 2, 2010

App O' the Mornin': Plants vs. Zombies

Okay, so these zombies are attacking, and the only thing between them and your brains (which are so very very tasty) is … your garden.

That’s bad news for the zombies, since your front yard is planted with the most undead-butt-kicking set of flora ever to take root in a suburban lawn.

The premise is simple: zombies are in the street, and they want to get into your house to eat your brains. Between them and you is a nice stretch of green lawn. On some levels it’s split in half by a water feature, and later in the game the zombies will try to get in through the roof.

To stop the zombies, you place defensive lines of plants. Both the types of plants and kinds of zombies multiply with each level. From a single “pea shooter,” you’ll eventually accumulate a dazzling array of ferocious flora: double and triple pea-shooters, frozen-pea-shooters, watermelon catapults, flaming logs, hopping squash, man-eating plants, gas-spewing fungus, and more.

The zombies aren’t remaining idle while you’re gathering this arsenal. They’re calling on reinforcements: zombies with pails on their heads or football uniforms (for armor), pole-vaulting zombies, zombie dolphins (for the water feature), Michael Jackson zombies with backup dancers, zombie zambonis, zombie bobsled teams, and more.

The puzzle is in figuring out the best combination and pattern of plants to stop the invaders before they get to you. A healthy selection of levels and myriad minigames keep the action going for a good long time.

Clever, challenging, and insanely addictive, Plants vs. Zombies has made a terrific leap from PC to App, losing none of its signature gameplay. You still have to place a variety of lethal plants to halt a zombie attack upon your peaceful suburban home, but this time you use simple touch commands instead of the mouse. It’s a remarkably effective port, with sharp visuals and no loss of scope or control from the radical shrinkage to iPhone size. Everything in the original is here, and portable!

Plants vs. Zombies is pure madness, in the best possible way. It’s funny, clever, and entertaining. Without any hint of shame, I can say that the original was the most fun I’d had playing a game in months, and the App version doesn’t lose a bit of the magic.

UPDATE: Welcome PvZ Facebook fans! This is a new blog which will cover all aspects of gaming, from beginner to advanced, electronic to conventional, high-tech to no-tech. Stick around, read some of the introductory posts, check out our ongoing App coverage, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter!


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