Pop Cap’s grotesquely popular strategy title has made an appearance on just about every format known to man. The game is so ubiquitous I wouldn’t be surprised if intelligent toilets in Japan now ran it, for when players need their fix mid-dump. In honour of the recent Playstation Vita release, however, I’m taking a look at Plants vs Zombies anew.
The concept is a simple yet refreshing one. Zombies, video game experience tells us, like to gang up on heavily armed soldier-types, and hobble threateningly towards them en masse. The scene generally resembles a riot at a retirement home, perhaps following a deficit of incontinence pants or a heavily-disputed bingo result. The inevitable Pyrrhic victories that resulted from this tactic have practically added zombies to the endangered species list. These particular rotting bastards, then, decide to prey on a safer target: an ordinary, firearm-free home. What they didn’t expect was a frenzied counterattack from a vast crew of sentient plants.
To be fair, even those of us without maggots growing on our groins couldn’t have predicted that. These guys were utterly screwed.
The playfield is your yard. It’s divided into a grid of sorts. The undead march from the right, while on the left is the entrance to your home. (And your delicate brain-meat.) The centre serves as the battleground, where you plant your vicious vegetable warriors. There are just short of fifty types on offer, and each has been perfectly designed to complement a myriad of strategies. If zombies with a crude screen door shield shuffle your way, Fume-shrooms that blast out noxious gases will be needed to bypass their bolstered defenses. If it’s a foggy night, Planturns must be deployed so you can see where the enemies are before they start chewing your face. All are presented in a delightfully endearing cartoon style, plants and zombies alike with charm you effortlessly. The fearless foliage has also been endowed with hilarious anthropomorphic animations.
All of this is no doubt familiar to many gamers, so what does the Vita iteration bring to the table? Aesthetically, Plants vs Zombies is a sexy beast indeed on the OLED screen, and the touch interface lends itself well to the larger dimensions it offers. The caveat here is the unwieldy one-handed use this demands. (You can switch to buttons to alleviate this, but it’s hard to give up the touch-and-slide goodness.) Moreover, the Vita edition provides the minigames, puzzle, survival and baffling zombatar business other portable versions omit. There’s also a fiendish new range of trophies, including an elusive platinum for dedicated green-fingered killers. For an addict like myself, this certainly warranted a purchase. Those that own Plants vs Zombies already (and it’s been pimped out more than all but the most prolific of street-corner-dwellers) will need to give considerably more thought to another purchase.
Still, unlike most street-corner-dwellers, the game is unlikely to leave you with a hideous man problem of some kind. Which is a selling point indeed. Oddly tangential STD jokes aside, here’s the great trailer from the 360 edition of the game:
Article by Chris Littlechild