REVIEW – Plants Vs Zombies (XBLA)

And Oldie But Goodie –

The developers at PopCap are masters at designing easy-to-learn games that are highly addicting and ideal for the faster gameplay of the mobile environment.  Bejeweled gives Tetris a run for its money thanks to the mesmerizing match-three gameplay and Peggle has more addictive qualities than the illegal drug market. Plants Vs Zombies, even though it was released in the Fall of 2010, is still highly entertaining here in 2013 and fits right alongside the other PopCap greats.

PvZ is a cartoony take on Tower Defense.  The goal is to stop an incoming horde of zombies through the strategic placement of various types of attacking plants.  With easy beginning stages acting as a tutorial, the difficulty eventually ramps up at the right pace and constantly keeps the player engaged by continuously offering new gameplay elements.  Most stages end by unlocking a new type of plant that can be used in the following stages while new and upgraded zombies are continually introduced.

This XBLA version also has a few exclusive features that separate it from its mobile phone origins.  Besides Achievement and Leaderboard support, there is also a Vs Mode and a Co-op mode.  If you can find a dedicated buddy to partner up with, these extra options can provide hours of additional zombie blasting bliss.

Besides the typical Tower Defense stages, the game also gets creative by offering mini-game style levels on occasion.  For example, after you earn the Wall-Nut item, the player is treated to a bowling-like stage in which you guide nuts to attack a constant rush of zombies. Also, there are stages in which the player is given random plants in succession instead of allowing the player to decide which plants to grow and when to grow them.  Even the changing environment, like playing at night which doesn’t yield any sunlight, forces the player to think differently throughout the entire adventure.

Crazy Dave makes the game even more unique

Like Peggle and Bejeweled, PvZ features bright cartoony graphics that are well animated and emit an uncanny amount of charm.  The soundtrack also adds to the friendly atmosphere while the sound effects give the zombies and plants texture.  Hearing the crunching and swishing sounds create personality.

My only complaint with this XBLA version is found in the controls.  The analog stick isn’t as intuitive as a touch screen and just scrolling through the game’s main menu is a bit too touchy.  But it is still playable by all means, just occasionally inconvenient.

The 360 isn’t as good as a touch screen but still works just fine.

The 1200 ($15) price tag might seem high, especially when compared to the price of the mobile versions, but it is still worthy of your spacebucks.  Very few games can do what PopCap has done – create an easy to understand but highly addicting game that offers a creative challenge.

8.5/10

Also Try: GeoDefense Swarm

On Par With: other PopCap titles

Wait For It: PvZ 2 or Peggle Deuce

By: Zachary Gasiorowski

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