Monday, December 18

Zombies on The Front Lawn

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PopCap has made one of the most popular games of today. Plants vs. Zombies is a unique and enjoyable game for everybody. The teaser alone is intriguing. It presents a delightful sunflower voiced by Laura Shigihara and a crew of zombies. It’s actually considered as one of the top promotional videos in the gaming industry.

The rules of the game are pretty simple. All you have to do is to protect your home from zombie attacks. These zombies are your enemies, but the way they’re portrayed in a flashy manner makes them adorable, nevertheless. They normally hop around on pogo sticks, pole-vault, wear suits and football gears, etc. Their goal is to close in on your home, and as its owner it’s your duty to set up its defense. This defense comes in the form of various plants you grow. These plants can guard your brains from being eaten by the terrible creatures.

The game tosses the player into the shoes of a homeowner that has to survive that staple of the horror genre: the shambling horde of the undead. However, unlike portrayals common to TV and movies, the game takes a more comedic twist. The zombies all vary in their attire, with some wearing business suits and others decked out in high school football gear. It is possible to find those that run around on pogo sticks or would have enough height to put Yao Ming to shame. The shambling swarm of the “living-challenged” is closing in, but the backyard serves as a final defensive line. The weaponry, rather than the guns and artillery one might expect from a more serious game, are plants of various sorts.

The gameplay involves defending against five lanes, with the goal of keeping the endless hordes of rotting corpses from getting to the right side of the screen. Various types of plants are available for selection at the start of the game, which all serve a variety of functions. More types can be unlocked through progress. The idea is to plant them in a strategic manner, making the most of their strengths while minimizing the gaps in their defensive capabilities. The plants all fulfill typical roles one might find in simple RTS games, like the straight-shooting defensive structure or the very basic wall. There’s even one that functions as a landmine. Specific plants can also be very good at taking out some of the more specific zombies, like the pole-vaulting one.

You need a particular amount of sunlight to be able to make each plant. Globes of sunlight will regularly fall to the ground and you must be able to collect enough of them to create your army of plants. Your staple crop is the sunflower which also creates globes of sunlight that you can use to power your arsenal.

When you’re finished with the main storyline, you still have a lot that you can do. You can play in Survival Mode which is a longer version of a regular level, or you can opt for the Puzzle Mode which hides some opponents in vases or making you a zombie that has to go against an army of plants. What makes the game really enjoyable are the Mini-Games, which results from the hybrid of the main them of the game with PopCap’s other games like like Bejeweled (here titled Beghouled) and Hammer Heads.

Plants vs. Zombies is definitely enjoyable for players of all ages. Once you start, you’ll find it hard to stop. It’s THAT addicting. So what are you waiting for? Jump on the bandwagon, and see for yourself what the fuss is all about.



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