Features & Use
Test device: Samsung Galaxy S2 (I9100)
Android version: 2.3.6
Runs as of version: 1.9
It feels like Tower Defense games are a dime a dozen, be it in the guise of an app or computer game. Because these games are so popular, they keep improving, which is good news for passionate gamers. More good news: Plants vs. Zombies has a bit of a twist to it and differs somewhat from more classic TD games.
Let me issue a word of warning to home owners who don't have a garden: be wary of the zombie invasion, because when they come prowling through the streets (and they will) you'll have nothing with which to defend yourself with. Because – who would've guessed? – the best weapons against zombies are flowers, vegetables and weeds.
You may already be familiar with the Tower Defense m.o.: waves of zombies pour onscreen from the right and the plant weapons can be found on the left.
When you first start playing you'll have only simple plants to help you fight the intruders, but the longer you play and higher up you get, the cooler, more bad-ass plants you'll have at your disposal. Take the cactus for example—it can be used against flying zombies. Cherry bombs will make all zombies in their radius explode. Pumpkin seeds will help strengthen your other plants.
Passive defense plants are also very useful, and, again, the pumpkin comes into play here.
It's this fun defense/offense dynamic that makes the game challenging and diversified.
How does one use the weapons?
Collect suns (they fall from the sky) which can be used to build plants. Plants drop from the sky randomly, and you can also use sunflowers which will generate suns when they've matured.
A twist: some levels take place at night, during which gamers must use mushrooms rather than suns, so that a whole new strategy is called for.
The playing field is more limited than in other Tower Defense games: there are six horizontal rows that serve as independent battle fields. Some plants can grow across rows, but it's best to mind each row individually. Like on a battle field, plants/units must be placed strategically rather than willy nilly. In case you've done a bad move strategically you can dig up a plant and replace it by another.
In the beginning the plants are quite basic, but then again so is the enemy. Toss a few peas at a rookie zombie's head and Bob's your uncle. The more advanced zombies sport buckets, dangle from balloons and sail over obstacles using staffs. There's even un un-dead Michael Jackson doing the moon walk and calling upon others to join his cause. The hockey truck driver is another nasty number: he'll drive right over plants, crushing them and rendering them powerless. Plus, his tracks turn into ice which in turn prevent anything growing there for a while.
There are 50 levels in the story mode, plus a few bonus rounds here and there, which are generally quite fun (zombie bowling, etc.) Zombies drop a few coins every now and then; collect them as they can be used to buy new plants.
There are also a few mini games and it's possible to select levels which you wish to play.
Plants vs. Zombies is not your average Tower Defense game. It's unique and hence very interesting. I must admit that I've enjoyed trying it out for you all and have gotten a little bit hooked, even though the game could be a bit more challenging for my taste. The app scores thanks to the fun sense of humour and great graphics.
Screen & Controls
The app scores in both departments in this category as it's both nicely designed and easy to use. There's a great intro for first time users and choosing and placing plants is easy-peasy. Well done, Plants vs. Zombies.
Speed & Stability
Plants vs. Zombies runs very smoothly, even the whole display is flooded with zombies. It doesn't lag and it doesn't crash.
Plants vs. Zombies can be downloaded for EUR 2,39 from the Play Store, which isn't exactly peanuts but the game is lots of fun and comes with a good does of humour. The graphics are great, too.