Review: Plants Vs Zombies Vita
Plants vs Zombies is a game some of you may have already played. It’s already available on the PC, Mac, Playstation Network, XBLA, iOS devices and more, and most of you are likely to have encountered it before. So why should you buy another version of a three year old game? I’ll give you the short answer: “Because it’s still fantastic!”
For the uninitiated, PvZ is a light strategy / tower defense game from Popcap, the guys behind the ultimate time-waster, Bejewelled. Zombies have invaded your lawn, and are shambling towards your house, presumably in pursuit of brains, or brain related items. Using your keen gardening skills, you need to plant rows of defenses to keep back the horde. Core to the games resource management is Sun, which is used to grow your plants, and proper Sun management is key to effective planting. Plants vary wildly in their uses, from simple pea shooters, to giant cherry bombs, and even the deadly Spud Mine.
As you progress, you’ll acquire new plants to aid you in your task. Your initial arsenal is quite minimal, but you’ll soon be overflowing with choices, making strategic plant selections in order to survive. Every new level offers a new challenge, and a chance to test out that new mushroom you just picked up. Certain plants only affect specific zombies, so it’s important to pay attention at the start of each round to see what you’ll be facing.
Upon completion of certain goals during the main campaign mode, you will also unlock various extras and mini-games. These are fun little diversions, and provide an amusing break from the main defence mode. Zombie bowling is great fun, and you will get a go at this during the story mode. You also get to try controlling the Zombies, for a welcome change of pace, with the player “planting” zombies behind a line to get to the sweet and tasty brains beyond the plants.
The overall pacing of PvZ is spot on, and you will rarely find yourself out of your depth. New enemies and plants are drip fed, and you always get time to experiment with new strategies. New zombies are added one by one, with zombies that wear protective bucket helmets, disco dancing zombies and even a pole vaulter. You will learn what works best on each zombie by experimenting, and you will even enjoy the occasional mistake, as a horde of shambling disco dancers strut their way down your back garden.
It also helps that PvZ looks great. The zombies are well defined, and it never hard to see what kind of zombie is assaulting you. The bucket headed zombies are clearly distinguishable from the traffic cone headed ones, and this really helps the player to plan their moves. The plants benefit from this treatment too, and even though they number around 50, there will never be confusion as to what you have planted. Even plants within the same genus are clearly definable, and everything looks sharp on the Vitas 5” OLED screen.
The flexibility of the Vita has made this version of PvZ feel like the most fully featured version yet. The default control is based on the touch screen, and the precision of the screen makes placing plants a doddle. The player can also use the buttons configuration, mimicking the PSN / XBLA versions, meaning neat freak players like myself can keep their screens clear of fingerprints. A new feature exclusive to the Vita is the ability to shake the device to collect Sun and bonus money. This helps remove a lot of the busywork of collecting resources, and it fits in perfectly, regardless of the control option you have picked.
So there you have it. Plants vs Zombies is still the great game you remember. Age has done nothing to diminish its charm, and it remains one of the best tower defence games available today. It’s fast, it’s addictive, it’s charming, and you can bang out a couple of levels in a lunch break, so it’s perfect for short stint gaming. If you’ve never played it, go grab it, you’ve been missing out. Those of you who have experienced its charms know it’s great, and the Vita version is the best pocket edition you can pick up right now. Plus, it’s less than a tenner, making it one of the best value games you can get on the Vita right now, so what’s keeping you?