Plants vs. Zombies Review
First the short version - if you're already familiar with PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies and are looking to add an old favorite to your new Vita, then you'll be happy. No, they didn't screw it up. In fact, the opposite is true. The game looks fantastic on the Vita's screen - the graphics are bright, crisp, and colorful. The touch controls are responsive and flawless, letting you drop your plants quickly and effortlessly in the face of the zombie onslaught. And coins and sunlight can be quickly and effortlessly scooped up with a tilt of your Vita. In addition to all of this you also get a number of PlayStation trophies to shoot for and online leaderboards to compare your zombie re-deading skills against. So just go out and download the game already!
OK, those of you still with me are probably wondering what's all this about plants and zombies. The game takes place in the backyard of a suburban home that's unfortunately been targeted by a horde of brain-craving zombies. They'll enter from one end of the yard and slowly make their way forward towards the house, and you'll lose if any of them make it inside. Luckily for you, you have access to an assortment of mutant plants that can block, attack, and even turn the zombies to your side.
The game is essentially a tower defense game in which the enemies move towards their goal within a set of lanes and your towers are the various plants that you plop in their way. Your resource for creating the plants is sunlight, which drops periodically from the sky (in the day levels, at least) or can be generated by special plants such as sunflowers. Plants come in a staggering forty-nine different types (although you'll have to pick and choose the small number that you can bring with you into a level). Some lob projectiles at the zombies, others block their progress, and some are for one-time use, such as bombs that can take out several zombies at once. You'll need to be careful to keep the zombies at a distance from your plants, though, because if a zombie reaches one he'll begin chomping until it's gone.
At first you'll face just your basic shambling zombies, but you'll soon find that the zombies come in almost as many varieties as the plants that you try to stop them with. Some will try to add some extra defenses such as a road cone on their head or a newspaper held out in front of them. Others will try to pole vault your plants or use the power of disco to raise more zombies. Yes, it's all rather silly, but in a fun and lighthearted way that gives the game plenty of charm. Don't let the humor fool you, though, even veteran strategy gamers will find their skills tested in the game's later levels.
In addition to the game's main mode which takes you through a series of progressively harder levels while introducing you to new plants and zombies, there are other ways to enjoy the game. Some levels play as variations on the gameplay such as whack-a-zombie and zombie bowling, and you'll be able to play these as mini games. Puzzle levels and an endless survival mode are also available outside of the main mode. On the downside, these other modes start out locked until you play through a sizeable chunk of the main mode.
Plants vs. Zombies has already proven itself to be a great portable tower defense/strategy game on other systems, and it carries that momentum onto the Vita. If you don't have it on another portable device, the Vita is a great place to make your stand against the zombie horde.
Final Rating: 90%. A zombie game for those with braaaaaiinnnsss...