|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: PopCap Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: PopCap Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 5, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Loaded with an upbeat, colorful art style and ample audio silliness, Plants vs. Zombies is as fun to watch as it is to play - even while sticking to a family-friendly vibe. Though the flowers are quite cute and bubbly, the zombie animations are particularly entertaining. They drop body parts as they get damaged and react differently when they're hit with special attacks. You'll spend a lot of time in the same few locations, but other changes keep the levels varied.
In some levels, daytime turns to night, presenting new challenges for sunshine gathering and benefits from fungal plants to use. Mini-game levels also change up the rules slightly, closely resembling boss battles. And in some levels fog rolls in from time-to-time, obscuring half of the field. The battle will eventually move from the front lawn to the backyard (where you'll have to face aquatic attacks on your pool) and up to the roof for the final stretch.
The main adventure mode's 50 levels alone offer quite a few hours of play time, yet there's far more to explore here once you wrap that up. PopCap was thorough in designing Plants vs. Zombies to be beefier than typical casual fare (appealing to all kinds of players) and their efforts really show. Beyond the main game, there are 20 fun mini-games to fiddle with, a robust puzzle mode featuring a slightly different play style that lets you be the zombies, a survival mode that lets you cumulatively add on to your defenses day after day against increasingly powerful zombie attacks, and even a Zen gardening mode where you nurture plants to gain money to spend on unlocking new goodies in the shop.
In its first few minutes, Plants vs. Zombies can be quite deceptive in appearance; it's like stepping into a small puddle only to wind up falling in up to your neck - except instead of water, you'll be soaking in awesomeness. You can easily sink many, many hours into it and still find more things to explore. The hilarious presentation, unusual subject matter, and super addictive defense gameplay are good reasons alone to give this game a try, but the bevy of content to explore, zombified adversaries to fight, and plants to collect will stamp out any doubts you might have had about whether participating in a war between zombies and flowers was a good idea.
CCC Staff Contributor