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Plants Vs Zombies brings zany addictive tower defence to the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad in style. Popcap made their name with Peggle, Bookworm and Bejeweled, but it's the depth of their creative well that continues to impress with games like this.
There was a foggy period not so many moons ago when PopCap was looked upon as being a ruthless and mercenary copy-cat developer who'd rip off any game in order to make a quick buck. The Actionloop-inspired Zuma being a prime example often wheeled out by opponents.
It's fortunate then that more recently things have changed for PopCap, and considerably so. The developer is now fondly looked up on for releasing the obsessive-compulsive inducing Peggle, the encyclopaedic Bookworm and the tweaked to perfection, enslaving wonder that is Bejeweled Blitz. In fact Bejeweled Bitz, in particular the FaceBook incarnation, is to the casual generation of gamers what Mario is to the traditional hardcore contingent among us. And with the release of the sublime Plants vs. Zombies on Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, PopCap Games' reputation is even further enhanced.
Plants vs. Zombies on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, for those of you that missed the PC version, is a take on the tower defense genre. Although here your enemies traverse five horizontal lanes from right to left in order to attack your base. This means they have to actually pass through your towers as opposed to navigating around them. And obviously, as the title suggests, this is a game where brain munching zombies face off against zombie munching plants.
This is pretty much identical to the PC version which is no mean feat.
It's a deceptively simple concept that when you peel back the layers reveals surprising depth. For starters, the in-game currency is sunshine, a resource replenished randomly by that great ball in the sky, or by the planting of sunflowers - each of which slowly (during day-light hours) replenishes your stock. The more sunshine you generate, the more plants you can purchase. And as you progress through the game you'll unlock an increasing number of both defensive and offensive plants, explosive plants and various power-ups.
It all looks delightfully whimsical with each plant taking on its own character without resorting to that age-old (read: Rare) style of just sticking eyes on everything. The various Zombies are well realised too with obvious indicators such as traffic cones on the head or American footballer shoulder-pads highlighting an increased resistance to your defences. And of course there's a great sense of humour throughout. The Zombie bobsleigh team had me in stiches.
The first time I played Plants vs. Zombies I ended up unintentionally playing for the entire drive from Yorkshire to London.
This is pretty much identical to the PC version which is no mean feat. There is some occasional slowdown when things start to get hectic, but as the pacing of the game is relatively slow with the emphasis on strategy rather than action, it's never game-breaking.
At GBP1.79 it's much cheaper than the PC version and no less of a game. The first time I played Plants vs. Zombies I ended up unintentionally playing for the entire drive from Yorkshire to London - not driving myself I hasten to add.
It's games like this that prove the worth of the iPhone/iPod Touch as a games platform. It establishes PopCap Games as proper paid up members of the game develpoing fraternity - silly outfit and all.
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