Plants vs Zombies Review

Title: Plants vs Zombies
Developer: PopCap Games
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 85 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Retail
EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail

The casual market of gamers is definitely a different breed of gamers.  The Casual market is what I, and others, call the gamers that tend to be more into bite-sized games or flash-looking games for quick play sessions.  These are the kinds of games that dominate the Mobile platforms, for the most part.  Games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga are two very big titles that are widely popular in that genre of games.  It’s become a very accepted thing, even with non-gamers.  I know many people who don’t play video games on consoles, but will play Angry Birds until the sun goes down.

The casual market wasn’t only there when Mobile started to become a viable means of playing video games.  Some of the games were available on the PC back before Mobile began to get popular and one such title recently got a sequel game that has been around since before Mobile Gaming was a thing.  Originally built for Microsoft Windows and Mac Operating Systems, this game traveled to so many platforms, you cannot even count them all.  iOS, Android, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Windows Phone, Blackberry.  Now, Plants vs Zombies landed on the PlayStation Vita with a zombie-filled bang.  Here is our official review of Plants vs Zombies for the PlayStation Vita.

Story

Like many casual games like this one, the storyline of Plants vs Zombies is more assumed than told.  When you start the game, you are shown the gameplay screen and just see how the gameplay is set out.  The game is more about playing the game than experiencing a deep, emotional story.  That’s not to say the game has no story, though.  Plants vs Zombies does, indeed, have a story.  It’s just not one that’s going to grab at your heartstrings, such as the likes of Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts, or others.

The plot of Plants vs Zombies takes place at a normal person’s home during a Zombie Apocalypse.  No one explains to you why there are zombies invading the world, but they are just there.  Whether a virus leaked or magic is involved, there are zombies attempting to invade your home.  So, as such, it is your job to fend off all the zombies coming to eat you up with….plants.  That’s right, you are planting plants to assault the zombie invasion, alongside lawnmowers.

The plot is merely assumed, given what you have to work with in the gameplay.  It’s not a great plot, but it’s an interesting scenario.  Zombie scenarios are still very popular, these days, with The Walking Dead and whatnot.

Gameplay

When you play Plants vs Zombies, you are given an overhead angle of a grid that is made out of your yard.  With fencing around, the only way for zombies to infiltrate your home and eat up your brains, they will have to traverse the yard and get inside the house.  The yard is, essentially, a battlefield.  You will plant plants both to help other plants, slow down zombies, or kill them.  There are many plants to gain and plant to increase your zombie-killing army.

The grid style of each map is a key element.  Only one plant can be placed in any one spot on the grid, and they will need to be strategically placed to fend off zombies as zombies can randomly start coming down any row of the grid.  You will need hostile plants in every row to be able to come out in one piece.  Planting them isn’t as simple as just planting them, either.  There are more elements at work.  First, you need sunlight to plant plants.  Sunlight is gained both from the Sun and Sunflower plants.  The Sun gives you sunlight very slow, but build up Sunflower plants and they will also give you Sunlight, allowing you to amass Sunlight very quickly.

Plant plants also comes in patience.  As you gain Sunlight, you will gain the ability to plant different plants.  However, each Plant has a recharge timer.  So, if you have 100 Sunlight to plant a Seed Shooter, just after you planted one, you cannot plant it until it is recharged.  Each plant has a different recharge time and it is generally accepted that the higher the cost, the longer the recharge time.  The key strategy will be to know where to put plants and what to use during recharges to better your situation for the later waves of zombies.  Also, don’t worry if your plants get overrun.  You can plant new ones in their place and each row has a lawnmower that will do auto-kills on the row once.

Waves is another thing to consider.  In each stage, zombies come in waves.  Think of it like a Real-Time Strategy game, like Stronghold.  The game gives you time to build up your arsenal, the sends a wave of enemies.  Then, when those enemies are gone, it gives you more time until more arrive until the Final Wave hits.  Once you defeat the Final Wave, the stage ends and you are rewarded, mostly either with a new feature or a new plant to use in future stages.

The game has many different Game Modes, allowing for many different ways of playing the game.  Adventure Mode is the normal Single-Player campaign.  It offers five groups of levels with ten levels in each one.  So, this mode will have 50 levels for you to explore and complete, unlocking new plants as you go.  Aside from this, there are other Game Modes as well.  There is a Survival Mode, which has different difficulties.  There is a puzzle Mode which is three different modes in one.  There is a feature called Zen Garden where you care for your plants.  There is also a Mini-Game Mode where you play Zombie-themed versions of some other games by PopCap Games.

With all of this, there is a lot of content to go through and you will be spending several hours, trying to do everything.  Exclusive to the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network versions, though, is multiplayer.  As you progress through the game, you can go into Multiplayer in a variety of different modes.  These range from Co-Op modes as well as Vs Modes.  There is also a Virtual House that lets you show off their achievements.

Another thing that is unique about this version of the game is a Zombie Avatar.  In the game, you can create your own zombie with pre-designed outfits and decorations.  This was also in other versions of the game, but this version is unique.  Not only can you create your own zombie, but that zombie will appear in the game once you create it.  Most of the time, it will appear in Final Wave sections of the stages you go through.

Controls

I will say that the controls for the game are both innovative but also can be frustrating on the PlayStation Vita.  I will not say they’re bad controls, but they can get frustrating, at some point.  As you may think or guess, given that many of the recent versions of this game are on touchscreen devices, the PlayStation Vita version of Plants vs Zombies relies almost completely on the Touch Screen of the system.

The controls work well.  You tap on sunlight to collect it, though you can also tilt the system to collect that.  To select a plant or plant it, you select it by tapping on its icon and/or the grid slot you’d like to place it.  The convenient part of this is the fact that you can quickly tap on grid pieces faster than you could navigate with the D-Pad or Analog Sticks.  The bad part is that you’re forced to use the touch screen.  Anyone wanting physical controls will not find them.  Not even for menus.

Presentation

Visually, Plants vs Zombies looks like a Flash game, so it has very cartoon-style, anime-style visuals.  They all look hand-drawn and, despite being on a larger screen than Mobile, they are very crisp and clean cut.  There aren’t any jagged edges or anything on the renders of each character, and it looks very clear and colorful.

The game also runs very well.  The Load Times are to a bare minimum.  I don’t think I waited any more than 3-5 seconds for any stage to load for me, as I played the game.  It is very user-friendly and fast.  You will not have any problems with how the game runs or how quickly it boots up and loads each stage.

Overall

All in All, Plants vs Zombie arrives on the PlayStation Vita with every bit of content it has on other systems, along with plenty of multiplayer options and the Zombie Avatar feature to help you get deep into customization.  Although being forced to use the touch screen for playing can be frustrating, it is just as fun as it always has been, and is a great pick-up-and-play game.

The PlayStation Vita Review Network Rates Plants vs Zombies a 9/10.  

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