You never knew cabbage could kill

Plants vs Zombies

First impressions

It certainly seemed to have some happy music at the beginning, but with slightly ominous overtones. We were playing it on the iPad, which really lent itself to this colourful game with that beautiful high resolution screen. The early levels went a bit easy on us, so we could get to grips with how it all worked. It didn’t take long for us to grasp the concept of plants = good, zombies = bad and before we knew it our garden was festooned with protective flora.

How it works

In the early levels you have your basic garden in the front of your house and you have to choose the plants you want to place in it. Each plant costs a certain number of points, and the only way to get more of them is to plant as many sunflowers as possible without compromising your forces. Your basic zombie goes down pretty quickly with just a few hits from an inexpensive shrub, but as you advance through the levels, they become quite hardy. Dancing zombie brings backup dancers with him, and football zombie is tough to bring down unless you divest him of his helmet with a magnet-shroom. The speed with which they move and eat plants in their path increases with every level, and new types of zombie are constantly being introduced. Pogo zombie is a particular pain, especially on the roof levels, but you’ll find that out for yourself. As you eliminate the zombies, you’ll get money in your bank which you can spend in the extremely strange Crazy Dave’s Twiddydinkies. Here you’ll find some other interesting plants and bits and pieces to stop those pesky zombies from getting into the house and, more importantly, to you. The object of the game is to get through all the levels and all the extra mini-games without being eaten by zombies.

When we played

We were absolutely hooked from the very beginning. We took it on the plane with us, we played it at night in bed before going to sleep, we considered taking it to dinner and then thought better of it … As we went through the game we got faced with night levels where a whole different range of night plants became available. Then the fog rolled in and a water feature popped up that required the purchase of lilypads.

Later on the gravestones began to appear which meant unexpected zombies in worrying locations. More and more curve balls got thrown in our direction which kept the game very interesting. Plants like the cherry bomb, the wall-nut and the doom-shroom helped keep us sane.

Final thoughts

This is an absorbing game that will never let you see gardens the same way again. Even when you find a level difficult and give up for a while, you’ll find yourself going back to it. There are lots of levels to go through, and then many extra little games so you really get your money’s worth. Try to play it at times when you’re on your own because others may not be terribly understanding when you completely ignore them.

Pros: Easy to start playing, particularly as the game will prompt you if it thinks you’re making a bad decision; like not buying any sunflowers for your garden. Great value for money. You do not have to be connected to the Internet to play.

Cons: Your family won’t see you for days. There doesn’t appear to be a release date for Plants vs Zombies 2. Wall-nuts!