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Plants vs Zombies (PC) Review

May 28, 2009 | Posted by Armando Rodriguez

Game: Plants vs Zombies
Developer: PopCap Games
Publisher: PopCap Games
Rated E 10+

Plants vs Zombies sounds like the strangest game in the world. After all, what could plants possibly do against brain-eating undead? As it turns out, plants and zombies are a match made in heaven and deliver an excellent game.


Plants vs Zombies is a new entry in the tower-defense genre. The goal is to defend your house from invading zombies and to do so you plant a wide variety of plants (what else?) that can kill zombies and thus, save your brain. You need to collect sunlight in order to plant more vegetable friends and there are plants like sunflowers that give you sunlight periodically. Other plants have offensive purposes, like pea shooters and cabbage catapults, others provide one hit kills like Cherry Bombs and Jalapeños (which can also damage multiple foes at once), others serve situation specific goals, like coffee beans that wake up nocturnal plants (and allow you to use them during the day) and Lily Pads that allow you to place plants on top of them. It is good to know that you have such a wide variety of plants at your disposal because these zombies are very clever. Besides your standard garden-variety (Ha! Pun intended) zombie, we have zombies with buckets on their heads (they take more damage before falling down), pole vaulting zombies that can jump over plants, bungee-jump zombies that steal your plants and much more. Like every good tower-defense game, it starts easy and gets harder as it goes on. Even with only three environments (front yard, backyard and the rooftop) it never gets old and it constantly throws new experiences your way. For example, the backyard is similar to the front yard, but it has a pool in the middle and forces you to use water specific plants in these areas. The rooftop has no ground, so it forces you to invest in pots to be able to plant your defenses. Night time levels use new plants with their own strengths and weaknesses. Every other level you get some sort of mini-game variant in which you are given random plants through a conveyor belt and need to rely on these to survive. You will also play bowling with nuts and a game of whack-a-mole (or is it whack-a-zombie?) so the variety is there.

But even when you finish the adventure mode, there is a lot to do. You can tend your Zen Garden, which is full of plants that require care and give you cash and other prizes as a return. You also unlock the Mini-Games and Puzzle Mode. Mini-Games has several interesting options, including a variant on the match-three puzzler and a mini-game in which plants rain from the sky and you need to use them to stop the advancing waves of zombies. Puzzle Mode has two different variants: One in which you need to break a collection of vases that are filled with plants and zombies and figure out a way to survive the level and another in which you control the zombies and need to figure out how to get by rows of plants and eat those nutritious brains. Both modes are well executed, but I prefer the one in which you control the zombies. It is very fun and interesting and feels a bit different from the rest of the game.

My only gripe with the game is that it starts way too easy and takes quite a while to get interesting. Tower-Defense vets will breeze through the game in no time and only face a challenge in the last handful of levels.


The graphics are well done and exude charm. The entire game has a cute, cartoony approach where even zombies look funny and adorable (well, as adorable as a zombie can be anyway). The game is colorful and vibrant and definitively easy on the eyes.


Although the music gets a bit repetitive, the sound effects are well done and feature a collection of zombie groans, chewing sounds and attack effects. It is not a revolutionary audio experience, but it gets the job done.

Lasting Appeal:

Even if it is a bit on the easy side, the game will last you quite a while. The Adventure Mode will take you somewhere between 3-4 hours and if you plan of beating all the mini-games and puzzle levels, you can extend that to 8 hours. Plus, the second time you go through Adventure Mode you will see a few changes and will get to experiment with better plants in the earlier levels, so it is worth a second try.

Fun Factor:

Plants vs Zombies is genuinely fun and its lighthearted tone and funny moments make it a must-play for any tower-defense enthusiast. Even if you don’t like the genre you will find some fun with the game.

The 411:

Plants vs Zombies might sound like a strange idea, but it definitively works. For a charming, funny and entertaining diversion, look no further than Plants vs Zombies.

Graphics8.5Colorful, vibrant and charming. Both, plants and zombies animate well.411 Elite Award
Gameplay8.8Typical tower-defense fare, but a bit on the easy side. 
Sound8.0The music is serviceable, but repetitive. The sound effects are well done and fit the atmosphere of the game. 
Lasting Appeal8.5Even if the game is a bit too easy, The Adventure Mode will last you 4 hours or so and you can double that if you plan of beating all the mini-games and puzzle levels. A lot of bang for your buck! 
Fun Factor 9.0No matter what mode you are playing, Plants vs Zombies is charming, addictive fun! 
Overall8.6   [ Very Good ]  legend

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Armando Rodriguez
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