Indie Game Spotlight: Plants vs. Zombies!

BRAAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNNS! BRAAAAAAAAAAIIIIINNNNNNS! Er – I mean, GRAAAAAAAIIIIIIINNNNNS!

Sorry about being so late, none of us can seem to get our shit together.

Plants vs. Zombies, while not being made by an indie developer, is still a fairly unnoticed game. Made by Popcap Games, the guys who have brought you hundreds upon hundreds of online Flash games bring us this non-Flash game for PC, Mac, iPod Touch, iPad (ugh…), and soon XBLA.

PvZ is a unique spin on tower defense and zombies in general. Zombies are overrunning your town and they hunger for brains. Your brains. And they will stop at nothing to get into your house and crack open your cranium to get to the delicious gray matter and all you have at your arsenal to stop them are little packets of plant seeds. Heavy stuff, man.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “How are plants supposed to be able to stop zombies?” Well, my little infidel, I’ll tell you. These aren’t ordinary plants, these are genetically modified plants designed to attack the undead and defend your house. With weapon-plants such as the Peashooter, Cabbage-pult, and Potato-mines, your front lawn becomes a battleground of Watermelon proportions.

The gameplay is sound though it’s not your typical tower defense. Instead of the enemy following a designated path, they are on a 6×9 grid. Each square can be occupied by one plant but it’s up to you to strategically place them for optimal defense lest you want your brain to munched upon. Zombies will come from the right side of the screen, albeit slowly, and traverse your lawn eating plants in the way, to get to you. I find that, while this is a great take on a classic style, it gets quite hectic for those who can’t juggle a lot of things at once. There will be occasions where you find yourself trying to fend off 3 or 4 different types of zombies all while trying plant other plants for support. More often than not, you’re going to slip up and one zombie is going to get through and consume your noggin. After a bit of trial and error, you’ll figure out the best strategy and move on to the next level.

The graphics are nothing on the scale of Heavy Rain or Halo: Reach but what do you expect of something by Popcap? It’s 2D with an isometric view allowing you to see the whole battlefield at a prime angle. Cartoony plants and parodical zombies move in the typical flash way but they do so smoothly. Zombie Michael Jackson (too soon?) and his entourage of zombie backup dancers will Thriller their way through your plants. Your Peashooters will bob back and forth, locked and loaded, ready to fire. It’s a very simple but very beautiful game. One of the most unique art styles I’ve seen in a long time. Right next to Katamari Damacy and Madworld.

The audio is interesting, to say the least. Quirky little tunes with a very manic tone to it to get the zombie feel will play in the background. Moans and groans from the undead peanut gallery will burn into your brain. Popping of your vegetation arsenal fighting off forces of the living deceased will be one of the greatest sounds you ever hear solely because of the triumphant victory they will bring you.

Overall, if you’re looking for a good time waster with a great sense of humour, Plants vs. Zombies is for you. For 20 bucks you can’t go wrong either. You will be at this for hours and you’ll keep coming back until you’ve kicked every last decomposing zombie ass.

I give Plants vs. Zombies a out of 5. Whoever said flash games suck is a goddamned liar.

About Ian Long

Ian Long is the resident Canadian. Likes new games but prefers old ones. He is also usually the one that has an opinion that the rest don't agree with.