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Plants vs. Zombies - DS Review

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Plants vs. Zombies

DS | PopCap Games | 1-2 Players (local multiplayer) | Out Now
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12th March 2012; By Patrick

PopCap Games has an M.O. so strict that many fans just assume it as law; they will release a game on an original platform (mostly PC), and then create further versions for as many systems as they possibly can. Following this trend is the game,
Plants vs. Zombies. I am not ashamed to admit that I love this game so much that I own it on PC (twice, in fact), PS3, 360, iOS (twice), and DSiWare. With all these different versions available, is the DS version worth picking up?

    Plants vs. Zombies contains simple gameplay that is comical in nature. The goal of the game is to prevent the Zombies from crossing into your house and eating your brains. The way to do this? Collect sunlight and use it to grow your plants to prevent the zombie invaders from advancing. There are 50 levels in the game: 20 in the front yard and 20 in the back yard (both of which are split up evenly between the day and the night), and a final 10 on your rooftop.

    Gameplay-wise, Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense game. At the beginning of each stage, you select which plants you would like to use, and then it begins immediately. During daytime stages, you can collect sunlight that falls on the stage, which is then used as currency to grow your plants. When playing the nighttime stages, sunlight does not fall, meaning you have to work around that with a completely different plant selection.

    The types of plants that you have to choose from vary greatly, with a new plant made available at the end of most levels. Some plants include very important Sunflowers, which create sunlight; Pea Shooters, which are your basic artillery; a wide variety of mushrooms that only work during the nighttime; explosive Cherry Bombs that will destroy any zombie, but results in an 'unplantable' crater; and more.

Levels range in both difficulty and length, with a progress bar appearing on the screen at all times. Occasionally the progress bar will hit an icon of a zombie with a flag, and a "Huge Wave of Zombies" will appear. The amount can vary drastically, but usually involves the screen being filled with them as you frantically try to fix your defenses if they begin to break through.

    The main campaign is of a good length and is addicting, but it is far from the only part of the game. Extra modes such as Survival and Puzzle help to add further longevity to the title. The Mini-game mode adds in many other different styles of gameplay that are truly deep and enjoyable. Mini-games include Beghouled, a zombie-fied version of Bejeweled; Wall-nut Bowling, a game where you try and bowl over as many zombies as you can; and more. The game also features a Local Vs. Mode that supports both multi-cart and DS Download Play, and has one player controlling the plants (à la the main game), while one player controls the incoming zombies. This offers a very nice variation on gameplay, and depending on who you play with, can even be more enjoyable than the main game at times.

While the graphics are cute and charming, and the music incredibly catchy, the one thing that really helps the game's presentation is its
style. The game has a defined style and sense of humor and sticks with it the whole way through. Possibly the best example of this shows when you select "Help" from the main menu. The message reads: "Help for Plants and Zombies Game When the Zombies show up. just sit there and dont do anything. You win the game when the Zombies get to your houze, this help section brought to you by the Zombies".

    While one can say many positive things about the presentation, and even though the presentation helps carry you through the entire game, it is not without faults. The framerate is fairly inconsistent throughout the game, especially later in the game when you have many zombies on screen being attacked by dozens of projectiles firing simultaneously. This didn't bother me personally, but I can completely understand and appreciate the fact that it will bother others who are more concerned about these matters. However, the framerate drops do not impede gameplay in the slightest, due to the nature of the gameplay.

    Regardless of any small problems the game has, though, it manages to be a compelling experience the whole way through. The extra modes and freedom to use different plant combinations add almost endless replayability, and the game remains equally as fun when you start playing as when you stop. The DS version itself may be one of the best versions out there thanks to the touch screen controls and amount of content. If you are someone who has never played the game before in any format, or even if you're a veteran of the game, I cannot recommend Plants vs. Zombies on the DS enough.

28/30 - Excellent

Gameplay 10/10 - Simple to jump into but deep enough to master, greatly helped by touch controls, massively addicting with different gameplay styles
Presentation 8/10 - Looks great and sounds beautiful, exudes charm and sense of humor, framerate problems can be a pain
Enjoyment 5/5 - A complete blast, playing to your own style prevents feelings of rigidity, VS Mode has potential to be more fun than single-player
Extra Content 5/5 - Multiplayer play, mini-games, Survival Mode, Puzzle Mode, endless replayability prevents this game from ever becoming stale

Equivalent to a score of 93% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by Patrick

Plants vs. Zombies
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