Plants vs. Zombies is probably the most popular tower defence game in smartphone history. It’s such a phenomenon that its creators Popcap were bought out to the tune of $650 million by EA in July last year having been the driving force behind Bejewelled as well. Naturally, it’s an extremely polished title to play through.
Plants vs. Zombies has been released on almost as many platforms as we’ve had hot dinners so it’s no real surprise that this tower defence app suffers from few flaws or obvious development shortfalls. There can’t be many other Android Market downloads that feel this sleek and well-honed, even at the very height of an end of level zombie apocalypse.
This rounded design extends from some amusing cartoon graphics to a simple but effective core gameplay mechanic. Your overarching goal in the game is to keep a hoard of drooling zombies from entering your house and preferably off your front lawn too. To do this you’ll amass an army of weaponry and barricades with a new piece of kit unlocked after completing each wave.
The front lawn you place your defences on works as a grid with each plant you drag from the sidebar onto the grass taking up one square. While the vast majority of tower defence apps stick to a rigid formula, Plants vs. Zombies does a good job of varying the ways in which you destroy the living dead.
Levels are set in daylight and night-time so as to change the way you grow vegetation. There are also quickfire levels where it costs you nothing to build defences and in return the number of zombies you face is ratcheted up. Best of all are the bowling levels, where you roll objects towards the oncoming masses.
We do have a couple of qualms with Plants vs Zombies. The first being the lack of a ranking system for your performance each level, survival is the only real aim of the game. Secondly, no matter how dressed up this app is, it’s still belongs to the limited tower defence brigade.
By messing around with the formula as much as possible however, Popcap have created the best tower defence app we’ve played in recent times. Certainly, Plants vs. had us unexpectedly entertained throughout our time testing it.
The Bottom Line
Impressively varied for a tower defence app.
Version reviewed 1.1.0
Requires Android 1.5 or higher