Review: Plants vs Zombies

This week’s “Deal of the Week” on Xbox Live is none other than Pop Cap’s Plants vs. Zombies, but let us turn our attention to the more engaging contest this week; Pop Cap vs. your wallet.

Pop Cap is known for making fun, engaging “pick up and play” titles, and Plants vs. Zombies certainly isn’t the exception.  The tower defense mechanics will be instantly picked up if you’ve ever played any other game in the genre before, but even newbies will be able to jump right in.  The learning curve is gentle, and slow (although, perhaps too slow for the “hardcore gamer” crowd), and you won’t find yourself overwhelmed in the 2nd or 3rd level.  The game also changes it up occasionally, opting for another game type such as a whack a mole style level, or an interesting variant of bowling, etc. helping to break the sometime monotonous nature of a tower defense game.  That being said, the game does seem to move at a slow, zombie like shuffle at times.

This is largely forgiven as the developers clearly made an effort to “change it up” from time to time: such as the addition of day and night levels (with certain plants and other characteristics only usable in one or the other).  Most appealing though is the simple yet enjoyable for all ages humor to be found in the game, especially from reading the descriptions of your plants and the zombies in the in-game “almanac”.

The Xbox version does add some features not found in other versions of the game, most notably co-op.  Co-op regulates certain functions to each player, and while a noteworthy addition, it causes the game to feel way to easy (especially in the beginning), and for those who already own this game on another system it alone may not justify a 2nd purchase.  At it’s heart, or the center of its’ delicious juicy brain, Plants vs. Zombies is a “play a level here”, “play a level there” kind of game; where the genuine intent is not for you to sit down and play through it in one or two sittings. As a result, it serves as a fun diversion from the CODs and Battle Fields that dominate Xbox Live.

At the end of the day the Xbox port struggles to define itself as the definitive version, and the game really does seem best suited for a hand-held platform like your smart phone.  But for those who don’t like to game on their iphone, or don’t have one, it is certainly worth the purchase.  It has a surprisingly large amount of depth, and is some of the best “filler gaming” on the Xbox Live Marketplace.  Waiting for your friends to finish their rounds in Black Ops so you can all party up?  Heading out in a few minutes but want to get some gaming in? Perfect time to get a level or two of Plants vs. Zombies in.

Final Rating: 7/10

CBR Break Down:

Console Played On: Xbox 360

Approximate Time to Completion: Campaign incomplete at time of writing (Aprrox. 3 hours of playing in)

Gamer Score Earned: N/A

Price Bought at: Free

Recommend Purchase Price: $5-$10 (400-800 Microsoft points)

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