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Plants Vs Zombies Review and Tips
Plants Vs Zombies - Whaaaat?
There are very few games that I can honestly say I have been consistently playing for months and months or games that I keep coming back to... Plants Vs Zombies is, rarely, one such game. Popcap games have created an extremely replayable defence game unique in the aspect that you ultimately have to defend yourself from zombies using garden plants!
As far as games go, Plants Vs Zombies looks great. The art style is fun and slightly cartoony – this game doesn’t take itself seriously at all. It’s packed full of charm, visual humour and all of the zombies and plants are instantly recognisable meaning you never confuse one with another. The zombies shuffle very slowly (some of them) and the plants are animated in interesting and unique ways. I bet you’ve never seen a pea shooting plant, a watermelon catapult or a plant magnet before?
The aim of the game is simple. Zombies want to invade your house and you are allowed (initially) a small selection of plants to stop them reaching your front door. By placing plants in one of five lanes using their unique abilities, you aim to defeat all of the waves of zombies to progress to the next stage, of which there are usually 10 stages within each environment and 5 The learning curve is very slow so you get completely used to placing the plants but as the levels increase so does the difficulty, with more waves and increased levels of zombies as well as additional environmental obstacles to overcome such as gradients or lack of sunlight.
To be able to afford to buy your chosen plants (you select these before the round begins) you need sunshine. This is the form of currency in the game and usually the better/stronger the plant, the more sunshine you’ll need to be able to place it in the garden. Sunshine sporadically appears from the sky and you just have to quickly tap it to store it in your ‘sunshine bank’. The game is completely touch focussed and no on screen controls needed which makes the whole experience quick, easy and very intuitive. The total amount of sunshine gained only lasts for that level and does not carry over to future levels so make sure you use it when you have it to avoid getting too overwhelmed. As well as getting sunshine naturally across any daytime levels, there are also plants that help generate sunshine also.
Throughout the campaign of defending against the hordes of zombies you aren’t restricted to one environment and the game adds in new elements (and plants) to consider with each new act. The first environment is a simple backyard in the daytime so allows you a good amount of time to get to grips with the basics. As the acts move further you’ll come onto defending your backyard in the nighttime which means you won’t have the constant supply of sunshine to buy your plants that was available to you in the day time level and some plants that you had previously used don’t flower without light, which opens you up to trying new plants to defend your house.
Adding to this there will be addition of water to levels adding another layer of strategy, fog hampering your view as well as even slightly raised levels which makes plant placement even more crucial to get maximum amount of firepower towards the zombies.
This added change in level design not only makes things more challenging, but freshens up the gameplay to make sure you aren’t becoming overconfident or relying too much on specific plants... Which brings us to the plants!
There are just under 50 types of plants you can use in various ways and can loosely be grouped into Offence, Defence and Assist. This isn’t the official language used but from my own knowledge of the game to give you a better idea of the types of options you have.
Offence – These plants are simply there to attack zombies with real, physical damage. Many say that offence is the best defence and it’s a worthwhile, if not your main strategy. By constantly attacking the zombies you’re not only doing damage but technically defending at the same time. Offensive plants can be plants such as Peashooter, Cattail
Defence – These plants exist to essentially defend your garden without necessarily attacking themselves. They may slow the zombies down, remove objects the zombie is wearing for protection or simply act as cannon fodder whilst the offensive plants do their job.
Assist – These plants tend to have no other duty than to assist you in navigating a level better, removing potential hazards, helping generate more sun or waking up daytime plants. Ultimately a well thought out strategy that utilises some of these plants is definitely worth thinking about to maximise your chances.
So who exactly are you defending yourselves against?
The zombies themselves have many, many tricks up their sleeves and whilst many on their own can be dealt with without too much issue, they become a big problem when you have multiple variations all heading your way.
There are the standard zombies who shuffle extremely slowly taking little effort by your plants to dispatch which slowly become zombies with helmets or holding metal doors. As levels pass the zombies start to learn your tricks and equip themselves appropriately. Zombies may attach balloons to themselves to avoid most of your plants in the air, dig underground and attack your plants from behind or use pogo sticks to jump over plants – the variation in their design really starts to make you think and many of the zombies can be taken down in multiple ways. There is no one ‘best’ way just solid tactical strategy.
Crazy Dave's Shop
As you play, some defeated zombies drop coins which you can tap to collect. You also get a bag of gold every time you finish a level and a few rare diamonds at the end of an entire Act. All of this money earned can be used in Crazy Dave’s shop. He’s called Dave and he is in fact certifiable, mumbling gibberish constantly. He provides access to single use items as well as permanent plants that you can only buy using the coins. It’s not necessary to buy these plants but they are pretty unique and useful in their own ways. You can also buy mini game packs which are separate to the main game and allow you to take part in unique challenges in exchange for in game trophies and gems. Each pack contains 3 or more challenges and some are really very addictive indeed – there is no shortage of content in Plants Vs Zombies at all. You’ll be kept busy!
My Zen Garden
Once you complete the game (and it can be completed numerous times) you unlock another game in itself called Zen Garden. Complete with relaxing music, it’s a space to relax and collect various plants which you receive at random during Adventure Mode. You can also buy surprise plants from Crazy Dave’s shop. As you collect the plants your aim is to make them fully grown by watering them, feeding them with fertiliser, spraying them to keep bugs away or even playing them music to make them happy. Each time the plant grows, it gives you coins as a reward and when fully grown you receive diamonds. It’s a great way to earn some extra money to buy some of the mini games or extra plants for Adventure mode.
Some plants who have been really well looked after (fully grown and happy) will drop small coins at random intervals. You can tap them to pick them up or the helpful snail that lives in the Zen Garden will pick them up for you. You can either sell the fully grown plants for even more money or build up a lot of plants that constantly give you small coins... but they all add up!
Zen Garden is a nice change of pace to the main game and is genuinely quite relaxing.
- Out of all the plants to select make sure you ALWAYS select a Wall-Nut or Tall-Nut for the round, Even though it doesn’t have any attack power, it considerably slows down almost all zombies. Pogo Zombies can’t go over Tall-Nuts and many others are stuck eating away at it while you can pepper them with attacking plants like Pea Shooters or Repeaters.
- Your back row in pretty much all sunlight levels should be full of sunflowers. They are best protected at the back and will help you amass sunshine in a much quicker time than normal so you can afford to buy some of the more expensive plants.
- Initially when the zombies are slow, you want to save up as much sun as possible so choose the cheaper plants like Potato Mines to pick off the occasional zombie while you collect the sun and build sunflowers. Puff-Shrooms are good for night time levels as they are free and quick to build.
- Make use of the Starfruit plant – it’s one of the most useful in the game. They offer consistent damage in 5 different directions (as well as behind) and are especially useful for taking out water based enemies from the side when used with Tall-Nuts.
- In Zen Garden, if you want the snail to pick up lots of coins while you’re away, feed him a slab of chocolate. He’ll gain a big speed boost for a short period and stays awake for much longer allowing him to collect any coins the happy plants drop. It’s a good tactic for passively collecting lots more money. Invest in your plants and they will invest in you.