Plants vs Zombies in Review: Taking Over Lives, Once Again

Fans and newcomers to the hugely popular PC/Mac game Plants vs Zombies have been waiting for the iPhone and iPod Touch version as early as August 2009. The long wait is over, at last. Now the question is: how well does Plants vs Zombies fare both as a PC/Mac port and a standalone tower defense game, given that the TD genre is one of the, if not the most crowded and well-represented genre on the iPhone platform?

Plants vs Zombies is an unusual tower defense game that turns the familiar into something new, engaging and exciting. It turns your house into a battlefield against a battery of zombies trying to get in. While normally you need loads of big and mean guns to take out the zombies, here, you plant your powerful defenses to keep the zombies out. There are 49 different fighting plants such as pea shooters, chompers, sea-shrooms, wall-nuts and tall-nuts that are as cute as you can imagine them to be, but deadly foes to zombies. Just as the arsenal of weapons is varied and unique, there are 26 different kinds of zombies to fight – bucket heads, bobsleds, football zombies, and even Thriller-era Dancing Zombie with his back-up dancers. Up against most tower defense games, that’s a lot of variety in one game!

The battle is played out in 50 levels of adventure mode – on the lawn, in a swimming pool, at night, fog-covered, and on the rooftop. There are 5 horizontal lanes where you can plant your weapons of choice – it’s as easy as tap and drag to your desired location.

Don’t let the cuteness fool you. At the heart of this game is strategy, strategy and more strategy. You only have a limited number of slots with which to choose your weapons, and depending on the level, you can only use certain plants for that level. The way the game is set up, there are many, many ways to explore and create your own combination of strategic defenses – figuring out the optimum combination is already half the battle. Upgrades from Dave’s Shop (the crazy guy who’s helping you out) are available once you’ve moved up in the game.

The first thing you will appreciate about the game is its striking, gorgeous graphics, whether or not you’ve played the PC/Mac version before. Plants vs Zombies is incredibly polished, graphics wise – not a zombie out of place. The sounds are just as good, especially the voice effects. The sense of humor sets Plants vs Zombies apart, too – from the puns to the totally useless help section (hey, the zombies wrote it!). Even though the brain-hungry zombies are ugly as hell, they will earn a place in your heart for being such endearing and friendly folks – all things considered.

The game starts out nice and easy but it will get you hooked once you start playing – that much I can guarantee. Unlocking achievements and Quick Play to replay your favorite levels – assure you hours of zombie blasting fun and very high replay value. This version does not have online leaderboard and social media integration yet, but once included in future updates, it will spawn a new community of players.

In older models of the iPhone and iPod Touch, a noticeable lag becomes apparent in the later levels as waves of zombies fill up the screen – though the game doesn’t crash or slow down the game too long, it’s a mildly annoying bug should be fixed in the next update.

Fans have mixed reactions regarding the absence of well-leaved features such as the mini-games, the zen garden and survival mode from the PC/Mac version. Personally, it does not detract from one’s enjoyment of what is available on the iPhone version, especially since Plants vs Zombies is priced shockingly low. If the other features would find their way to the game eventually either through updates or perhaps as an in-app purchase, I would gladly pay for the bonus features even at a higher price tag.

The plants are cuter than ever while the zombies are just as ugly and funny, and the insanely addictive gameplay all prove that you can still appreciate and love Plants vs Zombies whether on the big or small screen.


App Summary
Title: Plants vs. Zombies Developer: PopCap Games, Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 2.2.1
Price: $2.99 App Size: 34.7 MB
  • Gorgeous graphics and funny game sounds
  • Insanely addictive and challenging strategic gameplay
  • All that’s good about tower defense games
  • Shockingly low price for a high quality game
  • Long loading time
  • Noticeable lags at the higher level
  • No online leaderboard and social media integraiton


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