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Plants Vs Zombies Review [XBLA]
Review Score:

You’d been brainless not to buy it

The king of Tower Defence has finally arrived! Popcap’s magical Plants Vs Zombies has now hit Xbox Live Arcade. Load up your seeds and get ready to shoot, because the zombies are coming! Now let’s take a step back as I know that some of our audience out there may well have overlooked this game when it released on the PC. Probably the same people that overlooked the fantastic Peggle or maybe just those that prefer the console experience, but that will devoid my argument. Let’s take a look at what Plants Vs Zombies is all about, or if you are really lazy take a look at my gameplay video below: (video pending)

The basic principles of Plants Vz Zombies is to use a huge variety of plants on a grass lawn and take advantage of their properties to stop hordes of zombies from making their way into a house and eating the residents brains. It uses the same tower defence properties in that the game becomes progressively more difficult towards the end of each stage and that certain plants have unique properties that are most effective against certain zombies. In fact, the sheer amount of different plants you’ll unlock as you progress through adventure mode will astound you. They aren’t boring choices either. There is everything from Cherry Bombs, Potato Mines, Frozen Pea Shooters, Bubble Blowing Mushrooms and Mushrooms which will turn zombies against each other. The choice is simply staggering and rather than making all of them accessible from the off, they are unlocked by completing each stage.

pvz Plants Vs Zombies Review [XBLA]

Plants Vs Zombies fundamental strategy is making sure you produce enough sun, without it you simply cannot purchase the items required to grow your defending army of plants. In order to get a decent amount of sun you are given time at the beginning of each wave to grow your sunflowers or mushrooms (for night time) before you are aggresively sweeped later in the final wave of zombies at every stage. This makes the whole process fair and allows you to think your strategy. As the adventure mode progresses you get a mind boggling choice of plants to choose from. However, you have a limited number of seed banks to put them in. Selecting the right types of plants for the battle is instrumental. A good example is fighting at night, a mini mushroom with purple projectiles is essential as you can plant them for free, as you produce less sun you’ll rely on these ickle shrooms to take most of the zombies damage out. Having the sun for lots of Peashooters simply isn’t going to happen.

The lawn can get quite vegetated so as you progress through the first stage you’ll be awarded a spade so you can dig plants up and plant better plants as the waves continue. This is Popcap’s way of compensating for no upgrade feature on the plants. It works really well. So the adventure mode is fantastic in itself and a second player can jump in as and when they want. It’s nice to have a second player around; it’s a more social experience which doesn’t particularly transcend as well in the actual Co-Op mode

The Co-Op mode is a brand new feature for the console release. You battle through a long wave of each themed zone from the adventure mode but with one key difference. Everything is divided. You’ll be able to select a small number of seeds in your banks each, so if one of your players has the sun and the low end weapons, they’ll be doing most of the work. Sun scatters around the map and for dual sun release you’ll both have to hover over the same spot to be given it. Team work is required as the majority of the sun can just be collected and since your sun tokens are divided up individually, being greedy is not an option if you wish to progress. The experience whilst works fine, just doesn’t transition into something all that worthwhile. A nice feature is also the ability to stick zombies face with butter. Keeping the butter button pressed down, you can keep them in the same spot for as long as you hover over the same area the zombie is, this is particularly handy if you have no lawnmower left to save your bacon.

Survival Mode is very much like any survival mode so we’ll skip we’ll glaze over that, it’s nice that an additional feature has been added regardless though. Mini Games can also be unlocked throughout the game, games from bowling to a conveyer type plant selection game whereby you have to use what is given to kill the zombies. However it’s the Versus mode that delivers a great experience. You’ve guessed it! One of you are the plants, the other the zombies. The zombie team works very similar in game plan. Instead you collect falling brains and raise grave stones to bring zombies back from the dead. The strategy here is to make your way past the plants defence into the house. The plants win if it can successfully destroy three targets erected at the zombie’s side of the map. It all works extremely well.

Everything in PvZ works with aplomb, the controls have been ported over to work exceptionally well with the 360 controller. Your able to fast select the plant squares with the analog stick, or more precisely select with the D-Pad and shuffle plants selection with the bumper buttons. If you love the game that much there is even a glossary of the plants and zombies to have a mooch at. It’s handy to have a look at, even if the written description is a little ‘corny’. In essence, PvZ is the ‘Miracle Grow’ of your XBLA collection, it’s worth every penny of your 1200 Microsoft Points. There is little wonder as to why this game was so well received on the PC. Is it worth a repurchase if you already have it? Not really, but for those that haven’t picked this game up before, you have to buy it!

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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)
Plants Vs Zombies Review [XBLA], 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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