Plants vs. Zombies
One of the most popular PC and iOS casual
games of all time has finally arrived on the Nintendo DS with Plants
and Zombies. Having played both the PC and iPhone versions of Plants
vs. Zombies, I was actually quite eager to play this game again,
especially with the stylus as its controller. Although graphically, the
aforementioned platforms are far superior, the gameplay still works
quite well on the DS, even though it is a tad cluttered at times.
For those who have never played the game before, Plants vs. Zombies
is a classic tower defence game that puts the player in charge of a
house which is about to be overrun by zombies. Your goal is to prevent
an almost never ending hoard of zombies from entering your home and as
opposed to shotguns, machetes or grenades, your weaponry is based on
living and quite deadly plants. By strategically placing various plants
around your home, this will assist in stopping the zombie invasion and
more particularly... save your brain for the main course!
In essence, the game is
almost identical to the original version of Plants vs. Zombies,
however it is lacking the cooperative play mode, not that this is a must
have feature. Another interesting aspect is that the top screen of the
DS is used to display images, movies and statistics of your progress.
Considering the concept of tower defence, the top screen is used well.
The gameplay is relatively quite simple, plant plants in order
for them stop the zombies.
With that said, the
Nintendo DS version five modes of play that include Adventure (Campaign,
50 levels), Survival (see how long you can hold out), Puzzle (who
doesn't love a zombie puzzle), Mini-Games and Zen Garden for the inner
zombie within you. You can even make your own Zombie Avatar with
Zombatar on the DS which I'm sure some adults will enjoy. Virtually
identical to the PC, there is also a wealth mini-games, including a
hugely addictive competitive mode.
Before starting the
game, you need to select which plants you want in your arsenal and as
you progress, additional plants are unlocked/purchased. As with the PC
version, I found myself using certain plants to win and thanks to the
almanac, you can see exactly what all the different plants (48) and
zombies (26) can do. The gaming environment is also split into grids
(think chessboard) that limits the number of plants that can you plant
and adds an element of strategy. Needless to say, there are a plethora
of plants up your sleeve and while some plants shoot (e.g. peashooters),
others acts like rocket launchers and some are used to stop zombies for
a short time. The most useful plant are the sunflowers which are used to
purchase additional plants for your level. Between levels, you can also
visit crazy Dave in order to purchase power-ups like additional plant
slots or other goodies to destroy the zombies as you progress through
the 50 levels.
Even though the gaming environments are quite limited, there are a few
different places where you need to protect your house and one area
features a pool area which means you need to plant water plants in order
to stop underwater zombies. To add another element of confusion, some
levels also require you to fight at night which means your tactics
change again, especially when it comes to growing sunflowers as they
need sun to grow. If one Zombie gets through, it's basically game over
for the player.
Although Adventure mode
is the highlight of Plants vs. Zombies, the mini-games do offer some
additional fun to be found elsewhere in the title. The good thing about
the DS version is that the developers have included four new mini-games
with one using the in-built capabilities of the DS such as the
microphone. By shouting into the microphone, this helps keep your sleepy
plants awake. It's fun but just not something you would play in a
crowded bus or somewhere else in public.
The competitive mode of
Plants vs. Zombies is great and my only grip with this mode is that it
only supports local play. Given that, one gamer controls the zombies and
the other, the plants. It does open this franchise for some awesome
gaming sessions, especially on the DS.
Considering that you're
limited to 18 or so different zombies to create, it does change the
balance of power and is a real hoot to play the zombies. There are also
several different tweaks that you can change on the multiplayer game
which makes for some interesting customisation options.
Graphically, Plants vs. Zombies on the DS is a good looking game that
mirrors the original game well. The only issue with the graphics is that
everything seems too squashed on the touch screen as you select your
plants and grow them on the battlefield. Although it's quite tiny, it
does not really create any real difficulties with the gameplay because
the stylus controls work so well. Sound effects and music have been
taken from the original game and all in all, Plants vs. Zombies comes
together rather well on the Nintendo DS.
In the end, Plants vs. Zombies is a very apt game on the Nintendo
DS that successfully ports this franchise to this console. With perfect
controls thanks to the stylus and the exact same gameplay you find on
any of the other platforms, this is one game that DS users should
investigate because casual gaming doesn't get any better than Plants vs.
Review courtesy of