Plants vs Zombies Review (XBLA)
If you have a significant other, a job, or a need to eat, it's probably best to avoid Plants vs Zombies.
A relentlessly addictive game from Popcap Games, a developer who seem to specialize in this area, on the face of it, it's a simple tower defence game. Zombies shuffle towards your house and you have a variety of plants with which to fend them off.
Once you start it though, Plants vs Zombies will take hold of you and not let go until you manage to box off absolutely everything. For me, this took a month. Adventure Mode actually only took four days of this, the rest was spent in the dizzying variety of other modes. 18 Puzzles, 20 Mini Games, 10 Co-op modes, a horribly unbalanced vs mode as well as 10 Survival games. Oh Survival.
The final Survival game you unlock is Survival: Endless, a traditional 'keep going till you're dead' mode, and oh by the way we're going to keep throwing incredible amounts of enemies at you, that are insanely tough to beat. Have fun! This is what will really have you tearing your hair out. One of the games achievements is to last for 40 waves. Upon making it to 26 before wiping, I declared this to be an impossible task. A rethink in strategy managed to take me up to 36, and a refinement of that to 48. A casual glance online suggests though that there are a multitude of ways to tackle Survival: Endless, some of which will take you into several hundred waves. Personally, I don't think I could take the strain of making it that far, but the games leader boards might see you try.
We haven't even discussed the Zen Garden yet either. Early in development, the idea was that that you would grow the plants that you use. This ended up being far too tedious according to the developers, so was dropped, but made it into the game in the form of the Zen Garden. As you play through the various game modes, you will gain plants which you can grow in your garden. Getting these to full maturity will earn you money, which you can spend on anything from expanding the number of plants you can carry to buying a design for your house that is displayed in the leader board. This requires constant attention, so you'll constantly find yourself flicking back to see if your plants need watering.
As is expected of Popcap, every aspect of the game is charming, from the character design, through the bio's of the different plant and zombie types and especially the music. Whilst it's no Still Alive, the end credit song 'Zombies On Your Lawn', is a delight to behold.