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We all know what zombies want, right? It's not our well-marbled and fatty flesh they want. It's only the grey matter that keeps us moving that gets the job done by the culinary preferences for the big Z. Therefore, can there be a better and more inventive means of fighting zombies that with a defense with a distributed nervous system? See? You agree. And that's why you should be playing Popcap's latest effort at killing workplace productivity, "Plants vs Zombies."
Give into the madness of Popcap just once, of course, and you're lost for all time. Plants vs Zombies takes the straightforward premise of a zombie-pocalypse (something for which I am always prepared, frankly) and counters with the belief that a well-developed garden is the ideal defense against having one's brain consumed by the moaning hordes of the undead.
It sounds like a silly premise, I know, and it is. But the game sells it so well that it is easy for one to get lost in the gameplay and discover that an hour or two has passed by with no real-world intrusions at all.
In game terms this is your basic tower-defense set up. Zombies are coming and you have to prevent them from doing so. In this case you wish to prevent them from crossing your lawn and entering your home where you are, presumably, hoping to keep your thought processes internal rather than not.
The game gets complicated, though, when the player finds out that there are literally dozens of different types of zombies. There are zombies that walk, zombies that read newspapers, zombies on pogo sticks, zombies on zombonis (see what they did there?) and many, MANY more besides.
Set against the varied and various zombies hordes is a dazzling array of both offensive and defensive vegetation ranging from the simple pea shooter plant to cherry bombs and umbrella ferns. The plants the player can use are varied enough that different players can use different approaches and differing favorites to make things unhealthy for the zombie hordes. It's enough to keep one good and distracted and probably earn a solid reprimand from the boss.
And it'll be worth it! Trust me.
Of course, Popcap is also famous not just for great games but for a sense of humor, too. They keep it light and entertaining so that there's no oppressive mood hanging over the player. I'm a fairly boring, middle-aged guy and a father of two small kids and I was giggling like a schoolgirl playing this thing. It helped that both of my children watched me play for hours and enjoyed the experience as well. Popcap has knocked this one out of the park and they should be proud of what they've done.
The game can be downloaded directly from PopCap for only $19.95, and is worth every penny. Don't believe me? Then get the 26M free download from the same site at www.popcap.com but don't say you weren't warned when all your time goes out the window.
Nate Wooley is Game Industry News Publisher. Having an expertise on games based firmly in the classics, Nate occasionally feels qualified to comment on any new game that has that 'classic' feel. You can contact him at : firstname.lastname@example.org.