I will never understand the inner machinations behind the minds of PopCap Games. Plants vs Zombies, a strategy game long ago revered for its ingenuity and light-hearted originality, is now famous for drowning in a Call of Duty based side-series and a lackluster sequel. In the honor of Halloween, Plants vs Zombies: Heroes has been bestowed upon us in the same fashion that a child’s receives a coat from a parent; annoyed and irritated, yet it’s better than simply going out into the cold.
The story, if you can call it that, is zombies and plants with super powers, as if it wasn’t already that in the first place. It’s the equivalent of DC Zombies versus post-jail Martha Stewart: after facing the harsh realities that hide in the jail cell, Stewart used her gardening abilities to become a Batman-like savior of the people with her super-plants. My story is completely false and nonsensical, yet far more logical and interesting than the inexistent plot where things just happen “because it’s fun.” I can respect this to a point, but when the super heroes are nothing but rip-offs, puns, or simply bland, a lack of effort in the writing is a bigger turn off than Plants vs Zombies 2.
PvZ Heroes prides itself in being a free-to-play, in-app-purchase supporting rip-off of Hearthstone. This has never been done before. Yes, I was being sarcastic, those were three different links to three separate Hearthstone ripoffs. The game makes one player play as the plant side and the other party play as the zombies. The turns progress as such: Zombies summon minions, Plants summon minions and use powers, Zombies use powers, Minions fight, rinse and repeat. The second turn should give zombies an incredible advantage, but considering I’ve never lost the online multiplayer as a plant I guess it isn’t. Thank you, kids whose parents gave them a smartphone for Christmas. On the only plus side, up to three times a game, your hero will block any incoming attack and gain one of four unique powers, a system that’s actually original and interesting.
I’m aware that I’m being a bit harsh on this game, considering their games have all been successful in getting their desired fanbase, kids, unlike certain companies that now only use their precious IPs for games like Smash Brothers 4 for the Wii U. PvZ Heroes is indeed fun, and after a while you begin to appreciate the rewards system which allows you to buy packs quite regularly. Unlike Hearthstone, the game is mostly fair and isn’t heavily reliant on legendary and rare cards, even though it no doubt will be. It also has a rewarding, and free, solo campaign, allowing you to play, and more importantly win, whenever you want, wherever you want. Outside of the campaign, conceding, no matter what the mode, takes so long that you should literally restart the app if you cannot win: it takes 20 seconds shorter.
The original creator of Plants vs Zombies, George Fan, is supposedly going to be making Octogeddon, a ridiculous, octopus-based game coming out in 2017. Until then, if you need your mobile game fix, and I know I do, download this game as you would download Tinder: discretely. It’s not something to be proud of. Popcap games, once a proud empire of addictive games like Peggle and that one goldfish game, seems to be conforming to what every other company is making. How the mighty have fallen, and yet, look, I’m still playing it.