‘Plants Vs. Zombies’ Game Review: The First One Was The Best

Plants v. Zombies

Plants v. Zombies (EA/Popcap)

I realize after posting the last Plants vs Zombies review how harsh I was on the new Plants vs Zombies: Heroes. I realize just how important it is that a monumental game carries on a legacy, which is why I have decided to review the original Plants vs Zombies game. That way, you’ll know in your heart when I say, “Plants vs Zombies knockoffs are really damn terrible” you’ll say “please stop, you’re scaring me and it’s just a game.”

Just a game?!” I would shout, taken aback. Alright, enough with the third-person speak. My point is that the new games miss the mark that the original was aiming for. The original game had a distinct art style with simple design, but more importantly, it had a strong sense of direction. The sun gives you energy, sunflowers give you energy, etc. but that’s not all. The way the game is formatted makes you understand from your very core what to do.


In the beginning, they show you a very complex-looking battle sequence before giving you a simple tutorial: poke the mini-suns to collect energy to grow plants in order to defend yourself. Ignoring the danger that is touching mini-nuke-energy-equivalent-fireballs, they then teach you to plant sunflowers, which produce sun. Something a child could understand, only to be told a year later by his or her parents that real sunflowers don’t actually produce sunlight. Suddenly, they expand the lanes so that there are three, then five lanes. Slowly. They introduce new plants and items each level. Slowly, each stage taking around 3-5 minutes depending on how quickly you kill the zombies.

Suddenly, your crazy, gross neighbor Dave forces you grab his walnuts. These nuts are used to bowl zombies, changing everything. The game is suddenly switched to a fast-paced minigame about throwing balls at zombies. At the end of this round, you are halfway through the day levels.

So what the heck just happened, Sean? Well, friend, you were given a very slow, routine game that turned into a very fast-paced, yet easy game. Not only is the game making sure that you’re not bored, it’s getting you used to fast paced action. In fact, not only do they make sure that you are ready, but there are fail-safes in making sure that you do get used to it, such as the fact that the zombies are, well, really freakin’ slow. They get faster and stronger later, but not until you can get used to it. Additionally, if you happen to screw up entirely, there is a lawnmower in the back of each lane that instantly kills every zombie in that lane, keeping them out of that lane for around a minute.

Each stage adds something new, from night time and fog to the roof and football zombies. The premise is ridiculous, fun, but most importantly it is carefully thought out. It gets you used to every twist and turn, with room for mistakes.

Additional to the game are achievements, quickplay mode where you can easily get these achievements, a Zen Garden where you can gather in-game money from for the shop, challenge modes, and all kinds of plants. The game proves to be challenging, but not overly so unless it’s intentional.

Now, let’s compare this to Plants vs Zombies: Heroes. You are given a hero, a deck and a basic tutorial. There isn’t any other mode or any other minigame. Once you’re in, you’re strapped the heck in. Oh, and if you lose? You’re given 5% of what you need to buy another pack. A pack gets you three cards. This is all shamelessly done so that the player is frustrated to shell out money to get the good packs, which they will soon make obsolete with card updates.

Frankly, this game doesn’t care if you get bored; other people will buy their packs. You aren’t necessary. If you’re bored, it doesn’t matter. You don’t matter. Not to them, anyway, I’ve always loved you. The PvZ Heroes might look like Plants vs Zombies, but it’s not. What am I saying? Buy Plants vs Zombies. It might not be free, but it’s worth it. It’s a game made with the player in mind, keeping in mind all kinds of different age groups and interests.

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