• Review: Plants Vs. Zombies

    Plants Vs. Zombies

    Developer: PopCap Games
    Publisher: PopCap Games
    Genre: Puzzle & Strategy
    Rating: Everyone
    Platform: Nintendo DS
    Release Date: January 18, 2011

    It seems the success of PopCap Games, makers of puzzle games such as Peggle and Bejeweled, popular entry, Plants vs. Zombies couldn't be kept away from making its way to the Nintendo DS. The game's success with mobile devices and consoles just keeps proving you can't keep a good game down. The Nintendo DS edition of Plants vs. Zombies sells for $19.99, and is quite the bargain.


    Plants vs. Zombies doesn't really run on a story, but it's actually as simple as Mario saving Princess Peach, or as simple as Sonic foiling Dr. Robotnik's plans. Here, the name of the game is literally the name of the game, which is to stop those brain hungry zombies from invading your home sweet home. So how do you do that? Well, that's where the plants come in. Before the zombies can reach your house, they'll have to go through your lawn first. It's up to your gardening skills to prevent the zombies from getting what they want: your brain!


    The previous versions of Plants vs. Zombies handled easily and smoothly, even for the diverse gaming peripherals, and the Nintendo DS is no exception. You'll be using the DS's stylus for the majority of the gameplay. It's up to you to do everything possible to keep the zombies from making it inside your house. All the materials you need are easy to access, these materials are mainly seed packets. Each packet is capable of growing a certain plant, so before you start a level, choose the plants you wish to play with and get ready to defend your home from the zombie hoard.


    Plants vs. Zombies features some of the most humerous sound effects in its gameplay, as with other cartoonesque video games. Each plant you place in the soil cues the grinding sounds of dirt, but it's really the zombies who have some of the funniest sound effects in the game. When they come to attack your home, don't fear, the zombies won't come rushing at you without warning. In fact, they're decent enough to let you know they're ready to come eat your brain by saying: "We're coming..." and begin their march to your front door.

    The game does a good job of making the plants (good guys) have their own appealing and pleasant sounds while the zombies (bad guys) have their own "icky" sound effects when your plants defeat them. The game also features some catchy background music while you're playing. The theme song, for example, is so catchy that you'll find yourself singing, humming, or whistling, even when you're not playing it.


    The game's graphical format is similar to the other peripheral's though not as vibrant as the higher definition output of the iPhone, iPod, and console counterparts. Still, graphics aren't everything, right? That's right. The point is, the graphical output of the game is colorful and brings out the playful nature of the game, especially in the plants and zombies. Both the plants and zombies come in a wide variety of size, shapes, and colors. PopCap was sure not to just drop in identical plants and zombies but with a different color, they took time to make each character as unique as possible. Just take a look at the game's box art for some wacky zombies.


    Plants vs. Zombies is a puzzle/strategy game, so you're going to have to use that precious brain of yours to keep those zombies from invading your home. Choose your plants wisely, because if you don't, those zombies have every right to eat that brain of yours. It's simple, grow plants, lots of them. The most important plant you'll be using is the sunflowers. Sunflowers are capable of generating sunlight. These sunlight units act as expendable points to "buy" other plants you can use. Remember, the more sunflowers you have planted, the more sunlight you'll get. The more sunlight you gather, the more plants you can plant.

    Watch out though, each plant has its own timed bar. What I mean by that is that once you spend sunlight on a plant, you'll have to wait a certain amount of time before you can get another. There are many plants the player has at their disposal, such as Pea Shooters, which can fire peas at the zombies, an offensive type of plant. Then there are walnuts that act as zombie distractors. Zombies will stop in front of these and proceed to eat them, buying you some time to follow up with more attacks of your own. When zombies come in hoards, that's when you can turn to the Cherry Bomb. Dropping one of these in front of a group of zombies will cause it to explode, taking out a group of zombies with it. As the player progresses through the game they'll have the option of using different upgraded plants as they become available, like the Pea Shooters firing as many as two or three peas at a time. There are dozens of plants, each with their own ability.

    Though you may mix it up with your plants, that doesn't mean the zombies don't. Just as the plants come in different varieties, so do the zombies. Aside from your regular zombie, you also have zombies with traffic cones on their heads, armored zombies such as the football zombie, dancing zombies, and even zombies that attempt to catapult themselves over your plants. This is where thinking wisely really matters. You'll have to adjust your planting skills to meet the attacks of the zombies, some will be harder to take out than others. Set up your defenses early on and you should be able to keep that brain of yours zombie free.

    Lasting Appeal

    The learning curve for Plants vs. Zombies isn't too broad and it isn't too narrow either. This makes it challenging, yet capable to play for even non-gamers. Players will find themselves returning to the frantic gameplay with as many as 50 levels waiting to challenge their skills. Other features included in the game are five game modes: Adventure, Survival (hold out as long as you can from the zombie attacks), Puzzle (brain challenging puzzles that take more critical thinking), Mini-Games (an assortment of various activities), and Zen Garden (tend to your plants, take care of your pet snail, and reinvest in your home).

    The Nintendo DS's wi-fi can be used to play with friends. You can use a single game card or multi-card play. Friends can go head to head in battle, one plays as plants and the other plays as the zombies.


    Plants vs. Zombies is a fantastic strategy based game that anyone can enjoy. The arrival of the game on the Nintendo DS is perfect for those who don't use smart phones, iPods, or the home consoles. This is also a plus for gamers on the go, not to mention the great price tag. I highly suggest picking up this edition of Plants vs. Zombies if you don't currently own it. So don't be a lifeless zombie, go to your nearest retailer and pick up your copy now!

    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Hecqubus's Avatar
      Hecqubus -
      haha every time I see plants vs Zombies I think to myself that there should be a FrankWest Plant

      Nice Review! Believe it or not I still havent bought this game on any platform haha
    1. Jason Arriola's Avatar
      Jason Arriola -
      Neither have I, Hec. The review copy I got is actually Taun's and Gus. It's fun, but I can't believe I haven't even picked any edition of the game up.
    1. DEEJAY's Avatar
      DEEJAY -
      I loved the 360 version
    1. Tanya Valdez's Avatar
      Tanya Valdez -
      I'm so glad you enjoyed Plants vs Zombies as much as I have. I have it for the PC, Xbox 360, DS, iPhone and iPad. I have done reviews on both the PC and 360 version. It is really good to get a perspective from another 8bit member, so thank you so much for sharing! The game has a great lasting appeal factor. I know on the PC, I had beat it, and then was in the midst of beating it again until my lappy cut off my addiction. The darn laptop had to be sent in for repairs and I was fiending. I was also growing my knowledge tree and it was giving me cute things to do, as I grew it. I ended up putting my zombies in 80's shades, mustaches, and what have you. I'm so glad you loved the game and we should definitely play it together.
    1. Cappy's Avatar
      Cappy -
      This game is amazing. I just got my friend addicted to it, she gave me the crazy look when i was picking it up for her for her birthday. Then couple days later get a text that says PLANTS VS ZOMBIES IS AWESOME!!!!! Now i just need to pick this up on DS.
    1. Jason Arriola's Avatar
      Jason Arriola -
      I figured we could try the DS version. I haven't even picked up the 360 edition yet. I still want the actual box copy of the game and not just the DLC.
  • Review Scale

    Score 10- Flawless Victory: A score not handed out to every game. Games earning this rare score sit at the very pinnacle of excellence. These games act as the examples for which all others should be measured with. They are instant classics from the beginning. These games not only deliver what was expected of it, but also exceed the player’s expectations. The game’s features are innovative and original. No game is without its absolute flaws, but the finished product you bring home surpasses the anticipation the game has formed. A day one buy is a must. The game you hold in your hands with this score is a video game jackpot.

    Score 9 - 9.5- Outstanding: Games earning scores such as these absolutely must be played. Games that achieve this high ranking do so because they define the genres that they are in. Flaws are few and barely noticeable. Features seen in the game have been renovated to provide something new and fresh. The story, gameplay, graphics, and lasting appeal are all fantastic and is reason enough to bring the game home and to enjoy with family and friends. Every penny you spend on the game is so worth it.

    Score 8 - 8.5- Great: Any flaw the game may possess is overshadowed by its fun factor. These games would be great for gamers to play. These great games appeal to gamers more and more outside its normal player base because of what it brings to the table.

    Score 7 - 7.5- Good: Flaws do exist in these games, but the positive features of the game can counterbalance the flaws. Additionally, players who are predisposed to liking a game of a particular series or genre with this score should enjoy the game. These are in no way bad games, and much fun can be had with them. An overall good game is worth taking a look at, whether you are willing to buy the game or rent it first. That or you can also wait for the game to reach a good price.

    Score 6 - 6.5- Decent: Games falling into this category may suffer from numerous flaws (for example, graphics or gameplay), but are still worth playing. Granted, the player should be aware that a game with these scores may not guarantee them full satisfaction.

    Score 5 - 5.5- Average: An average game is one in which a game’s features are neither good nor completely terrible. Instead, the finished product is manageable. Little has been done to hold the player’s interest. If anything, rent this game before you consider buying it so that you can at least get a feel for the game’s overall experience.

    Score 4 - 4.5- Poor: Games falling into this category may only keep gamers entertained for a short while. While the game may seem enjoyable for moments at a time, it can quickly grow old and may never be revisited again. The game’s overall function is lacking in quality and may not hold the player’s attention for long. The game leaves little or nothing else to return back to.

    Score 3 - 3.5- Bad: If any positive qualities about a game in this category exist, it is not enough to redeem the game for its shortcomings. Sure you may find yourself playing it, but for how long? You will wind up not giving the game a second glance.

    Score 2 - 2.5- Horrible: Games such as these may not be totally unplayable, they nearly are. Additionally, they may lack, or greatly suffer in, the fundamental functionality of the software as a whole. The game simply does not come close to meeting industry standards at the time of its release.

    Score 1 - 1.5- Appalling: Gamers should avoid this game at all costs. The game was clearly not ready to make its way to store shelves in its status. Save your money and find something else. See it in the bargain bin? No! Stay away! Keep moving and look for something else.