The Zombies have arrived and they want your brains. Well actually they want your plants too. This is a classic “tower defense” style game and your goal is to protect your home from the hoard of zombies approaching from the other side of the street. Between the zombies and your home is your front lawn. Using the stylus, you place different plants in the squares of your front lawn by dragging and moving them. Different plants do things to help you protect your home in different ways.
In order to go forward, the zombies eat the plants in their way until either one of the plants (wall nut, potato mine, Venus flytrap, etc.) eats the zombie or the lawn mower mows them down. If the zombies get past all your defensive plants and the lawn mower, they get to your house, eat your brains, and you lose the game. It’s not quite as simple as it sounds. In order for the plants to be available to use, you need points, and different plants will set you back a different amount. When a plant is available to you, it becomes highlighted, but it should be noted that you have to wait some time between placing each plant even if you have enough points to instantly purchase plants back to back.
As you gain experience by completing each game, you can plant new kinds of plants. Wall-Nuts can be used to bowl the zombies down in a game of bowling. Some flowers can shoot seeds at the zombies and kill them. Cherries explode like cherry bombs.
One of the most important plants you can grow are the sunflowers. Sunflowers release sunshine and you click on the sunshine to get points. When you have 20 different plants each doing its own thing as you’re trying to tap all the suns so the sunshine is released and plant new plants to distract the zombies, it gets a bit hectic.
Each level has 10 games to go through before the next level and there are 50 different levels in total. At the end of each game you receive a tool like a shovel or a new plant is made available to you like a potato mine or snow pea to help you fight off the zombies in the next game.
During the game you also meet your neighbor, Crazy Dave, who gives you helpful suggestions throughout. As you earn more points you can stop by his house and purchase new seed packets, plants or garden tools.
The game throws other curves at you as well, like fighting zombies at night, which certainly differs from doing so during the day — there’s no sun from the sky giving you extra points. You still get sun from sunflowers, but it’s slower so it’s harder to fight the zombies. You also get puffshrooms to help you as well. Starting in this level you also receive money. It appears in front of you randomly and you click on it to get it. You also get presents like the ability to play multi-play. Each level is just a little bit different than the one before it but the basic premise is the same — stop the zombies from getting to your house or they’ll eat your brains.
The graphics are absolutely adorable. Basically it’s an animated cartoon with cute, brightly colored plants combating not so cute zombies wearing football uniforms, business suits, and funky hats. I love the sound effects of the zombies eating the veggies and them getting bowled over and run down by lawn mowers. The zombies amble toward your garden while repeating “brains” which definitely made me giggle and attracted the interest of everyone in the house. While there is some blood and violence, basically we’re talking a tiny bit of animated cartoon blood when a zombie’s head falls off and rolls around the garden.
This is definitely one of the best Nintendo DS games I’ve played so far. It’s easy to play, the graphics and sounds are adorable, and the game play changes enough between each level to keep my interest. There are even play areas on your property that unlock as you rise in the levels so you have the chance to play puzzles and mini-games and enjoy your zen garden. This is a great way to pass the time until spring really arrives and I can plant my real garden!
Plants Vs. Zombies is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Animated Blood and Cartoon Violence. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac, and iPhone.