This fun PC game does exactly what it says on the box - has plant life fighting the undead!
Set in a house garden (with some later levels on the roof), the concept is relatively simple but highly addictive. Zombies relentlessly advance from right to left across the lawn, which is divided into several lanes, and the player must place plants in their path to destroy them.
The start of each level sees the player choosing a limited selection of plants to use from those currently available after seeing which types of zombies will be assaulting the house. Early levels have few plants to use but as they are progressed then more are unlocked - but so too are greater, more powerful and versatile zombies. This allows for good strategic thinking and a bad selection of plants can effectively doom a level before it has even begun.
Of primary importance are the sunflowers. These periodically create suns, which can be collected and are automatically exchanged for money, which in turn is needed to place more plants on the lawn. The more money earned and the more plants available but garden space is limited so care should be taken to avoid expensive (and time consuming) digging up and replanting.
Other items can be used too. These include spikeweed to damage zombies, mines to blow them up and magnets which attract metal such as the helmets and doors with which some of the undead come equipped.
There are 26 zombie types to face and numerous tactics are needed to defeat them. Bungee zombies fall from the sky and steal plants, pogo and pole vaulting varieties jump over obstacles and ladder carriers simply climb over them. The disco dancing zombie creates reinforcements while balloon holders fly over the lawn and are immune to virtually everything except the sharp cactus plant.
If a zombie reaches the house before the end of the level, they win and the game is over.
Later levels become more complex. Gardens soon have pools, allowing newer plants and zombies, and on the roof plant pots must be placed before anything else. After placing an object it needs time to recharge so, once again, care must be taken over where and when to plant.
The final level has an encounter with Dr Zomboss and reminded me somewhat of the battle with the Mekon in the old Commodore 64 hit, DAN DARE!
Once the Adventure has been completed, there are the Mini-Game, Puzzle and Survival modes to plough through. Money collected can be used to purchase upgrades or new equipment as well as stocking a bonus Zen Garden.
Despite being simple in concept, PLANTS VS ZOMBIES is great fun to play. The graphics are big, colourful and cartoon like and while sound is minimal, there is still a cracking strategy game here as well!