Chances are, you've played Plants vs Zombies before. The criminally addictive tower defence game was originally released for the desktop by PopCap way back in 2009 and it soon made the transition to smartphones and DS.
This new Vita version is a straightforward port of the original, in which you use some ferocious varieties of plants to stop the shuffling undead. The main Adventure mode of the game has 50 levels of zombie mayhem as they creep across the garden, through the pool, and over the roof toward you.
Common or garden zombie
The controls couldn't be simpler: touch to choose a plant seed, and touch an open space in the garden to plant it.
On previous versions is was also necessary to tap frantically to collect the suns and coins that appear, but thanks to Sixaxis you can now harvest these with a light shake of the console, making this iteration more beginner-friendly.
Sunshine is used as currency with which to buy more seeds to plant. Crazy Dave, your wise adviser, will help you part with your coins in return for stuff from the boot of his car. Thanks to his experience in the field, he has all kinds of tools and plants that will help you in the war against the zombies.
Console controls have also been added as an option: the shoulder buttons select the seed, the left stick sends the cursor darting to the right location, and the buttons do the planting.
They work smoothly and accurately, but it's difficult to beat the speed and responsiveness of touchscreen controls.
Zombie see, zombie do
Progress through the game is rewarded with access to other game modes and extras. Whether it's zombie bowling, whack-a-zombie, or even switching sides and sending your zombie minions into battle against the plants, there are plenty of ways to play.
When you've had enough of killing, you can find peace in the zen garden tending to a selection of your own plants.
Then there's the Zombatar creator. Here you can design your own zombie avatar, choosing everything from hair and skin colour to earrings and tattoos. Your creations will appear in the game, too, often as the flag-bearing leader of the final wave of intruders in any level. If you haven't pelted a cross-dressing zombie pirate with peas, you haven't lived.
Use your braaaains
Thanks to the Vita's high-definition screen, the zombies are clear and vivid. Thankfully, they still sound the same, groaning as they shuffle along and giving a satisfying pop as their heads fall off.
If you're new to Plants vs Zombies, this is quite possibly the best version there is, taking the best of the other releases and adding a couple of unique extras, though admittedly at a much higher price. If you already own a copy on another device, you'll have to decide whether the Zombatar and a potential platinum trophy justifies the extra investment.
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