Asterix is perhaps better known in his native France than here in the UK, but he's nevertheless one of the most iconic comic creations of recent times, having starred in books, movies, and - of course - video games.

Taking this lofty level of fame into account, it's rather disappointing to see the plucky Gaul starring in such a derivative work.

A cursory glance at any screenshot from the game is all that's required to realise that Asterix: Total Annihilation owes a massive debt to Plants vs. Zombies. Simply substitute the plants for Gauls and the zombies for Romans and you're already halfway to understanding the general concept of this title.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen

We're probably being a little harsh. While Asterix: Total Annihilation does indeed seek to capitalise on the popularity of PopCap's game, it does at least have the decency to showcase some ideas of its own.

Instead of having a limitless supply of units to place on the battlefield, each character is totally unique - which means you can only place them down once. A cost is incurred if you wish to move them to another spot.

Another difference is the way in which the central characters - such as Asterix, Obelix, and Dogmatix - are introduced. They take the form of special weapons which can be employed to eradicate an entire row of Romans, but they incur a cool-down time to avoid being over-used and making the game too easy.

Instead of the sun providing resources to build roadblocks and other obstacles, village druid Getafix hurls flasks of magic potion into play. If you tap one of these before it hits the ground then you gain additional bonus points to use, but doing so in the heat of battle is often easier said than done.

Roman around

Alas, Asterix: Total Annihilation's attempts to be different are actually what condemn it to mediocrity; because you can only use each village once, the early levels are made deliberately easy.

It's only when you gain access to all of the characters that it poses any kind of challenge - in fact, the difficulty increases dramatically to compensate, with magic potions being hard to come by and the hordes of Romans growing to unmanageable proportions.

Add in a tepid soundtrack, pointless in-app purchases (at the time of writing there's nothing to spend the virtual gold on) and flat, cardboard cut-out characters that possess none of the spark which made the animated Asterix movies so appealing, and you've got a very disappointing title. The pint-sized warrior deserves better than this.