Game Reviews

Plants vs Zombies (PlayBook)

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Plants vs Zombies (PlayBook)

Tower defence games are a dime a dozen on smartphones and tablets, as touchscreens are seemingly designed to facilitate the optimal placement of turrets and the act of sliding through menus.

But it was PopCap's Plants vs Zombies that first threw fertilizer on the tower defence garden, allowing it to grow into the flourishing - maybe even overgrown - genre that it has since become.

Can it replicate the massive success it has achieved over on iPad and Android tablets here on the PlayBook?

Short answer: Yes.

Green Fingers

The zombie apocalypse is on your doorstep in Plants vs Zombies, and the horde is just gagging to makes its way across your garden and in through your patio windows to snack on your grey matter.

Fortunately, you have an arsenal of horticultural turrets on your side, which will do everything from fire pea-shaped bullets to explode in a fiery plume in your defence.

One of the most attractive features of Plants vz Zombies, as compared with most of the other tower defenders out there, is the sheer variety of turrets and strategies on offer.

Your line-up is initially limited to only a few turret types, and you'll have to pick your tillage carefully if you want to capitalise fully. Using the zombie-slowing frozen pea-firing plants will become redundant once you get the freeze-all blighter.

Walk towards the (sun)light

To power all these plants you'll have to maintain a constant awareness of the amount of sunlight - the in-game currency - you obtain. You accumulate this by tapping on the orbs of sun that occasionally fall from the sky, or by planting sunflowers that produce a constant stream of the stuff.

Even more mind-bending mechanics are thrown into the mix with the onset of night time, which hinders your sunlight-gathering plants while also providing access to a range of night time-only fungi.

There's also the odd pool of water, which require you to place lilies to build upon.

A no Brainer

Zombies come in all manner of amusing forms, and while some of them border on the unfair side - especially the first time you encounter them - you'll always be interested in what the game throws at you next, whether it be a dolphin-riding cadaver that's un-phased by water or an undead American Footballer charging through everything in its path.

And the PlayBook pumps all of this out of its 7-inch screen admirably. While there isn't any new content to speak of for PlayBook owners, the smaller screen means that navigating options and placing turrets accurately is a doddle.

So if you haven't played Plants vs Zombies before and you happen to own a PlayBook, you'd really have to be braindead not to snap it up. It might not be saying much to say it’s the best game on PlayBook, given the lack of games currently sown on the device, but Plants vs Zombies is one of the best games to grow out of any touchscreen.

Plants vs Zombies (PlayBook)

An ever-changing and constantly evolving set of gameplay mechanics means that PvZ is a perennial purchase for every PlayBook owner with brainssssss…
Matt Sakuraoka-Gilman
Matt Sakuraoka-Gilman
When Matt was 7 years old he didn't write to Santa like the other little boys and girls. He wrote to Mario. When the rotund plumber replied, Matt's dedication to a life of gaming was established. Like an otaku David Carradine, he wandered the planet until becoming a writer at Pocket Gamer.