Plants vs. Zombies Vita [Review]

  • Platform: PlayStation Vita
  • Published by: Sony Online Entertainment/PopCap Games
  • Developed by: PopCap Games
  • Genre: Strategy; Puzzle/Action
  • ESRB Rating: E 10+
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Release Date: February 22, 2012

It’s hard to imagine that you haven’t played or at least seen someone play Plants vs. Zombies. After debuting on PC back in 2009, Plants vs. Zombies has infected several different platforms and devices. The latest victim of this popular and addictive game? The PlayStation Vita. You would think that after so many instances of the same game, one would get tired of it. Well, you would think wrong. Plants vs Zombies is still great and only one question really stands – What does the Vita version add or take away?

If you have been living under a flower pot and do not know, Plants vs. Zombies is a lighthearted strategy game almost like a tower defense game of sorts. You are pitted against hordes of zombies trying to get into your house to eat your brain! Well, with the help of your plants and your neighbor ‘Crazy Dave,’ you can fend off these waves of zombie enemies by strategically planting plants that act as weapons and a line of defense. Not only do you have to prevent these zombies from getting into your house, but you want to make sure they do not eat your plants and break through too – These zombies are omnivores, they will eat your plants too. So you are tasked with making sure your plants and your brain stay safe. Clear out the waves of zombies and you are on to the next stage.

I think one of the great things that differentiates Plants vs. Zombies from other strategy/defense games is the variety it contains along with the humor and character charm inserted. The game contains about 50 levels to play through in the adventure mode alone. Add that to the mini-games, puzzles, and survival modes, there are a lot of ways you can prevent early brain “nom-ing.” You will start out in adventure mode with the basics: Sunflowers and Peashooters against normal Zombies. Your sunflowers act as a currency maker of sorts so you can plant other plants and build your defenses. Peashooters are your basic level of offense. From there, you will continue collecting a variety of plants (over 40) and face a wide range of zombie enemies (25+). The zombies get tougher and have different skills with various weaknesses and abilities. You must choose the right plants to make sure you can defend against these different zombie types. You will find no real repetition in the 50 Plants vs. Zombie levels. While the basic stage layout does not vary too much – Each level is designed in a way to provide a new challenge and you can always find different ways to defeat the enemies. There’s never just one way to fight off the zombie enemies.

Plants vs. Zombies is easy enough for anyone to play with its simple controls and an easy concept to follow. However, you must really think about the actions you are going to take during each level. As the puzzle master Professor Layton would say, “Critical thinking is key!” You are not going to have unlimited supplies of plants and although going through the game you can unlock over 40 different kinds, you can only pick a limited amount (starting out at 7) for each level. So you must choose your plants wisely according to the conditions of the level (does it have fog? Is it a pool level? At night? etc.) and the type of zombies that you will encounter. Now while that challenge gets a little more advanced as you progress through the different levels, they are not impossible or frustrating to complete. There is enough of a challenge without making the game feel like a task. In addition, the quirky zombie characters add a bit of life to the levels in their various outfits. I guess zombies had jobs before they became zombies, right? You will find yourself faced with disco zombies, pole vaulting zombies, cranky old newspaper-reading zombies, and more. Each adding his flavor to the mix and a bit of comical relief along with that of your neighbor “Crazy Dave.”

The PlayStation Vita version of the game is the same as all of the rest except for a few control options. The Vita version is kind of like a mix of Plants vs. Zombies iOS/Droid and PlayStation 3. You can opt in for button controls like on the PS3, using the D-Pad, shoulder buttons/triggers, and symbols, or you can use the Vita’s touch screen. In addition, the Vita makes use of its motion controls for easy sun spore and coin collection that will allow you to purchase upgrades. This is very helpful at times when you’re busy planting and do not want to get distracted by picking up the coins and spores – all you have to do is slightly move the Vita and “voila!” all of the items are collected for you. This proves helpful especially in survival modes or final waves on harder levels. What’s more, Plants vs. Zombies Vita adds a bit of the replay factor in with a full PlayStation trophy list. Yes, Plants vs. Zombies has a Platinum trophy. So if you’re one of those guys or gals out there that love that to hear that chime go *ding* when you earn that big blue ball, you will be happy to know that Plants vs. Zombies has kept you in mind. While the PlayStation 3 version of the game did contain a few trophies, the Vita version has 43 one of which is a platinum to reward you for keeping your brain untouched by those evil (yet oh so lovable) zombies.

Plants vs. Zombies Vita retains all of the addictive gameplay and appealing fun even after being published through various mediums. I would even go to the point of saying that the PlayStation Vita version of the game might even be better thanks to the mixture of button, touch screen, and motion controls in addition to the big, beautiful, OLED screen (this thing almost always makes everything look better). The one drawback to the game? The launch price of $14.99. Although the game is still great, chances are, if you have already played through it, you do not want to pay another $14.99 to play it again; Especially considering that you can get it at a much lower price or even for free with some services. However, a price doesn’t change the content in the game itself. If you can’t get all the zombie killing you crave with those other devices, then go ahead and grab this awesome version of Plants vs Zombies for the PlayStation Vita. It’s still a great game that will no doubt stand the test of time through this and many zombie apocalypses to come.

FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10 Great


(A free copy of Plants vs. Zombies Vita was given to GamerXChange for review purposes)


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