Plants Vs. Zombies is one of those rare titles that has casual appeal while still providing an enjoyable experience to the hardcore gamer. A smashing success on its initial PC release, it has been released for Mac as well as iOS devices, and a version for Nintendo's DS is coming soon. Recently, Pop Cap's cheerful undead defense game made it's way to the Xbox 360, with an Xbox Live Arcade release and a disc version, too.
We covered Plants Vs Zombies for the PC last year for Beyond Co-Op, where it earned a Gold Billy, a ranking reserved for must-buy titles. The game appears on the surface to be a rather simple twist on the standard tower defense formula. In order to defend your house from a zombie invasion, you must plant all sorts of flora in your yard. Each plant has a distinctive role, with unique abilities that aid in the fight against the undead. Sunflowers provide sunlight, which is the basic currency used in the game. Peashooters of various varieties take down zombies from afar, while venus flytraps and squash eliminate any zombies who get into close range. There is a huge variety of plants available, with new varieties unlocked either at the end of a level or purchased from the store run by your crazy neighbor.
And it's a good thing there are lots of plants available for you to use, because the zombies themselves come in many different varieties, too. Some are armored with buckets or football helmets, others use tools like ladders or screen doors to make life difficult for you. As you play through Adventure Mode, the locations change, too. When night falls, a mushroom army will serve you well, but the lack of natural sunlight means resources are scarce. When the zombies invade your back yard, you must use aquatic plants to keep your swimming pool zombie-free. Even your roof is a battleground, where you must first place flowerpots and then use "cabbage-pults" to attack zombies over the slant of the roof. The tremendous variety of settings and units in Adventure Mode keeps the action fresh from the simple start to the frantic boss fight at the end.
Several other modes from the PC version of Plants Vs. Zombies are available in the Xbox 360 port. Puzzle mode, Survival, and the Pokemon-like Zen Garden, where you can plant and care for seedlings, all add additional content beyond Adventure Mode. But this version of the game includes co-op and versus play for the first time, and while defending your house from a human-controlled zombie horde in Versus Mode is fun, the co-op really stands out as a highlight of the game.