Casual gaming has taken over the industry, and particularly the App Store, by force. Popcap Games is at the epicenter of it all, with several notable games--Bejeweled 2, Peggle, and now Plants vs. Zombies--being stand-outs on the iPhone. We won't lie: we were eagerly awaiting the release date of this long-promised iPhone and iPod Touch port, having fallen into an addictive trance with the PC version.
For those not familiar, Plants vs. Zombies is a variant on tower defense games, where the player sets up fortresses and weapons to stave off waves of enemy attackers. In the case of P vs. Z, your reinforcements are all mutated flora, while your adversaries are...well, yes, suburban undead.
Set across various stages taking place on your front lawn, the PC game uses rapid clicking to select and plant your defenses, and as the game continues it becomes a veritable click-fest. The iPhone port keeps the exact same stage layout and game design, offering up the entire game screen with no scrolling around necessary. Icons and animations are bright and big despite limited real estate, and the music is as weirdly catchy as we remember it.
We played a review build sent to us by the publisher, and no better praise can we place on the game than it shortly disappeared into the hands of the reviewer's wife for well over an hour. It's a fantastic and highly addictive puzzler, more condensed and tightly designed than other similar strategy games, and the length of each level is perfectly suited for mobile play. The touch controls actually suit the game better than the original's mouse-based play, making this the first Popcap game we actually feel was born to be played on the iPhone. It also helps that the simple five-row lawn design grid isn't that complicated, as opposed to the elaborate kinetic peg landscapes of Peggle.
Plants vs. Zombies only costs $2.99, which almost seems like an App Store typo. Plenty of stages of gameplay in Adventure mode and the subsequent Quick Play mode make the price of this app a steal, especially since it offers just about everything the $19.95 original does. And, as we mentioned, this would be a great game to blow up on an iPad, too.
Plants vs. Zombies is available now on the App Store. Let your addiction begin.