Game Addiction: Plants Vs Zombies

PlantsVZombies-LogoGames aren’t exactly my forte. In fact, the last time I remember playing a game this much was Command & Conquer. Gosh, that was a great game. Recently, Plants vs Zombies has my inner addict screaming for glee. Let me take you to Zombieville.

This all began when a friend showed me the game on his iPhone. I thought “OK plants, zombies, sunlight – that’s dumb” – but I’ll try it. Wow, was I ever surprised. The gameplay seems slow, but the strategy you use makes a larger difference down the road. At the point you’ve purchased every plant, you are given a list of 49 that can be placed into up to 9 “slots” that represent what you’ll use to keep the zombies from entering your house and eating your brains. Sounds simple enough right?

The complexities come in when the zombies also change up. Some zombies come from the sky, throw basketballs at you and even climb or jump over your stuff. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the various zombies you’ll face is how you formulate a strategy. For example, that basketball-throwing zombie, the Catapult Zombie, to be exact – can be countered by placing the Umbrella Leaf in vey well-placed locations. All along, you can buy upgrades to various plants and tools you have.

Crazy Dave is the fellow that sells all the stuff you need to upgrade. In the shop he sells anything from just bacon to a lawn rake that kills your first attacking zombie. Dave also guides you through the 50 different levels called “Adventure Levels” that test your zombie killing acumen. One of the really cool things about Dave too is that he has his own language. This may have been because the developer tried to limit the number fo sounds in the application – but it actually sounds really cool when he says something like “RavvaaaRoll!!”. Of course, there are always little captions in english that let you know exactly what Dave is really trying to say.

Also, the game contains a curious inline “Almanac” of zombies and plants called the Suburban Almanac. The almanac contains information on most of the plants and zombies but also contains an interesting little quip at the end of each item’s description. In the case of the Catapult Zombie, this is the text that accompanies him:

Of all the things Catapult Zombie could launch with his catapult, basketballs seemed like the best and most obvious choice

In some cases the almanac will point out weaknesses or different things that might help your strategy.

While you play the adventure levels, it gets more complicated when Dave goes and chooses plants for three of your slots. Sometimes these plants are useful, and sometimes they are useless, forcing you to pass the level with less. If you have issues with any of the levels, there are countless walkthroughs done by all sorts of people.

Not only are the adventure levels something you’ll go through multiple times, you can also go after something called achievements. Achievements are little skill testing scenarios that are very specific. One, for example, is getting through the entire 50 levels – called “Lawn Security”. Once you’ve done it, the achievement itself becomes ungrayed. Many are simple, some are crazy hard – like the “Pyromaniac” achievement.

The crazy thing about this game is how addictive it is. Seriously, if you give this thing a chance, you’ll probably be playing it a week later. Plants Vs Zombies will suck you in, and keep you playing for so many hours – you’ll start hating it. That hate might just make you play it more.

It’s rare that a game comes along that inspires so much interest, and and addiction that might have eaten more hours than I would care to admit. Take this article as more of a warning than an endorsement. If you value time, you might want to avoid this game.

If not, you can play Plants Vs Zombies for $2.99 on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and every other platform on the planet.