Platforms: Windows, Mac (other editions available for mobile devices)
PopCap’s tower defense hit, Plants vs. Zombies, has spawned a whole bunch of clones, and even inspired a quest chain (and pet) in World of Warcraft, but the original still stands just a little taller than the rest. The GOTY Edition features a 50 level adventure mode, plus four other unlockable modes.
Here’s the gist of the thing: your house is under attack from hordes of zombies, but instead of going for knives and guns, naturally, you run to the greenhouse for seeds. You have – at first – an awfully small arsenal of plants at your disposal, but you unlock plenty of other interesting foliage as you continue through adventure mode.
You’ll need to manage a few things here. The currency you use to buy new plants is sun, which falls from the sky periodically during day time, or can be created by both Sunflowers and Sunshrooms. These plants are crucial to just about every possible strategy in the game, so don’t overlook them. Secondly, all the types of seeds will go on cooldown once one is planted, so you can’t immediately plant the same kind of seed one after another.
Once you unlock your seventh seed type, you need to start making the hard decisions. You may only bring six types of seeds into each level (don’t forget your sun generators!). You can go into battle with only offensive plants, but it’s probably worthwhile to bring at least one or two defensive types as well – the Wall Nut is a great, inexpensive defender that gets unlocked very early.
Every so often, you’ll get a level that mixes things up – like in the above screenshot, I’m bowling for zombies. You will also continue to get more varied zombie types with different strengths, weakness and abilities. It starts off pretty easy, but before long, you realize that this game isn’t quite as casual as it claims – there’s a lot of things to figure out and manage in order to succeed after the difficulty starts going up.
Plants vs. Zombies might be the most cheerful game you ever play about killing hordes of undead, and the GOTY Edition is really lovely & pretty content heavy for a low price-point casual game. There’s also good replay value here – for every level there are multiple strategies that just might work. For $5, picking up Plants vs. Zombies GOTY Edition should really be a – pardon the pun – no brainer.