The word of apps has grown insanely over the past couple of years, with
quality that ranges from opportunistic and godawful to transcendent and
vital. For lack of a better word, I’m an app whore. A power user of the
highest order. Sometimes a fool and sometimes a gentleman with serious
tools.



Either way, here I am and here come the reviews…



Today’s Title: Plants vs. Zombies, Plants vs. Zombies HD

Platform: iPhone, iPad

Price: $2.99, $9.99

Developer: PopCap



The Premise:



A tower defense game where the player plants an array of different
flowers, fruits, and vegetables to sate, stun, and demolish an army of
zombies.



The Gameplay:



Your house is being besieged by the living goddamn dead. They are slow
and ambling at first, but soon they get crafty. They wear buckets and
flowerpots on their head for protection, bounce on pogo sticks, drive
Zambonis, even bungee cord their way from the top of the screen as the
game progresses. Eventually, gigantic ogre zombies show up and throw
midget zombies deep into your territory where they threaten your
sanctuary. What you have to fight them is sunflowers, which generate
sunlight to “buy” other plants/weapons. Some are defensive, like bags of
nuts the zombies have to munch through before they progress or spiky
thorns they have to walk over. Some are offensive, like Venus Fly Traps,
watermelon launchers, and little potato bombs that destroy the undead
with a glorious starchy inferno. The squash, well it squashes them.


The menu screen from the iPhone version. Yes, my name is Health.



The game moves from the front yard to the back yard, where night forces
you to rely on assortment on mushrooms. Then the fog rolls in, rendering
you partially blind. Lucky there are little fans and lanterns that you
can plant to even the score. Of course, those take up a spot in your
inventory. Space is limited, and every spot you donate to a tool like a
lantern is one you can’t use for a weapon. It gets tricky finding the
right combination of items to beat each particular challenge.



Then there’s the water, which causes new trouble. The rooftop and its
new dangers. Then the lightning. And the gigantic boss who throws trucks
at you.



It’s insane. And adorable. And addictive as hell. And after you win the
game you have a ton of minigames, survival mode, and tons of other
little things you have to save up money for to unlock that make the game
one of the absolute killer apps on these or any system.


Some weapons you earn by beating levels, others you have to buy. Here’s where. From iPhone version.



The iPad verson is quite pricey, but stunning to look at. Fans of the PC
version know the game to be a gorgeous one, but this is the most lavish
version yet. It’s stunning, and though it seems to be nearly identical
to the iPhone counterpart it sucked me in on its own right and I played
through the whole thing again.


The menu
screen for the Quick Play section from the iPad version.



The Hook:



It’s made with flourish, elegantly designed with terrific play
mechanics. And the music and graphics are so sharp, the nuances so well
executed that it’s impossible not to love. And it is adorable.
Absolutely adorable.


My setup for the first level of Survival Mode. From the iPad version..



Should You Get It:



Definitely. I’m bored to tears of Tower Defense games. They’re almost as
much a blight on the app store as zombie games. Zombies on the iTunes
app store are like an unholy infestation. They are everywhere and totally capitalize on people’s dumb willingness to buy anything with a zombie theme. This rises above all the
dreary stereotypes and is something truly special.


The Mini-Game ‘Zombotany 2′, where the zombies have weapons. From the iPad version.



Buy this game. Seriously.