games are successful enough to make their way to other platforms. At best, they might get ported to other phones, such as AndroidGOOG
or Windows Phone 7MSFT
. But there is one creative strategy game that has been able to transcend the App Store: Plants vs. Zombies. The title is just as blatant (and as crazy) as it sounds. In a world overrun by zombies, plants are the only ones who can save us. By planting flowers, pea-shooting creatures, and watermelon-throwing beasts, players can conquer the zombie invasion without having to call the Raccoon City Police Department. Since its release on the iPhone, Plants vs. Zombies has made its way to Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation NetworkSNE
, and the Nintendo DS. If you've played the original, you might not think that you need another handheld iteration. Initially, I thought the same thing. However, after being consumed by the addictive single-player campaign, and after being enveloped by the bonus mini-games – many of which are like the standard campaign missions but with a challenging twist – there is no denying that Plants vs. Zombies is worth playing all over again.
If you're new to the series, its charm may not be immediately apparent. In fact, there's a good chance that you will question every word that I'm saying. But after a few minutes with the game, you'll be intrigued. After an hour, you'll be hungry for another level. And after a weekend, you won't be able to put the game down. The reason is because of Plants vs. Zombies' brilliant mesh of depth and simplicity. Conceptually, the gameplay is easy to grasp. Players start by collecting sun tokens, a form of currency that allows you to “buy” new plants. One of the first (and perhaps most important) plants you'll find is the flower. This plant draws sun into its core, allowing you to acquire much more sun than you would otherwise gain. Soon you'll have enough sun to buy plants that shoot ice peas that freeze enemies on contact. Soon you'll be planting cobs of corn that launch kernels, catapult-style. When nighttime falls and the mushrooms come out, you'll be greeted with another batch of plant-based soldiers. The water stages bring a few more, along with the need to plant lily pads in order to give your standard plants a platform to grow on. If this sounds crazy, then know this: the best iPhone always are. Technically, Plants vs. Zombies is not strictly an iPhone game. But it found the best success and garnered the most attention on the Apple device, and with good reason – this game was meant to be played on a handheld.
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