Review: Plants Vs. Zombies (Vita)

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Plants vs. Zombies, the charming tower-defense title from PopCap Games has made its way to the PlayStation Vita as a launch title; however is the transition to the brand-new portable a good experience? The answer is a resounding yes.

 While Plants vs. Zombies is typical of other tower-defense titles, it stands out due to its quirky charm and expansive gameplay options. Simplicity and depth are really what set apart Plants vs. Zombies from the plethora of other genre specific titles that flood the market.

 Killing hordes of zombies and preventing them from moving across the lawn and into the garden is the goal, and as you progress it becomes increasing more challenging and rewarding. To keep things fresh, players unlock different plants which become extremely useful in various situations. For instance there’s a whole set of plants specifically used for the night setting. Offering different locations and plants is one of the key aspects that keep the title fresh through the experience. Also, interspersed throughout the adventure are arcade variations on the tower defense formula. Essentially players loose control and are given a pre-determined amount of specific plants based on the objective of that particular level. It’s a nice change of pace, and it’s not all that this excellent title offers.

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The main menu, touch enabled.

New to this specific iteration are the touch controls utilizing the technology in the PlayStation Vita. Since I own the PS3 version I wanted to see exactly how it matched up with its Vita counterpart. There’s really no competition. The touch controls in the Vita version make the experience much more enjoyable and fast-paced in comparison to the PS3 one. In fact if anything it makes the PS3 version come off as the sluggish old grandmother that can’t keep up. There’s been a demographic in the gaming population that sees touch controls as some sort of nuisance, but I assure you, they’re implemented beautifully, and if anything improve the experience substantially.

 Aside from the standard adventure mode, Plants vs. Zombies features a few other game-modes as you progress through the adventure. A Survival Mode can be unlocked and there are special puzzle levels that let you play as the zombies. There’s also a feature called “Zombatar” which allows players to create their own zombies. While none of the modes are particularly deep as a package it’s fairly comprehensive; especially for a tower-defense title.

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Prepare for War…..

One of the best things is that Plants vs. Zombies is a title that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. It’s intuitive, simple, and has a charming art style. For many gamers, this could be a deterrent, however there’s not a lack of challenge, even though this is one of the easier titles in the genre.The graphics are excellent, with extremely crisp character models, and lighting. Each of the graphical elements is brought to life beautifully by the 5-inch OLED screen on the PlayStation Vita. The sound design is relatively good, though the music can be a bit repetitive at times.

 For previous owners there won’t be much different in this latest iteration, aside from the new controls specifically designed for the Vita and the previous additions made available in the PS3 version. The controls make a huge difference though, especially for an audience not adept with any of the console controllers, and really cement this version as the best currently available.

For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes.