Plants Versus Zombies XBLA: review

Zombies are in. Let’s face it, you can’t go far in the world of videogames without bumping into someone who has died but still has an axe to grind. Heck, even serious shooter Call of Duty has a zombie mode. However, in recent times the real zombie action hasn’t been with the Resident Evil games or Dead Rising. Instead it’s been on the iPhone and iPod Touch led by the horticultural element of the genre, Plants Versus Zombies.

This game is best described as a mix between a tower defence game and, er, a Zombie game mixed with Space Invaders. You own a house (not so easy to do nowadays, what with the high level of deposit a bank asks for), which is on the left of the screen. On the right are zombies who are trying to reach your house by walking down lanes in the garden. You can place different kinds of plants along the lanes, some of which fire bullets (seeds), others that eat zombies, and some that create sunflower seeds which you can use to plant more aggressive flowers.

Gameplay is left to right, or right to left depending on where the action is!

The game looks simple, and it is; but there’s a deep level of strategy required as it goes on. Even though you unlock a greater variety of plants as you journey through the singleplayer campaign, you can actually only pick a few per level. Levels vary by the type of enemies you have to face and the time of day. Sometimes you will fail a level and it was purely down to your choice of plants at the very start, and from that moment on you were doomed.

The basic formula is the same as the iPhone version, but the XBLA edition offers more modes, multiplayer and mini games to boot. Two player options include a versus mode, where one player controls the zombies and the other the plants. The game is quite slow and it takes a while to unlock everything which isĀ  a shame if you want to download it and get stuck in straight away with some co-op or versus plant eating zombie action.

The template for this game is a well established success, and the XBLA version adds new layers of depth. It’s certainly value for money on the Xbox and you will be coming back to it again and again. Our only real complaint is that you have to unlock the parts of the game which really make this version stand out, but you will nonetheless enjoy the journey on your way to gaining access to them.

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Written by Steven G

Steven Gurevitz is the CEO of 2002 Studios Media LTD and a founder of gaming accessory company Asiiya. 2002 Studios started off as a music production company, but produces a range of content from videos to videogames. The company specialises in localizing content for global brands. He also owns the Urban Sound Label, a small niche e-label. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor and co-owner He enjoys FPS, Third person 'free world', narrative driven and portable gaming. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor to

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