Plants vs Zombies

Lawn of the Dead

When zombies invade your front yard in a casual game, you don't greet them with shotguns, pipebombs and fireaxes - you combat them with weeds and crops.

Plants vs Zombies is real-time lawn chess played against the undead. This is Peggle creator PopCap's take on tower defence, and in the same slow, steady way, it's as addictive as that pinball-style epic.

In PvZ, you place plants to counter a roster of un-people that stream on to the screen. Pole-vaulting zombies, snorkelling zombies, disco zombies that summon protective backup dancers - for such a goofy setup, it's surprisingly complex.


Once you get past a dozen or so of the 50 adventure-mode levels, the slow simplicity evolves into hectic tactics as you unlock seed packets for cabbage-pults, squash, Gatling peas, hypno-shrooms and cob cannons, as well as jalapeņos that fry zombies. If there's any small fault, it's the repeated, plodding pace that opens many of the early stages so you can master new plants.

Even if you own PvZ on the iPhone or PC, this is the definitive version. Ten levels of same-screen co-op and a customisable Versus mode (where one player deploys undead on the lawn for Team Zombie) are exclusive to the XBLA version, and that's on top of the returning side content.

Co-op is the highlight, adding mechanics like floating sun energy that's reaped by both players hovering their cursor over it, and dividing the job of dropping plants by giving each player four seed packets. It's well-balanced strategy that isn't hardcore, but is fertilised by adorable comedy.

The verdict

Simple, comical strategy that'll delight all ages

Live Arcade
PopCap Games
PopCap Games
Sim / Strategy