2 Reviews

PopCap Hits Vol. 2

REVIEW: Welcome to another extremely mixed bag

The clue's in the title. This isn't a Best Of - it's some more Hits, from PopCap's reliable and occasionally inspired hit factory.

Their best game is certainly here - Plants vs Zombies is a brilliant and substantial tweak on the tower defence genre, with an ever-growing cast of zombies, and an equally diverse armory of unique plants. It's well priced at ten quid's worth of Microsoft Points for the XBLA download - but are the other three games worth the £20 extra?

Heavy Weapon is a straight up run and gun, that gets intense and genuinely difficult more quickly than any of PopCap's lighter, mum-friendly games. But the levels are too long, without a break to make the repetition feel less stark and abusive. The challenge is so stretched out, that you're alternately being massaged into a stupefied, drooling haze by the constant flow of your own bullets, then killed because you were too unblinkingly numb to respond. The power ups are great - particularly the easy reallocation of your upgrade points - but since it was first released in 2005, Heavy Weapon has been far surpassed by the 80-point shooters in the Indie Arcade.

Zoom

Feeding Frenzy 2 takes the pleasingly simple idea of "eat smaller, avoid bigger, grow" - something that games like Katamari Damacy and Fl0w have done brilliantly. Then it destroys any mood by being utterly charmless and saying "Frenzy!" every six seconds. We wouldn't mind, but the five - five! - separate states of frenzy do nothing but increase the multiplier. Maybe we were spoiled by Peggle's rapturous Ode To Joy Frenzies, but if PopCap are going to brazenly declare a Mega Frenzy, we want to see fish going mental, and at least chewing each other's faces off.

Finally, there's Zuma - a fun and tense match-three that's as quietly engaging, tense and entertaining as it is derived and ubiquitous. It's less appealing as an investment since the free-to-play Facebook Blitz version came out, but if you don't want time-limited play and constant nags to buy stuff, it's less skin-crawlingly claustrophobic to have this, the self-contained version. It's also worth noting that the individual games can currently be bought for 3200MP - slightly less than the RRP of this misconceived compilation. Even at slashed internet prices, you can get Zuma and Plants vs Zombies - the two worth getting - for a better price.

The verdict

The great and the rubbish at a price that's definitely not right

  • Plants vs Zombies
  • Zuma
  • Feeding Frenzy 2
  • Heavy Duty
  • Thirty Pounds
5
Format
Live Arcade
Developer
PopCap Games
Publisher
PopCap Games
Genre
Action, Puzzle, Compilation

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