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Kristina Pino's blog

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Kristina Pino avatar 4:36 PM on 08.01.2010  (server time)
Diary of a Casual Girl Gamer: Rip-off Edition.

I cannot be the only person that can tell that Zombie Bowl-o-Rama is a total rip-off of Plants vs Zombies. MumboJumbo not only released a game that I find inherently boring (Iíve never seen the fun in any sort of virtual bowling), they managed to convince me within 11 minutes that they want to be as successful as PopCap but lack the creativity to make an effort. I say 11 minutes, because I watched a trailer/intro and then played the demo for 9 minutes before I was too mortified to go on.

Plants vs Zombies is a very addictive game, for a lot of reasons. Thereís nothing really special about it, graphically, and the levels arenít even much of a challenge most of the time. Moreover, you get from beginning to end rather quickly, story-wise. On the flip side, the content is hilarious, and there are so many puzzles and mini-games that youíll get a lot of enjoyment out of the game despite the short adventure mode. That, and the variety of zombie types is good, I always got a kick out of every new zombie I saw when I first started playing that game. Also, the soundtrack was pleasant and I think it added to the humor.

So what did MumboJumbo do? They created a completely different game. Iím not gonna lie, it is a different game. BUT. A lot of the elements within this different game are obviously not original ideas. A heavy metal soundtrack and poorly animated, blocky-looking 3D zombies totally didnít mask the fact that if you didnít knock the zombies down, they advance, and the ultimate goal is to not get your brains eaten by the zombies coming toward you.

I looked at the opening of the game, and saw this hand bursting out of a grave, and thought, what the hell? Isnít that what the PvZ menu looks like? Yup...pretty much. Couldnít they have one-upíd PopCap and have like, a zombie burst out of the ground or something? Or maybe they can just, you know, not use graves in the opening. Or for the in-level menus. Sure, I totally get it. Youíre totally NOT biting off PvZ.

So Iím bowling for zombies, and I look at the default NPC that appears on my screen. Guess who it looks like? You guessed it. Crazy Dave! Oh, boy. In the promo, they used a different-looking picture. Maybe itís random. Maybe it isnít! This is what I saw on my screen when I started playing the demo matches.

Last, but not least, I definitely /facepalmíd when I saw the end of the trailer Ė a zombie disco dancing at the end of the bowling lane. RightÖlike the Michael Jackson with back-up dancing zombies isnít one of the most popular in PvZ.

Needless to say, this demo left a bad taste in my mouth. I really like zombie games, so I downloaded it out of pure curiosity. Itís been out since last year, but I can see why it hasnít been popular enough for me to have noticed it back then. Having a bunch of ugly, blocky zombies groaning ďbraaaainsĒ at me from the end of a bowling lane didnít help win me over, either.

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