Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Plants vs. Zombies

Review: Plants vs. Zombies XBLA

8:00 PM on 09.17.2010 // Conrad Zimmerman
  @ConradZimmerman

Now over a year since the first release of PopCap's take on tower defense, Plants vs. Zombies has arrived on the Xbox 360. Destructoid gave that game a perfect score and I couldn't have said it better myself. If you're unfamiliar with the basics of Plants vs. Zombies, I'll refer you to that review as this one will be focused entirely on what separates the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game from the original.

All of the content from the first release is present in this port. The complete Adventure is here, along with all of the Puzzle and Survival stages and all but one of the original Mini-Games. Just as before, these become unlocked through the course of the Adventure along with the Zen Garden and Shop.

Plants vs. Zombies (XBLA)
Developer: PopCap Games
Publisher: PopCap Games
Released: September 7, 2009
MSRP: 1200 MS Points

The biggest difference between the Xbox Live Arcade port of Plants vs. Zombies and previous releases lies within the core of its gameplay. Point-and-click style mouse cursors long being the bane of console gamers, transitioning to a controller meant changing the way in which players collect sunlight and position plants. Using the playfield's grid design to their advantage the XBLA cursor encompasses entire squares at once, popping from one to the next with movement of the left analog stick or directional-pad.

I'm pleased to say that both control methods work well and serve different purposes. Moving the cursor with the analog stick is smooth with just a bit of grab as it leaves grid spaces. Using the d-pad allows you to pop from one square to the next with a quick -- and surprisingly accurate -- tap of the cross. 

Instead of having to click on every bit of sun which appears in the playfield, PopCap has implemented and elegant solution in which sun is attracted to the cursor from several squares away and collected upon contact. Additional streamlining comes from plant selection, which now finds your cursor ever ready to plant a seed of your choice, selected by the left and right bumpers. Removing plants from the field is achieved by holding the B button over a plant until a meter fills, just to make certain you're taking the action you want.

The result is a much faster but less hectic game. With the analog cursor able to sweep the yard and collect everything which comes remotely close to it, significantly less pressure is put on the player making this the easiest way to get through a zombie home invasion yet.

The new control scheme is not without its flaws. Certain stages in Plants vs. Zombies where your plants come from packets collected on the lawn, such as the Vasebreaker puzzles, just don't work as well here. The cursor automatically selects a seed packet for planting when it passes over one, but there's no convenient way to switch other than to pass over a different seed packet. It's a minor quibble about a small section of the game, but it does serve to demonstrate the difficulty in adapting a proven control scheme to a new platform.

It's for this reason, I suspect, that "It's Raining Seeds" -- a mini-game stage in which seed packets fall from the sky -- is absent from this release. In its place is a game based upon the XBLA-exclusive Heavy Weapon series which turns a lawnmower which fires peas at zombies from the bottom of the lawn with dual-stick shooting controls.

Multiplayer has been implemented for the first time in Plants vs. Zombies, though it's limited to local play only. The entire single-player campaign can now be played cooperatively with a simple drop-in system. The second player has access to everything player one does, able to collect sun and money as well as place plants. Adding a buddy also bestows the ability to use butter on troublesome zombies who might be reaching your defensive line early than you'd like, making things a little bit easier on disorganized partners.

As you might expect, having a second player changes the dynamics of the game considerably. Having to communicate and implement a plan with a teammate offers its own challenges, depending on the person you have to play with but two people working in sync can utterly dominate most of the game's challenges. To that end, a co-op survival mode is also available which really puts the screws to players looking to double-team the undead.

A competitive multiplayer mode is also present, with one player defending their house from the other player's zombies. As per the standard game, the zombies win if they can get one of their own past the lawn defenses and into the house. The defending player wins if they can kill three of the target-holding zombies on the far end of the lawn. 

Games in this mode begin with players taking turns selecting plants and zombies -- including flag-bearing zombies which lead waves of undead into battle -- to be used in the match. Most of the game's zombies and plants are available for use, offering a wide variety of potential combinations to be employed and a ton of strategic options.

Playing as the zombies is not all that different in its base mechanics from using plants. Gravestones replace sunflowers as a resource generator, releasing brains at intervals. Brains can then be spent putting zombies onto the lawn and laying additional gravestones (which also act as a line of defense for your target zombies). 

For all its humor, endless replay value and subtle, accessible strategy, it's no wonder that Plants vs. Zombies remains one of the best games to come out of the casual gaming market. The Xbox Live Arcade version is a capable port which carries across the fun of the title brilliantly. If you've been waiting for the game to arrive on a console before taking the leap, you will not be disappointed. Similarly, if you have already played the game on another platform, there's still plenty to love in this release though you would be justified in skipping it if you have nobody to play with.

Score: 9.5 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)

Photo Gallery: (3 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



THE VERDICT

9.5

Plants vs. Zombies - Reviewed by Conrad Zimmerman
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Conrad Zimmerman, Moustache
 Follow Blog + disclosure ConradZimmerman Tips
An avid player of tabletop and video games throughout his life, Conrad has a passion for unique design mechanics and is a nut for gaming history. He can be heard on the comedy podcast () and str... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Plants vs. Zombies


  Nov 07

The current Bandcamp Weekly is all about game music

Featuring Danny B, Big Giant Circles, Laura Shigihara, and more


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Review (Vita)

Waifu Wars: Loyalty-Tier

The Wii U's fate is not (entirely) Nintendo's fault

Musings on Firewatch (Spoilers)

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
*Someday last week* Oh, so Toby Fox also made music for Homestuck. I guess I should read it *Today* Fuck it is 3:30 AM I have to wake up early tomorrow why I'm still reading this it is already chapter five someone help me please
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Holy shit, App Store. The copyright infringement is real. I didn't buy it, because I'm scared it'll make my iPhone explode and because the comments say the game's a generic zombie title with fake and misleading screenshots.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Pretty much in a nutshell
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Image of Myxococcus colony rising up after being submerged. I love bacteria so damn much you guys.
Nick R P Green avatarNick R P Green
Made a quick REACTion video to some of today's news storys. Hope nobody REACTs to it with a lawsuit.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Playing Halo 5: Guardians, got REALLY invested in this one match. It was intense from beginning to end and I was using A LOT of Power Weapons because it was so fun. We were literally seconds away from victory when the internet cut off. So disappointed. :(
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Streaming Civ V with a few of my friends. Twitch.tv/amnaumen
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
I must be in a weird mood, want to buy SMS games :3
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
How the fuck does Link tie his scarf? I really want to wear mine that way.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
As I recently mentioned I picked up Madworld, I also have acquired Pikmin, Red Steel and DJ Hero2 for Wii. For DS Feel the Magic XY/XX, N+ (shitty port I might add) Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, and Some Suda51 I already misplaced :/
ooktar avatarooktar
Bought Firewatch this morning, played about 2 hours and started to get really invested into the story until I hit a bug that won't allow me to progress. :(
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Fuck it. Fuck Blighttown. Fuck it's poison blow dart campers. Fuck the mosquito freaks. Fuck the fire-breathing bitches. Fuck the lack of visibility. Fuck it's pitfalls. Fuck the fact that I'm going back after 5 minutes of self-loathing.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
You know what the weirdest part about having selective hemophobia is? Getting freaked out by an anime like Elfen Lied but being 100% fine with shit like this.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Nobody told me the boxed version of Revelations 2 lagged to shit. I was lucky to exchange it for Xbox money.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Objectively the best part of Heat.
Samsneeze avatarSamsneeze
XCom 2 is a good game that feels it needs to punish the player for not being omniscient. Still, it does have its moments. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXZvYRfVFuY
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
DTOID: I have obtained the Digimon and a Kapp'n plushie. That is all.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Got full Rathalos set in three tries!
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Some dumb joke made for the Discord chat.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I'm still playing Tearaway Unfolded - 75% of the way to 100%. I'm gonna platnium this sucka and get my first platnium since Sly 2 back in 2012. I wrote a whole cBlog about platnium trophies and stuff a while back. 2 lazy to link it tho
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -