Plants Vs Zombies has been around for some time and has appeared on multiple platforms, but I believe that the DS is a perfect platform for this game and that this is the best version of it available.
Unfortunately, the graphics have not done so well in this conversion and the colour palette appears to be quite restricted here supplying more drab visuals than seen in other versions, which is a shame but is not a deal breaker.
The main quest is obviously available here, along with the ability to play against a friend (via wifi), a new Zen mode, the ability to create your own zombies, survival mode and minigames to expand the lifespan of this product, all of which I found fun to play other than the zen mode, which is just a cutback version of the main game where all you do is cultivate your garden for points.
This game can be enjoyed by a wide range of abilities, although some players may start to get frustrated with the main quest after 2/3 hours of playing since it soon starts to get hard, with many plates to spin, and you will have to re-do a level when you lose, which can be up to 15 minutes of playtime. Fortunately, there is enough else on offer here to distract you long enough from the main quest.
I do not normally write game reviews, but as I was unable to find much myself before buying this, and this category has been empty for some time I've decided to give it a shot.
My sons started playing this game as a free version on the computer. This only allowed them to play one level though, so at last I agreed to download it for them. We were unable to get a download to work, so they pooled their pocket money and bought this between them, but my 7 year old has had the lion's share of the use of it. I've ended up playing it quite a bit myself, and must say this is one of my two favourite DS games. I also quite like scrabble. Even the three year old can get some use of this though, as there are some easy levels and some easy mini games. He also likes his zen garden, in which you grow various plants. There are two save slots, which works well for us as they each have there own game, and I can play on either ones game , as they like me to get more things for their character.
The idea of the main game is quite simple. Your house is being attacked by zombies, but rather than go out and face them yourself, you hide indoors while planting an army of mutant plants to battle the undead. If a zombie gets in, you are apparently incapable of any self defense and are killed at once, but you never actually see the carnage.
You start out with only a few mini games and a limited variety of plants. As you beat various levels, you get more mini games and more plants, but you also face more zombies. Once you have beaten the entire main game, survival mode opens up, and you can go back and play all the levels again, but they are more difficult each time around, at least for the first 3 repeats of the game, which is the highest we have made it to. In addition to unlocking items by beating levels, you can also buy more items in Crazy Dave's shop. My son's both find this character very amusing and are forever trying to put pots on their father's head to make him look like Crazy Dave ( he doesn't really though).
There are too many plants to list all of them, but I'll mention just a few. You must plant Sunflowers or Sun shrooms as you use the sunlight energy from these to grow other plants. Most of the plants are some type of pea shooter or catapult, but there are also fire plants, cat tails which grow over water lillies and bark, as well as producing very accurate fire power, various bomb plants and a few more. Some plants have upgrades as well, such as a Gatling gun upgrade for the double pea shooters for machine gun style action and giant corn cob cannons for the kernal pults.
Zombies come in all shapes and sizes too. There are standard easy to kill ones, a huge giant with a baby in a baby carrier, disco dancing zombies, flying zombies, swimming zombies, ones with porpoises, tunneling ones which can burrow beneath your defenses and attack your plants from behind and more. The most rare of the zombies is a giant yeti, but he will not appear until your second time playing the game. The most difficult is the mad scientist zombie, Dr Zombot.
In addition to the main game, there are several other activities. Zombatar allows you to create your zombie, but he can not play in any other games. The zen garden includes a land, nighttime and aquatic section and my sons do like it, but you don't do anything except raise plants.
My sons quite like playing ti in two player mode, and I often play with the youngest to give him a chance to win, as at three years old, most levels in the main game are just too hard for him. In two player, one person takes plants, and the other zombies.
There are two puzzle games, each with 10 levels. The first is vase breaker in which you break vases to reveal plants or zombies. The second game is I zombie which turns the tables and allows you to play as the zombies attacking the plants.
Amazon states there are 22 mini games, but they must be counting the puzzle games as two, because there are 20 games in the mini game section. These range from easy enough for my 3 year old to difficult enough for me to really struggle to win once in 10 games. Many are variants of the main game, but some are quite different. There are two bowling games, a whack a zombie game like the old whack a mole, beghouled which is like bejeweled, a zombie aquarium and an American baseball style game.
We have had this game for a month and it has had pretty much constant use. My son is absolutely crazy about it, and is getting the X-box version for his "brother's day gift" - a strange custom in our family. I am surprised he wants it when he already has the game on DS, but he does love this game. This is the most hours he has ever put into a single DS game and it is still going strong. I've played this quite a bit myself, and can't imagine ever being completely fed up with it as there are so many different activities. So as far as replay value - this game is really brilliant. We paid £12.99 for it, which I consider very good value considering how much use it has had.
My 7 year old takes this to bed most nights, playing before falling asleep. It has been a real lifesaver when they have had to wait on me with hospital and doctor visits, and for that alone it has been worth the purchase price. It gets used on car trips too. In fact my only complaint would be how long I have to wait to get a turn!
I think the graphics on this game are pretty good. The plants are very cute. It certainly is not PS3 quality graphics, but it is more than adequate for this game. My son's also love the music video of this "There's a Zombie on your lawn". As a parent this is starting to wear on me a bit though, especially as the little one only sings one line over and over ...... and over and over......... But at least they are having fun:)
there is nothing educational in this game - it is just good mindless fun, but sometimes that is just what we need. I recommend this very highly if you are just looking something to pass the time. I think ages 5-6 + would be able to play most of the game, but some children may find the idea of zombies frightening. It all depends on the child, my sons are not the least bit frightened by this. I also would recommend this for adults, it is honestly a lot of fun.