American developers Ponca Games (not to be confused with the Japanese from Capcom) are giants of casual games. They own such a pillar of the genre as Bejeweled, three-in-a-row pebbles that have long and firmly captured all minibuses and subway cars. From under their machine came the famous Zuma, because of which many of my mother’s delicious meals were burned in kitchens around the world. Ponca has long understood that for a casual game to be fun, it must be bright. Filled with contrasting, rich colors. Sly, unobtrusive music that crawls right into the brain and then pursues you all day long. Juicy, expressive sound effects and most importantly – not too difficult, but dynamic gameplay that gives the player little rewards for almost every action.
Without deviating from these principles, ten years ago they created the game “Plants vs. Zombies”, which is somewhat different from the rest of their works. Zuma, Pebbles and the vast majority of their other projects are games with a strongly predominant casual audience. Plants vs Zombies, on the other hand, is a game that even hardcore fans are not ashamed of love.
Plants vs Zombies is a tower defense, where the player has to defend his home from zombies, which are attacking wave after wave along five straight lines. You will have to defend yourself not with the help of chainsaws and machine guns, but with the help of living intelligent plants, representatives of the garden fauna.
The player is a simple inhabitant of a standard-looking, unassuming outbuilding. Covered with tiles, with two lawns and a swimming pool, as befits the home of a decent American. But here’s the bad luck, suddenly out of nowhere zombies set out to devour his brains. And now they regularly attack his house.
The inhabitants of the garden – vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, nuts and other pumpkins – stand up to protect the owner and the house. They spit peas at the zombies, spores, throwing their fruits or seeds into the dead in every possible way, tanking with their own bodies, covering their comrades-in-arms, and some even sacrifice themselves, exploding in a crowd of enemies. I ask you to take off your hats, get up from your chair and be silent for a moment in honor of the potato mine. Thank you.
The currency for which the player plants new plants on the lawn is solar energy. In small portions, it can be literally collected from the air, but faithful and diligent sunflowers supply a much more stable and abundant amount of energy. They accumulate the sun and then throw it on the screen, where the player needs to collect it with the cursor into the solar bank. And of course, each plant is worth depending on its value and fighting ability.
. These are ordinary corpses, with four limbs and a rotten head on a rotten torso. As befits such rotten ones, they slowly crawl on crooked broken legs towards the house, not even trying to dodge the shells flying at them. Having received enough damage, they first lose their left arm, which makes them even less agile, they begin to bite more slowly, and then their head. Which falls off with a typical cork sound, after which the zombie wanders forward for a few more seconds, serving as a human shield for its advancing comrades from behind. And then it irrevocably falls into the bosom of the land that gave birth to it, probably to serve as fertilizer for the future defenders of our lawn.
Each zombie, except for the most primitive, has some kind of feature, either increasing its mobility, or giving it additional protection, or some completely unique skills. One put a traffic cone on his head and became more armored, while the other found an iron bucket somewhere and turned into a natural canning can. The third one tied himself to a balloon and became invulnerable to all your plants, except for air defense. And the fourth does not even care about the assault going on around – he reads his morning newspaper, and will only go into a rage if you pierce it with your stupid peas!
These features are additionally combined. A zombie footballer, for example, is all covered with football armor, and even worn like a real quarterback. And the zombie miner is not only in a strong helmet with a flashlight – he also digs tunnels to the very rear and eats cattle, strategically important sunflowers. There is no need to list all types of zombies and plants as part of the video – it is much more interesting to discover them on your own as the story campaign progresses.
And the plants in the arsenal of the player are no less than the opponents. As in any good tavern defense, there are simple attackers, amplifying, slowing, acting as barriers or dealing ticking damage to the crowd. Plus even unique ones, created to counter specific rare but dangerous opponents.
From all this diversity, you can make up a lot of different strategies, and even replaying it after ten years, I still find some new ways to pass difficult levels with new methods. The same knights with a bucket on their heads can be showered with powerful fiery peas, or you can simply force them to walk along the thorns that ignore the armor. Or you can ask the pumpkin to swat such a tank with one blow, or let the fierce chili peppers burn it along with the entire line. After all, why not plant a mushroom magnet on the lawn that will take the bucket away from the knight and make him defenseless? At the same time, he will magnetize himself, for example, a miner’s pickaxe, forcing him to get out to the surface or a jumper-stick at a jumping zombie.
The same is with the small malicious pilot on the balloon – there is a special cactus that can pierce the balloon with a needle, and there is a good-natured clover fan that will simply blow off all air targets on the map along with endless fog. At the beginning of the round, the player is shown what types of zombies are to be confronted. And in accordance with the set of enemies – each time we recruit a set of companions-plants strictly limited by the number of slots. In this case,