Plants vs Zombies (PvZ) is a very entertaining and relaxing game; sadly I took forever to finish this one thanks to shifting priorities. From a design perspective there is a great mix and variety of game play and decisions. Day to night, lawn to pool, roof to bowling. The pacing, music, and overall fun factor of the game is pretty awesome.
On pacing, the non-traditional levels of random “cards” coming down and limit any sort of fatigue factor to both play styles. The mix of normal levels mixed with special levels, mini games, and side quests keeps the function going and reinforcing that there’s an end in sight. A weird thing to think about but it’s a place where the original Mario Bros. really shines: the world changes at an escalating pace reinforcing the build up to the end.
The one nitpick-y “bad” thing that I felt they did was introduce a completely new mechanic at the end: the roof and “launched” items. Why do I consider this bad? I feel like the end of a game should be the culmination of everything before it; it’s why I think Blizzard games have been so successful, they build to the end. Thankfully they didn’t do it to the same extent that inFamous (the first one) did with it’s level design and quests. That’s not to say that new things shouldn’t be introduced, but they should build and culminate. For the most part PvZ also does this, and if anything it’s like the flip side to the night time. I think it could have been “fixed” a bit by putting the roof in chapter three instead of five and just going back and forth.
Musically the great cohesion puts the game on par with even the most “blockbuster” of title; plus that credits song is just so catchy and intoxicating. Being a musician there are times that I may put too much emphasis on music at times, but this time I think it pays off.
Due to my large list of things to slug out I’m not able to enjoy the replay ability of this one as much as I’d like, but there’s a ton of it! The different puzzle, endless, and zen garden modes give a whole lot to do once the main story is done. If anything I may end up playing it more on my iPad as a mental checkout when I’ve played too much Strategery.
All in all, a great game that I really should have finished sooner than I did.