Plants vs. Zombies

aka: Pflanzen gegen Zombies, Pflanzen gegen Zombies: Game-of-the-Year-Edition, Plantes contre Zombies, Plants vs. Zombies HD, Plants vs. Zombies: Game of the Year Edition, PvZ
Moby ID: 40621
Windows Specs
Note: We may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made via eBay or Amazon links (prices updated 7/13 9:33 PM )

Description official descriptions

Plants vs. Zombies belongs to the "tower defense" sub-genre of casual games, where the objective is to deploy a series of stationary weapons to protect a structure against hordes of enemies. Plants provide the artillery and can be bought with sun power, the game's currency. The enemies are zombies invading a suburban lawn. At the start of each level, the player starts to plant the available seeds on the lawn in a strategic manner. Zombies slowly begin to appear from the street at the right side, just a few initially, and must be destroyed before they can reach the house on the other side. Sun power icons fall from the sky randomly and must be collected with the mouse to increase the funds. The sunflower can be planted to generate extra units of sun power but doesn't have any attack power against the invading undead. Besides their cost, the seed packs take some time to recharge after being used.

There are several types of offensive plants available. Peashooters are the basic variety, spitting a projectile forwards every few seconds. Variations appear later in the game, shooting several peas at the same time and freezing the enemies, making them move slower. The carnivorous plant gobbles up a zombie when he gets near its gaping mouth, but takes some time to do so, becoming ineffective while busy digesting the corpse. The cherry bomb explodes after being deployed, carbonizing any of the undead surrounding its landing spot. The potato mine is half-buried with a sensor sticking from the top and detonates when one of the walking dead steps on it. Plants can be removed with the shovel to make space for new ones.

Mini-games appear from time to time. There are twenty of them, and most are parodies of well-known casual titles: ZomBotany (1 and 2), Wall-nut Bowling (1 and 2), Slot Machine, It's Raining Seeds, Beghouled, Invisi-ghoul, Seeing Stars, Zombiquarium, Beghouled Twist, Big Trouble Little Zombie, Portal Combat, Column Like You See 'Em, Bobsled Bonanza, Zombie Nimble Zombie Quick, Whack a Zombie, Last Stand, Pogo Party, and Dr. Zomboss's Revenge. After being played once, they become available directly from the main menu.

The game has three gameplay modes. In the main adventure mode, levels get progressively more difficult, and at the end of each one, the player receives a new plant for the arsenal. Puzzle mode has two variations: "Vasebreaker", where the goal is to break the vases scattered on the lawn, to uncover plants or zombies and use the former to fight the latter, and "I, Zombie", where the player controls the zombies against the plants. In survival mode, the zombies attack in turns. After each turn, the player can choose plants from the arsenal. There are three types of survival: normal (one wave per turn, 5 turns) on each of the five maps, hard (two waves per turn, 5 turns) on each of the five maps, and endless (two waves per turn, endless amount of turns) on the pool map.

The Zen Garden stores all the available plants, where they have to be tended, watered, fertilized, sprayed for bugs, and listen to music. When they are happy, they drop coins that can be used to buy more plants and other garden additions.

Spellings

  • プラント vs. ゾンビ - Japanese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Videos

See any errors or missing info for this game?

You can submit a correction, contribute trivia, add to a game group, add a related site or alternate title.

Credits (Windows version)

135 People (125 developers, 10 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 87% (based on 96 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 186 ratings with 3 reviews)

Hilarious and very addictive strategy game

The Good

Plants vs Zombies is the best game I've played for a long time. It's basically about placing traps of various types (plants) in your garden to stop the enemy (zombies) from walking across it and reaching the left edge of the screen (where they would eat the player's brains).

The player starts with a small choice of plants, but more and more are gradually unlocked as they progress through the game. Each new plant opens up possible new strategies to defeat the zombies, as most (or maybe all) of the plants are really useful and have a unique function. Similarly, new types of zombies appear in later stages of the game, having stronger armor, being faster, being able to jump or climb over an obstacle, or fly over the garden. Each of these must be countered with the right combinations of plants. It's a lot of fun to figure out which plants are the most effective against a particular group of zombies while being affordable enough to be deployed in time to stop them. Not only do new plants and enemies appear throughout the campaign mode, but the playing field changes as well. There is a simple front lawn in the early stage, which is followed by night levels (where mushrooms can be used in addition to the normal plants), swimming pool levels (with additional aquatic plants), and levels on the roof of the house later in the game. Each type of level requires different strategies as well. Overall there is a huge amount of variety in the game, and discovering all the choices is a lot of fun by itself. In addition the learning curve is also beautifully balanced and new elements are introduced one by one, so Plants vs. Zombies should be perfectly accessible for real casual players.

Not only is the game-play excellent, but it's beautifully presented as well. In fact my favorite part of Plants and Zombies was the humor which appears in many different forms. The game is loaded with puns (in the names of the plants, the zombies and the mini-games), the drawings and the animations are very funny as well, and the descriptions of the individual plants and zombies in the lexicon are just hilarious. Not to mention the music video played when you finish the campaign.

In addition to the campaign mode the game also contains numerous mini-games, the best of which were the great I, Zombie (where you take the zombies' side and have to invade the garden) and the Vase Breaker, especially the 'endless' versions. Several of the mini-games are parodies of other more or less famous PopCap games, like Bejeweled or Insaniquarium.



The Bad

I think the difficulty could have been a bit more challenging. I think I played through the campaign mode for the first time without losing any of the levels, except for an early level in the final (roof) stage which wasn't that difficult but I simply didn't have a good strategy for the roof yet, and the final fight (against the appropriately named Dr. Zomboss). The game was perfectly enjoyable this way, but having more challenging levels (without having to play through the campaign several times, which gradually increases the difficulty) would have been great.

I thought that several of the mini-games weren't that interesting. They were OK to play through once, but I didn't really feel like replaying them, except for the 'endless' games.

Although this isn't really something that I didn't like about the game strictly speaking, I would have loved a competitive multiplayer mode (plants against zombies), especially since the I, Zombie levels were so much fun.

Finally, Plants vs. Zombies was so addictive that I had to delete it since I couldn't stop playing even after having played through the campaign twice and having unlocked everything there was in the game (including having grown the Tree of Wisdom so tall that it didn't have anything more to say).



The Bottom Line

Plants vs. Zombies is always being described as a tower defense game. This doesn't do this game justice in my opinion, nor does it accurately describe the game-play of Plants vs. Zombies. I understand that the developers were inspired by tower defense games, and that there are indeed similarities, but Plants vs. Zombies is a completely different experience and a great deal more entertaining than any of the real tower defense games. It's much more complex, strategy plays a far greater role here than fast reflexes (which are absolutely required for the various flavors of Tower Defense), and frankly it's a completely different game.

So whether or not you like Tower Defense, or casual games in general for that matter, try Plants vs. Zombies. It's a simple but full-fledged strategy game, great fun, and the best game that PopCap has ever released.

Windows · by Ferragus (46) · 2010

Supreme in its mediocrity

The Good
Plant vs Zombies (PvZ) indeed stands out among other tower-defense games. The concept behind it is a very nice stab at the zombie pandemic that sweeps across the entire modern industry. Better than that, PvZ injects humor into every facet of the game: Funny descriptions, amusing letters left by the zombies, crazy ramblings of your neighbor and the very design and sounds of both defenders and attackers all merge well to produce a lighthearted experience. While there are many tower-defense games, none have as much humor.

However, humor is not the only thing that keeps this game apart from the rest. PvZ is perhaps the only tower-defense produced by a major company. In a field littered with badly made sprites, PvZ stands tall with proper graphics and animations. Every detail is lovably portrayed - from a newsletter-reading zombie's rage when he loses his paper to the single heroic tear that hangs at the corners of a walnut's eye as it being chewed up by zombies.

Better still are the numerous addition mini-games that are opened up during your adventure, the best of which is arguably the one (I, Zombie) where you use limited resources to deploy your own zombies against a field of deadly plants. This is one of the few true strategic parts of the game as it has no random factor and relies on your ability to correctly understand the weaknesses and strengths of both zombies and plants. Many varieties of mini-games (such as one where all zombies have plant heads with the same abilities that your plants have) add much flavor to the tower-defense concept, making this a lovely casual game...

The Bad
... but a horrible tower-defense! Anyone who has ever played any true tower-defense would be insulted by the kindergarten-level difficulty and almost a complete lack of anything close to a strategy. There are only three possible levels in the adventure game mode with five or six straight lanes, each with only a handful of squares for positioning your photosynthetic defenders. This results in every level being exactly the same as the previous one, with the exception of new zombies that appear every several levels. Presumably, new zombies are supposed to make you reexamine your strategy, forcing a test of intellect against the game developers and their undead horde. In reality this means changing one plant from your defender list. If you're really advanced you might even change two, but even that isn't necessary because all too often new powerful zombies will be very few and far between, making them an easy pray for your cherry-bomb, or another similarly destructive plant. The difficulty increases after finishing the adventure mode, but it is still so low that the only way to lose a level is to fall asleep from boredom.

Speaking of which, did you know that almost all tower-defenses have speed settings? Neither did PvZ developers! Their idea of fun is a game in which every level starts with a couple of minutes of slow gathering of sunshine (your currency for planting most plants) and watching with glazed eyes as the first slow moving zombies are slowly shot down by your slow initial defenders. If the above sentence isn't clear enough, let me say that this all happens very slowly. Excruciatingly, even. I understand that I can't expect feats of swiftness from a game centered around corpses and phototrophs, but the end result is just ridiculous.

Even the strengths of this game fade to nothingness after enough time. The novelty of the concept is quickly depleted and after several dozen levels you'll see nothing remotely amusing or clever in a pole vaulting zombie. Graphics too become nothing more than bearable. Mini-games are the best part of PvZ but even they get old eventually (I nearly wrote fast, but nothing happens fast in PvZ - those mini-games have to be unlocked by grinding the boring levels of adventure mode).

I think the best example of this game failures is its Zen Garden mini-game(?). Basically, it's a virtual pet (or plant) game that does nothing but require you to occasionally tend to the plants and watch them grow (OK, so the process of acquiring new plants for the garden isn't that simple, but at the end it's all the same). It isn't mandatory. It isn't intrusive. And it isn't fun. What it is, is just a massive time drain that would feel at home among semi-free Facebook games, but not among games you actually purchase to play. In a sense this describes all of PvZ. Look at outstanding tower-defenses such as Defender's Quest, Kingdom Rush and Protector. Now back at PvZ. See the difference? See the intense gameplay? The ever-changing maps? The need to constantly readjust your strategy and adapt to new challenges? Those are tower-defenses - a strategical endeavor that requires good planning, calculation and sometimes reflexes. PvZ has nothing of the sort - it does have prettier graphics and good marketing, if that's what you're into.

The Bottom Line
Casual gamers: You'll find this game very friendly and a good first step into the tower-defense genre.

Tower defenders: These are not the zombies you were looking for.

Windows · by Alex Z (1856) · 2012

Gardening has never been so much fun.

The Good
Plants Vs Zombies is an obvious low budget game which normally would get categorized as a “Casual Game”. What would make that evident is that it's developed by Popcap . Yes the same guys that took a simple idea and made an addictive drug disguised as a game known as Zuma. Usually these games are type casted for those corporates who are too cool to be playing video games or housewives/girlfriend/sister, but Plants Vs Zombies will manage to find its place in everyone's heart or garden to be more precise.

The gameplay is simple; it's your tower defense game where you collect sunlight and place plants which should prevent the invading Zombies from entering your house and eating your brains.

Yes they've managed to take a simple cheesy plot and actually make it work. You have a Crazy neighbor who manages to make you smile if not laugh from time to time. But the real chuckles are in the “Almanac”. Read the description for the zombies in it and laugh your arse off.

Zombies and plants are amazing, you probably encounter a new one every level. You've got Pea shooters, Cherry Bombs, Walnuts to act as walls, Pumpkins as shields and that's just less than ¼ of the seeds you will have as an arsenal.

As for Zombies, they come in variety and all are interesting. Most of them...wait ALL OF THEM are well thought out. There's one which resembles Micheal Jackson, summons 4 backup dancer zombies. Hilarious at the same time they have a vital strategy.

The Adventure mode, which is the main one you'll be playing, consists of an adventure around your house from the front to the backyard to the roof. They forgot the basement where most gamers dwell. There are some entertaining minigames in between some levels too.

There are also Night stages where you can use Mushrooms which sleep during the day. They can be used in the morning if you have the coffee plant. There is also the pool in your backyard which adds a whole new challenge. And you need to place pots in the roof level to place a plant.

That's not the end of strategy. Each level will introduce a new zombie and will mix things up with which zombies are going to appear. You are in fact shown which zombie is going to show up when choosing which plants to pick for the round. You are limited to 7 slots at first but you can upgrade at Crazy Dave's shop.

At Crazy Dave's shop you can upgrade plants and other cool stuff which will help and ease out certain levels. Especially in the other game modes.

Speaking of game modes. Mini-Game, Survival and Puzzle are the other 3 modes. All of them have a lot of hours and fun packed inside. Mini-Games consist of some well thought of ideas to some silly but entertaining ones. For e.g. the bejeweled one. In Puzzle you can play as the zombies in the game mode known as I, Zombie. Survival is pretty much endurance.

There is of course the Zen garden where you grow plants. No real gameplay just an extra which you can earn more coins.

Visually the game is really charming. The Zombies are cute and scary. In fact the only way they could get scarier is if there was an Amy Whinehouse zombie included (the Art team wouldn't have to do much details for that too). Every thing is well animated too.

Lastly sound and music are perfect. I love the music in the front-yard stages and at each wave it builds up.

The Bad
The only gripe I would probably have with this under 100 MB game is that the I, Zombie levels could have had some more challenge.

The Bottom Line
Well Plants Vs Zombies is a low priced, low budget “casual” game which manages to be more fun, addictive, charming, visually pleasing & re-playable than most modern AAA titles. And that fact alone is quite hilarious.

Windows · by dreamstealer (126) · 2010

Discussion

Subject By Date
Origin is giving this for free chirinea (47516) May 9, 2014
Tree of Wisdom Xoleras (66136) Jun 9, 2009
Screenshots resolution too high Geamandura (2326) Jun 8, 2009

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Plants vs. Zombies appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Advertisement

One of the online banner advertisements of the game launched in July 2009 is a spoof of the way the browser game Evony was advertised. An overview of the development regarding the original Evony advertising can be found here, while the PopCap spoof can be viewed here.

Bonus games

The retail PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, besides including the game itself, also include two other PopCap titles as a bonus. The PS3 release includes Peggle and Heavy Weapon, while the Xbox 360 version keeps Peggle and replaces Heavy Weapon with Zuma.

Dancing Zombie

The so-called Dancing Zombie, a homage to singer Michael Jackson, had to be removed after Jackson's death. He was replaced with a seventies disco zombie.

Development

Plants vs. Zombies began life as a sequel to the company's previously released Insaniquarium; an action game in which players defend an aquarium of fish against invading aliens. According to the game's creator, George Fan, "We knew we wanted to significantly change up the gameplay for the sequel. [...] During that time I was also playing a lot of tower defense games in Warcraft III, and realized that they had this innate appeal that made me think of fond childhood memories like building forts out of sofa cushions and watching Swiss Family Robinson. I really wanted to capture that appeal, and once I realized that plants and zombies made a much better theme for this game than fish and aliens, I shifted from creating a sequel into creating a whole new game."

Awards

  • 1UP
    • 2009 - Best Strategy Game (Editors' Choice)
    • 2009 - Best Strategy Game (Readers' Choice)
  • 4Players
    • 2009 – #3 Best Strategy Game of the Year
    • 2009 – #3 Most Humorous Game of the Year
    • 2010 – Best Xbox Live Arcade Game of the Year
  • AceGamez
    • 2009 - Best Strategy Game
  • GameShark
    • 2009 - Best Casual Game
  • Gamespy
    • 2009 - PC Game of the Year
    • 2009 - Best Use of a Cliched Concept
    • 2011 – #13 Top PC Game of the 2000s
  • Machinima
    • 2009 - Best Downloadable Game
  • Yahoo
    • 2009 - Best Casual Game

Information also contributed by Agent 5, Big John WV and M4R14N0.

Analytics

MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Plants vs. Zombies (Limited Edition)
Released 2010 on Windows, Macintosh
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville (Deluxe Edition)
Released 2019 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time
Released 2013 on iPhone, iPad, Android
Pinball FX2: Plants vs. Zombies
Released 2012 on Xbox 360, Windows, 2014 on Macintosh...
Plants vs. Zombies: GW2
Released 2016 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Peggle 2: Doom & Bloom Costume Pack
Released 2014 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
Released 2019 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Call of Duty: World at War - Zombies
Released 2009 on iPhone, 2010 on iPad

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 40621
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]

Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Macs Black.

iPhone added by Mister-k81. Nintendo DSi added by CrankyStorming. J2ME, BREW added by firefang9212. iPad, BlackBerry, Tizen added by Sciere. Xbox 360, PS Vita, Nintendo DS, bada, Android, PlayStation 3, Windows Phone added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Kabushi, Freeman, Yearman, Patrick Bregger, Plok, Alsy, Juan Miguel Gamotia, FatherJack, Kennyannydenny, Lucas Oliveira.

Game added May 9, 2009. Last modified July 5, 2024.