Saturday, 10 December 2011



Developer(s) PopCap Games
Publisher(s) PopCap Games
Designer(s) George Fan[1]
Composer(s) Laura Shigihara
Engine PopCap Games Framework
Version[2] (July 20, 2010)
Platform(s) Google Chrome (Chrome Web Store), Microsoft Windows,[3][4] Mac OS X,[3][4] iOS,[5] Xbox Live Arcade,[6] PlayStation Network, Nintendo DS, DSiWare, Bada, Android (Amazon Appstore), Windows Phone 7
Release date(s) PC/Mac
NA May 5, 2009[2]
NA February 15, 2010[7]
Xbox Live Arcade
NA September 8, 2010[6]
Nintendo DS
NA January 18, 2011[2]
PlayStation Network
NA February 8, 2011
PAL February 9, 2011
NA March 14, 2011
PAL May 6, 2011
NA May 31, 2011
Windows Phone 7
NA June 22, 2011
Genre(s) Tower defense
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB: E10+
PEGI: 12
USK: 6
Apple: 9+
Media/distribution Download, CD


Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense action video game developed and originally published by PopCap Games for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. The game involves a homeowner using many varieties of plants to repel an army of zombies from "eating their brains". It was first released on May 5, 2009, and made available on Steam on the same day. A version for iOS was released in February 2010, and an HD version for the iPad. An extended Xbox Live Arcade version introducing new gameplay modes and features was released on September 8, 2010. PopCap released a Nintendo DS version on January 18, 2011 with content unique to the platform. The PlayStation 3 version was released in February 2011. An Android version of the game, exclusive to the Amazon Android App Store, was released on May 31, 2011. Furthermore, both the original Windows and Mac version of the game have been re-released with additional content in a Game of the Year version. The game received a positive response from critics, and was nominated for multiple Interactive Achievement Awards, alongside receiving praise for its musical score.

In Plants vs. Zombies, players place different types of plants and fungi, each with their own unique offensive or defensive capabilities, around a house in order to stop a horde of zombies from devouring the brains of the residents. The playing field is divided into a number of horizontal "lanes", and with rare exceptions, a zombie will only move towards the player's house along one lane (the main exception is if it has taken a bite out of a garlic). Most plants can only attack or defend against zombies in the lane they are planted in. In the game's initial levels, if the zombie reaches the player's house, a one-shot tool (e.g. a lawn mower) can be used to completely wipe out zombies in that lane, but the tool will not be restored until the next level. In later levels, players have to purchase upgrades so as to adapt their lawn mower to new environments like pools or rooftops. Except in special cases, Zombies attempt to devour any plants in their way while heading towards the house.

The player starts with a limited number of seed pack types and seed pack slots that they can use during most levels. New seed packs are gained by completing levels, while the number of slots can be increased through purchases with in-game money. At the start of a level, the player is shown the various types of zombies to expect and given the opportunity to select which seed packs to take into the level. In order to plant a seed, the player must have collected a specific amount of sunlight. Sunlight is generated by sunflowers which provide sunlight at regular intervals, or is automatically generated regularly for the player in very small amounts during daytime. Seed packs also have a short (or, in some cases, long) time delay before the same seed can be planted again. Several plants are nocturnal, like mushrooms, having a lower sunlight cost, and are ideal for nighttime levels, but will remain asleep during daytime levels unless awoken by a coffee bean. In the "backyard" levels that include a swimming pool, seeds must be planted atop lily pads on water spaces (some plants, such as the Tangle Kelp, are aquatic and do not need to be planted on lily pads), while on the roof levels, all seeds must be planted in flower pots; the flower pots cost sunlight as well as the plants, therefore making the game a little more difficult. The various plant abilities include firing projectiles at zombies, turning zombies against each other, quickly exploding and wiping out an area of zombies, or slowing down zombies. Certain plants are highly effective against specific types of zombies, such as the "Magnet-shroom", which can remove metallic items from a zombie, such as helmets, buckets and ladders.
The zombies also come in a number of types that have different attributes, in particular, speed, damage tolerance, and abilities. As the player progresses in the game, the zombies will include those wearing makeshift armour, those that are able to jump or fly over plants, or a dancing zombie that is able to summon other zombies from the ground. In the later stages of the game, a mining zombie will dig itself a tunnel underground, avoiding the various plants, and then will eat the plants from the front to back. In each level, zombies will approach the house randomly. At special points where the player will be inundated with a huge wave of zombies; a meter on screen shows an approximate timeline for the level so the player can prepare for these waves, as well as determine the general stage length.

The primary game mode is a single-player and Adventure mode, pitting the player against wave after wave of zombies. Killing any zombies and finishing the levels may earn the player money that can be used at a store run by the neighbor "Crazy Dave" to buy new seed packets and other bonuses. In some levels of the game, the player will be provided with random seed packets, with no sunlight requirement, at regular intervals, and the player must figure out how best to survive with the random seeds given.
The game also features extra modes that are unlockable as the player progresses through the main adventure mode. These include a survival game with hard or normal mode, a puzzle mode, and a selection of mini-games which include zombie-themed versions of other PopCap games like Bejeweled. The game also features a "Zen garden", where players can care for plants they acquire from fallen zombies during game play. The in-game store also carries items that help with the Zen Garden. In the Android and iOS versions of the game it is about the same, except for small things removed. The Xbox Live Arcade version of the game includes 5 multiplayer modes, both co-operative and competitive, additional mini-games and a virtual house where players can show off their achievements to friends.

Plants vs. Zombies director George Fan intended on balancing the game between a "gritty" game and a "sickeningly cute" game. Strong strategic elements were included to appeal to more experienced gamers, while he kept it simple without requiring players go through too many tutorials to appeal to casual gamers. He was inspired to make it a tower defense game after both thinking of a more defense-oriented version of a previous title of his, Insaniquarium, and playing some Warcraft III tower defense mods. While he was looking at the towers in Warcraft III, he felt that plants would make good towers. He wanted to bring something new to the genre with Plants vs. Zombies, and he found common tower defense game play elements such as mazing and juggling to be too awkward, causing him to use the five and six lane set-ups that were used in the final version.
Fan included elements from the trading card game Magic: The Gathering while teaching his girlfriend Laura Shigihara how to play it, showing her how to customize their decks. That inspired him to include the seed packets as opposed to using a conveyor belt that produced randomly selected plants, due to the complexity of this system. Another influence on Plants vs. Zombies besides Warcraft III and Insaniquarium was Tapper, crediting the use of five lanes to this game. Various members of PopCap Games contributed to the development of Plants vs. Zombies through an internal forum where they gave feedback.
Plants vs. Zombies was originally much like Insaniquarium in that it involved nurturing the plants by watering them and growing grass, but the developers found it to be tedious. It was originally called Weedlings, but this concept was scrapped after the developers realized that there were far too many plant-growing games on the market (the idea had been partly recovered into the aforementioned zen garden feature). One of the critical changes to the game was the lowering of the price of Sunflowers from 100 to 50 suns, as those new to the genre would spend their sun power on pea shooters and inevitably lose. While it required that the game be rebalanced, fans found it worth it. More inspiration for Plants vs. Zombies' mechanics came from the film Swiss Family Robinson. Fan watched the film while he worked on the game, and specifically mentioned a scene where the family defends themselves against pirates. He cited two things that made the scene exciting—the traps they laid, and watching enemies fall into them. This was the inspiration for the Potato Mine; Fan stated that it was satisfying to watch a zombie step on the mine, being defeated and covered in mashed potatoes.





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