Plants vs Zombies HD is the iPad edition of the hugely popular iPhone game from developer PopCap. While substantially pricier ($9.99) than its small-screen sibling ($3.99), Plants vs Zombies HD is one game that firmly warrants the purchase price.
A brilliantly original tower defense game, Plants vs Zombies HD puts you in charge of fending off an army of suburban zombies with a wide variety of plants, from pea-shooters to cabbage-pults.
There are 49 plants in total and each plant type has its own unique offensive or defensive abilities. At the start of each round you choose up to seven plants to mount your defense with, and the selections you make need to be targeted to the weaknesses of the types of zombies you’ll be facing in that level. You begin Plants vs Zombies with a limited number of plants and receive a new plant with the completion of each level.
There are four game modes in Plants vs Zombies HD – Adventure, Quick Play, Survival and Mini-Games. Adventure is the largest of the four modes and has to be completed to access the other modes. Adventure features 50 levels in total and takes quite a few hours to work through.
As the game progresses, the level setting changes from your front-yard to your back-yard and finally to your roof, with both day and night games adding additional challenges. Each of the locations adds different obstacles and forces you to adapt your strategies to suit. For example, the backyard levels feature a swimming pool which necessitates putting plants like water-lily’s in your arsenal that can combat the water-zombies.
Sunshine is the “currency” of Plants vs Zombies and you collect it by tapping on the suns that fall from the top of the screen at regular intervals, as well as by planting sunflowers (or mushrooms for night games). The more sunflowers you plant the more sunshine you can generate. As the game progresses you’ll find that you need increasingly fast fingers to keep up, and you’ll need to fiendishly collect sun while simultaneously building up your defenses. The games always start out rather slow, but the pace quickly ramps up with 1-3 “waves” of zombies that make their attack en masse.
Zombies drop coins which can be spent on new items and upgrades at “Crazy Dave’s Twiddy Dinkies” store. You can purchase extra “slots” for plants, increasing the total number of plant varieties you can use in each level. There are also special plants like the gattling-pea, sunflower upgrades as well as defensive items. Silver coins are worth 10, gold coins 50, and jewels (very rare) yield 1000. Given that most items in the store cost $5000+, it can take quite a while to save up.
Plants vs Zombies is a truly addictive game, with a lot of variety in game play and a huge number of unlockables and achievements to keep you busy long after you finish the standard Adventure mode. Beautiful high resolution artwork and a great soundtrack round out one of the best iPad games I’ve yet come across.
Plants vs. Zombies HD is compatible with iPad and requires iOS 3.2 or later.