If you have an electronic device released in the past few years, there's an extremely good chance that a version of Plants vs. Zombies is available for it. Since its original release back in 2009, the game has become somewhat of a measuring stick by which most tower defence games are judged. Now, PopCap Games has created a version for Vita and despite being basically more of the same, it might actually be the best version of the game so far.
For the two or three people on the planet that aren't familiar with it, Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defence game that puts you in charge of defending your house from a horde of angry zombies. To help keep the zombies at bay, you've got an ever-growing arsenal of plants to help you take the ghouls down one by one. You can use the default touch screen controls, which work extremely well and feel the most intuitive, or make use of the buttons if you're more accustomed to console-style controls.
Adventure mode is the meat of the package and offers up 50 levels of zombie-bashing action. At the start of each level, you'll be able to choose your selection of plants and then put them to good use as wave after wave of zombies march towards your home. As you acquire sunshine, you'll be able to place more plants in strategic locations around the grid. Some plants fire off shots that can take down the zombies and others will help produce more of the sunshine that you'll need to make use of additional plants. As you progress through the game, you'll acquire new and more powerful plants, not to mention a host of unique and rather useful tools. It's this careful blend of attacks and sun production that gives the game its strategic edge.
As if the adventure mode wasn't enough of a treat, there are several other modes at your disposal for times when you need a quick change of pace. Survival mode is basically as it implies and a test to see just how long you can fend off a never-ending barrage of zombies marching your way, while puzzle mode turns the tables and allows you a chance to take on the role of the zombies.
Of course if you're still in need of a few new twists, there are plenty of unique mini games that task you with everything from bowling over zombies with wall-nuts to smashing the undead nuisances as they pop up from the ground, Whack-a-Mole style. And like many other Vita titles, there are also a wealth of Trophies to collect and leader boards to climb for those willing to put in the time and effort. There's even a zombie creation tool that allows you to create your own unique zombie and then see it in action during the game.
Plants vs. Zombies has never been about overly flashy visual effects, rather sticking with extremely vivid colourful scenery and quirky plant and zombie combinations. This Vita version does an amazing job of bringing the vibrant world alive and you won't find a better display of the game's visual offering than the system's contrast-heavy OLED screen. Unlike some other versions of the game, there's not a hint of slowdown to be found, even when the screen is chock full of shooting plants and shuffling zombies.
Anyone that's played any previous renditions should feel right at home with the game's trademark musical score and spooky sound effects. The edgy music tracks do a fantastic job of conveying the lighthearted spooky theme and if you've got a pair of headphones on hand you'll definitely want to make use of them in order to get the full spacious audio presentation in all of its glory.
While there's not much in the way of new content, it's nearly impossible not to recommend this Vita release as it's among the best versions of the game to date. Not only does the game fit the PlayStation Vita like a glove, it's still one of the most engaging tower defence games ever crafted and the perfect game for those times when you want something you can quickly get into and play. The $14.99 price tag might seem a tad steep, but it's well worth it for such a quality rendition of the game.