Plants vs. Zombies Preview (PlayStation Vita) -- Tap Into the Undead

The PopCap favorite comes to PS Vita with a great new touch-screen option.

Is there anything that PopCap Games creates that ISN'T addicting?  Seriously.  We must've sat around for hours on end playing the holy hell out of Bejeweled 3 and mastering every bounce we possibly could out of Peggle.  But that's not enough, is it?  No, we have to unleash a full-scale war between plant life and the undead with the incredible strategy game Plants vs. Zombies.  Damn you, PopCap, I had stuff to do today!  But anyway, if you're not drawn in enough with the versions that are out there, they're releasing one that you can take anywhere with you on your PS Vita later this month.

If you've never played Plants vs. Zombies before...well, welcome to Earth.  Here's how it works.  A horde of zombies is straggling across your front lawn.  Rather than doing the sensible thing and grabbing a shotgun to clean house, you decide to leave it to your plants to fight back.  Each round sees a new horde of zombies come stomping up, and as you play, you'll lay down plant life in certain rows of the yard, doing everything from spitting seeds that harm the zombies to sprouting sunflowers that shoot little collectible suns, allowing you to earn even more plants and raise your defenses.

After each round, you'll unlock new plant types, including bombs, boulders (that act as shields) and more.  And you'll have to use them more and more decisively, as the hordes of zombies that attack in each wave pick up significantly.  We're talking zombies in disco clothes, football gear and more.  They won't be so easy to take down with just spitters, so you'll need to adjust your strategy if you want to keep them from reaching the house.

It sounds menacing, and zombie games usually have the kind of carnage that results in a Mature rating.  But to be honest, Plants vs. Zombies is a game that's best suited for all ages of players.  The zombies, while providing plenty to battle against, are cute little creatures, and it's hilarious to see what outfits they come stomping in during the later stages.  The plants are pretty diverse too, with a number of talents that are helpful when it comes to clearing away the zombie horde.  Finding that right balance of what works is just part of the fun -- and the gameplay really is well suited for all ages.

As you can see from the screenshot above, PopCap has really configured Plants vs. Zombies quite well for the PS Vita.  You still get a wide angle of what's happening on the screen, without any genuine details -- or more importantly, space -- sacrificed in the translation.  The sound should be equally likable, between moaning zombies and background music that's quite fitting for a droll fight against lumbering zombies.