Plants vs Zombies is, at its heart, a tower defense game. This was a genre that was extraordinarily popular for a period on mobile devices. Most entries in this genre share common traits. They are single screen affairs. You are limited in where you can place defenses. The enemy comes in waves and must be fended off. PopCap’s take on the genre throws out many standards for tower defense games. For the better as this is one of the leading entries that still holds fame with gamers.

Post-apocalyptic fun for the whole family

Think of Plants vs Zombies as Disney taking on the apocalypse aftermath. While the base idea of zombies brings thoughts of blood, there is none here. There are hints at eating a person’s brain but no graphic depicting it. You are clearly in danger and must survive. Children see cute and cuddly drawn zombies lumbering across the yard.

Your defenses are similarly “kidified” in Plants vs Zombies. There are no shot guns, no tanks, no handguns, etc. Instead, you are armed with exploding jalapenos or rolling giant potatoes. Even in death, the zombies here are depicted in a cute manner. Blow them up and you get a Wile E. Coyote style animation, complete with little sign and falling pile of ash.

Plants vs Zombies home defense 101

Defending your home in PopCap’s take on home defense is simple. Collecting sunshine that falls from the sky, or grow from sunflowers, powers your defenses. Each plant you can place requires a certain amount of sunshine energy.

Your lawn is broken up into manageable squares. Each square can contain one plant at a time. Later in the game you will have a shovel to remove a plant to plant something else there.

Zombies are a rigid bunch. They approach your house with strict care to stay in their lane. This is extremely beneficial for your defenses. Pea shooters shoot down one lane at a time. More expensive versions can shoot down three lanes but those are available later.

Success does not equal longevity

Plants vs Zombies was a victim of its own success. How do you follow up such a successful game, that was milked quite a bit? Capcom went through a similar problem with Street Fighter II seeing similar results when a sequel was released. Plants vs Zombies 2 went through quite a bit of updates and changes to the core game. Eventually fans ended up with a free to play title that was quite like the original.

PvsZ is still a mainstay at many physical stores that still sell PC games. Quite an accomplishment for a title this old. While the mobile version is not nearly as popular today as it once was, there are still many that play. The game play is the same across all platforms, just the interactive method changes.

More recent entries in the franchise have changed the formula quite a bit. Be ready for that if you are a hardcore fan of this first entry.

Head over to eBay to grab a deal on Plants vs Zombies or grab something on Amazon. There is tons of merchandise and other options for hardcore fans to enjoy.

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This article was originally published on Retro Gaming Magazine.