Plants vs. Zombies (DSiWare)

Game Review

Plants vs. Zombies Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Plants vs. Zombies Lite!

PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies has been released on quite a number of platforms already, so it certainly wasn't a surprise to see the game make an appearance recently on Nintendo's DS system. But what does seem a bit surprising is that only two months later the company has now chosen to release a slightly stripped down version of the game for DSiWare service after many fans already went out and purchased the DS retail release. So does this lite version of the DS release have enough punch to make it worth your Nintendo Points, or would gamers be better off ponying up the extra money for the retail release?

In Plants vs. Zombies, you take control of a huge variety of plant life in your effort to stop the impending barrage of zombies from getting into your house. Each plant has its own unique firepower or function and it's up to you to figure out which plants work better for the myriad of situations you'll find yourself stuck in. Some plants pack some serious firepower, but they tend to require a lot of sunshine, something that doesn't come easy throughout the game. In fact, planting the more docile sunflowers plays a key role in the game, as many situations will place you in a position where sunshine will be in very short supply, sometimes unavailable at all during nighttime levels.

Adventure Mode is the meat of the game and allows you to play through the game's increasingly more difficult levels. As you complete a level, you'll be given access to a new plant, generally one that will be extremely useful for the upcoming levels. You'll also be able to choose which sets of plants you take into battle with you, another strategic part of the game that will require some thought and careful planning. As you play your way through the Adventure Mode, you'll unlock not only new plants and tools, but also a host of fun mini-games.

The DSiWare version of Plants vs. Zombies loses the VS., Puzzle, and Survival modes of play, but all four of the retail DS mini-games are intact. There's even a brand new and exclusive mini-game called Zombie Trap for you to play. The mini-games are generally fairly simple in their design and feel more like a fun diversion than any type of additional gameplay mode. Home Run Derby puts you up against the zombies where you'll try to hit home runs using your stylus. Each home run awards you valuable sunshine that can be used to pick up the very plants you'll need in order to stop the zombies that are headed towards your house. There's also a rather fun Air Raid mini-game that turns the game into a horizontal shoot 'em up in which you'll match firepower with the zombies and their oversized spacecraft. While mini-games sometimes end up being rather forgettable add-ons to a game, the mini-games in Plants vs. Zombies are all quite playable and entertaining.

The touchscreen controls the game makes use of work very well in handling the intense action you'll be facing. Much of your work will be done by merely touching the plant you wish to make use of and dragging it to the spot on your lawn where you wish to plant it. It might have been nice to be able to just touch the plant you wanted to use and then tap the area you wish to position it in, but the dragging scheme works well enough once you get a handle on it. The simplicity of the game's controls make playing the game a lot of fun since you won't have to spend your time trying to learn an overly complicated control system, something you'll soon appreciate when the action heats up in later levels.

From a visual standpoint, nothing has really changed from the DS release. The game features all of the vibrantly detailed 2D visuals found in the retail release, including all of the assorted plant and zombie animations. There's plenty of striking scenery to behold, not to mention a nice level of variety between the different areas you'll battle in. Given how much sprite movement is generally taking place onscreen at the same time, there will be the occasional bout of slowdown, but all in all it's quite minor and certainly doesn't detract from the otherwise solid graphical presentation.

Much like the visuals, the audio package remains unchanged from the retail release as well. All of the eerie musical tracks return and they do a perfect job of carrying the slightly foreboding theme the game makes use of. Even the creepy sound effects and zombie dialog are intact and do nice job of complimenting the musical score. You'll definitely want to crank up the volume on this one in order to fully enjoy the game's impressive audio/visual experience.


Plants vs. Zombies is a fantastic tower defence-style game with some unique and engaging gameplay ideas and enough length to keep players coming back for more. The omission of the Vs. and Survival modes is a bit disappointing, but the sheer number of levels in adventure mode coupled with the enjoyable mini-games should make the losses a bit easier to swallow. If you already own another version of the game, you likely already have an equal or superior version, but if you've been considering trying out the game, this affordable download might be the perfect opportunity to do so.

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User Comments (43)



JayArr said:

It's really nice to see such a high quality game on DSiWare. I have always wanted to play this but not enough to mess with a cart or pay $20. So this version is perfect.

Very nice review. =]



sykotek said:

Most of the huge slowdown issues in the retail version sprang up in the survival modes, so anyone that hasn't purchased that should thoroughly enjoy the DSiWare version.

...man...would it be crazy to spend $8 just to play this new Zombie Trap minigame...if only I had a youtube video or something...



pikku said:

Did I hear hat they were planning on making a 3DS version somewhere down the line, or did I just make that up? And if that is a 3DSware (as opposed to retail), then I'll get it, but if not, I'll gladly get this instead.



Birdman said:

Well, with puzzle mode completely gone and way fewer minigames than the retail (even if around half of them were crap), I'm gonna stay with my retail version.



Hyperstar96 said:

@Super Nintenzo
Wrong. The iPhone version is $2.99 and it only has the main adventure mode. Nothing else.

Also, does the DSiWare version have Zen Garden?



Spoony_Tech said:

Not another tower defense game! Oh wait I like tower defense games and a good one at that. Insta buy for me. Of coarse when I get more points since I've been point crazy lately. Got 4000 points in the last couple of weeks.



Natie31 said:

Never played this game before, but i was happy and glad to download this game great review!



Crunc said:

I have this on my iPhone and it is a good game, but for some reason it has never really clicked for me. I don't know why, but I can't stick with it. I end up finally losing a level or two and I just never feel like going back and trying it again, so I just leave it at that. My kids love it, though. They even bought it for XBLA, and that version is great. They'd probably like this version too.



Morpheel said:

Great review corbs!

I don't think anyone who purchased the retail game is being asked to get this one... Why would anyone get it twice on the same system?
The exclusive minigame is just a nice extra for us downloaders :3



Objection said:

@Hyperstar-okay so its $3 instead of $8 and it looks a lot crisper and runs smoother. It has all the content this version has, except 4 minigames instead of 5.



rjejr said:

Spent $15 on the retail to get the Vs. mode - 2 kids, back seat, long drive - and since they can pass the cartridge back and forth for solo play I'm happy.

What I would LOVE to see is 4 player Vs. mode on the Wii.



Token_Girl said:

Feel sort of bad for those who dropped the cash on the retail version and missed out on an exclusive minigame for the DSiWare version. That's sort of a jerk move by PopCap.

Can't decide if I want to get the minigames included for $8.00 or if I want to get only the adventure mode on the app store for $3.00. I may just wait and see if some of the minigames are added to the app store version in updates before I take the plunge.



ueI said:

Hyperstar and I are still wondering if this game has zen garden.



Jreniker said:

Nice review couldnt have done it better, i hadent checked the shop in awhile and noticed the zombie hand saying new and i already have it on my 360 and pc but i thought what the heck and got it. I loved playing it a little different from the other versions but wonderful for a portable devise, have any other game reviews im willing to buy any as long as you review them.



Morpheel said:

Well, the shop says it includes 5 modes.
I have seen only two. (adventure and minigames)



Corbs said:

I too couldn't find any other modes. And they've even removed the graphics from the menu page that houses the Vs., Puzzle, and Survival modes.



Morpheel said:

someone on the forum said nintendo told them that the "5 Modes" bit was a mistake and that the game only includes adventure and the minigames.



OmegaMetroid123 said:

What I don't get is what people say stuff about 800 point games. they say like, "for $8 you can get this game, so it's a good deal." You can't just say for $8 you can buy it, more like ten dollars cause' you can't have 100 points and just go and buy another 100, just so that you can buy a 200 point game. you have to spend $10 every time. (or more) I just don't get it.



Corbs said:

Because not everyone buys points for each purchase they make. And over time those left-over points build up and can be used. The fact is, the game is $8 for US DSi owners and saying it cost $10 would be incorrect. Simple as that.



Turbo said:

id get it but its only 2.99 in app store for iphone and ipod touch. i dont know why they charge more than the app store when they sell the same games its just not fair and would like these games on my dsi without getting ripped off :/



Samholy said:

oh man. OH MAN
that game hooked me countless hours on the pc.
i do hope it comes out on the 3DS. instant buy for sure



Supremeist said:

I just purchased this on the 3DS. I have played all versions of this game and have overly-played it, but I'm still hooked on it. Was a pretty good deal, and I really like the game myself. Worth the 8 dollars. It could have a little bit more content packed into it, but I guess it only makes sense because it is 20$ at retail. But the retail version, I don't think it's really worth it for 20.



Alpha2797 said:

I'm buying a $20 3ds pre paid card. first, i'm getting Donkey Kong '94, which is $4. 20-4=16. I don't have enough for both, shantae and plants vs zombies. Which one should I get? Shantae or Zombies?



Alpha2797 said:

Thanks, I decided to buy Shantae. It's a really good game but $12 for Shantae is too much, $10 should've been the price.



k17alaaro said:

Thanks for the review I decided to buy it and it turned out pretty good. Although it was very disappointing that they took out the zen garden and survival. It got really boring after a while just playing the adventure.



Jfilesguy said:

Nintendo life, why does the score say 8/10, it should say 9/10, and the PC version should get a 10/10

PVZ is one of my top games of all time, I still need to get the iOS version, bad Jfilesguy, bad!

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