Plants vs. ZombiesPlants vs. Zombies is billed as a game with “something for everyone” and it lives up to that promise.

Initially I thought it was going to be a tactical role-playing game similar to Final Fantasy Tactics, but PopCap games has beautifully simplified that formula.

For the bulk of the game you play as plants with the goal of keeping the zombies out of your owner’s house, although there is the option to play as the zombies in a series of puzzles.

Everything is in real time so you’ll need to move fast, but don’t worry about the actual attacks. It’s all automated! Each plant has one and only one attack and they will automatically use it when an enemy is in range.

Simple right? Maybe a little too simple…

But while there are 49 plants to choose from, you can only use 6 types at a time (this can be increased to 9 later on) and you must decide which you want to use before the battle begins. Fortunately, the game shows you which types of zombies you’ll be facing beforehand so you can pick appropriately, and most can be overwhelmed by sheer firepower so won’t have to contend with endless stats like elements, speed, luck, etc. when making your decision.

The real factor in selection is the terrain of which there are 5 kinds:  front/backyard in daytime, front/backyard at night, pool in daytime, pool at night with fog, and the roof.

In order to grow your plants you’ll need sun which falls at regular intervals, but that won’t be enough even in the daytime so you can imagine how much harder it is at night. Fog will make it that much harder as it obscures half the screen and wouldn’t you know it, it’s the zombie half (creepy). And don’t even get me started on the roof. Like most roofs it’s not flat and that will make most of your long range shooters useless.

Not to worry, there are solutions for all of these problems like sunflowers that make extra sun, Planterns that light up your lawn, and cabbage-pult that hurl veggies over any obstacle. Plus the game will warn if you leave out any plants that crucial for your victory.

Once you’ve beaten the main game you can replay it, but this time it’ll be a bit harder as 3 of your plant choices will be randomly selected for you. Or play one of the many mini-games like Wall-Nut Bowling it’s like regular bowling except instead of a bowling ball you use a giant walnut and instead of pins you’re aiming for zombies. If that’s not up your alley, there’s always Whack A Zombie, where you hit zombies with a mallet. Or just relax and feed zombies in the Zombiquarium (no petting please).

Of course non-stop killing can really tweak you so take time to visit the Zen Garden, where you can grow you plants safe from all this mindless carnage – and then sell them to buy new plants for some more mindless carnage!

One plant that can help you a lot is the Tree of Wisdom, each time it grows it’ll give you hints and passwords. Here’s all the passwords as of 160 feet tall (I’m guessing the next one will be at 200 feet since the last one was at 100 feet): “trickedout” is for the lawnmowers, “future” gives zombies cool futuristic 80s sunglasses, “daisies” grows daisies on graves, and “mustache” you guessed it gives zombies mustaches (video right). The passwords don’t change the actual gameplay and can be turned on & off by typing them at anytime.

The password “daisies” CAN ONLY BE USED when you receive it from the Tree of Wisdom (100 ft), the same is true for the next passwords “dance” (500 ft) & “pinata” (1,000 ft).

Plants vs. Zombies is a fantastic time killer so if you’ve got any brains delete that Tetris or Snood of your office computer already and plant yourself down for some real fun. You can buy it for $19.99 or download a free trial @

PSA: If you have the money please don’t pirate, support this great game so that they make more. Maybe even a sequel, Animals vs. Zombies anyone?