Title: Plants vs Zombies 3
Developer: PopCap Games
Genre: Tower Defense Strategy
Available on: iOS and Android
Version Tested: iOS
Release Date: TBA
The third installment of Plants vs Zombies 3 is currently on soft launch and the zombies are coming. Defend your lawn, your brains, and the rest of the town as Dr. Zomboss is back with his new Devour Tower. In this installment of the popular franchise, the developers will introduce a brand new way of playing. This will include upgradeable lawns and plants, different “lawns” to play in, and new features. Are you ready? Spoilers ahead but if you’re raring to go, grab your shovel Lawn Defender, here we go.
Before you start keeping Neighborville safe from Dr. Zomboss, the game will ask for your age. I think it’s a subtle and cute addition that the little sunflower ages as you scroll your age. After that minor thing, you’ll get to see your house and lawn, zombie-free. Sunflower is there to give you a pleasant welcome. But then the Devour Tower will come in and will try to invade the peacefulness. This is where you’ll notice that different places in Neighborville were devoured. And yes, these locations are unlockable as you progress through the story which means, a brand new lawn to play in.
Speaking of locations, I’ve unlocked three so far with my level nine account, each of these giving new lawns to play in. Aside from your usual house, I’ve unlocked Taco Park and Green Screens Theater. These three are upgradeable so you can get more rewards. Your house can give free seeds over time, which helps a lot when it comes to various levels. Taco Park can give you additional Tacos in each Taco Time. Finally, Green Screens Theater will let you “spin the reel” (watch a couple of ads) to get cool rewards. Both of those are insignificant, but help a lot in the long run for resources and rewards. That and, well, spinning a wheel is fun.
With the new unlockable lawns or rather locations added in the game, it sure is nice to see a different landscape aside from your usual Home lawn. Might I add that there instances that you will need to battle inside the Devour Tower for that creepy and dark theme. Upgrading your plants is a plus, as I can still remember how you can upgrade them by buying them in Crazy Dave’s Twiddydinkies. The main issue comes in aesthetics, as upgrades aren’t shown on the plants. Probably because Crazy Dave’s shop is not yet unlocked but I do miss seeing the Gatling Pea.
In Plants vs Zombies 3, you no longer need to collect sun. Instead, you get it passively from the Sunflower. This is a new feature in the game. And no, you don’t need to plant your Sunflower in your lawn. It will automatically be there collecting sun for you. With that feature, as I play through this soft launch, it is giving out three suns every 10 seconds. Since your sun is already taken care of, all you need to think about is your plant placement. It may dumb down the experience a bit, but it’s nice having to worry more about strategy than collecting sun.
And by now, I noticed that the game is not on its typical landscape but instead on portrait mode. According to PopCap, they want this game to be mobile-friendly and for the player to be able to multitask on other apps. This becomes an issue for those with stubby fingers, myself included. Sometimes I mess up the placement, which can mean the difference between winning and losing. That, combined with the usual plant cooldown, can make for a painful experience at times.
With the third installment, the game now has an Arena. The developers are finally including PvP in Plants Vs. Zombies with the Arena, which is refreshing. How does it work, you may ask? Well, as a noob in the game with zero trophies, I was faced against other newbies. It is not like any other PvP that I’ve played. It’s much more focused on who gets the highest score, which is an interesting new take (more on that later). The player with the higher score wins the PvP game. Each tier like what you see on the image, Ultimate Birthday, Celestial Enchilada, has its ranking inside. Get into the top 25 to get rewarded. It’s a simple system, but I’m glad they implemented it well. I could see myself taking part in it for the future.
Since the player with the most score wins, how do you get a high score in every battle? There are many factors like “Symmetry” when you place a line of plants, salad bowl, etc, these add to your scores. Also, zombies that are defeated quickly can give you more scores. So getting the right plant down against a certain zombie will greatly add to your chances of winning. This helps put a bigger focus on strategy, which is easily what PvZ is best known for in the singleplayer modes. It’s the best choice they could’ve made, and works wonderfully here.
The final new addition is clubs, a guild-like system that lets you meet new players. Those who join a club can also donate seeds, and unlock a plant exclusive to clubs. Clubs have a maximum of 30 players. Are we going to see a Club vs Club game in the future? I’m not sure, but as of now, I’m happy with how the Club system functions. It’s a good way to bring the whole Plants Vs Zombies 3 community together, with some added benefits.
Verdict: Plants Vs. Zombies 3 will easily have me playing following this review. The game is free-to-play with in-app purchases that will let you get more resources easily but it’s not necessary. Ads are not in your face, it depends on you if you want to watch them to get rewarded. The biggest issue for me is in the landscape mode, as my stubby fingers get the best of me. I also miss seeing plants get more buff as I upgrade them. It adds to the charm, which makes it even sadder to see it go
In its third installment, Plants vs Zombies is trying to change the game. From its usual landscape to portrait mode, an Arena, and a club, everything feels refreshing. Despite all the new features, the classic and exciting tower defense strategy is still there. Meeting new plants and zombies is always fun. Seeing Crazy Dave is a plus as well. I will stick around and continue to play the game and unlock more locations as soon as I can.