Plants vs. Zombies is back — this time, with cards!
Following the success of EA's Plants vs. Zombies 2, the war between plants and zombies returns to mobile with Plants vs. Zombies Heroes. The new game combines PvZ's traditional lane-based gameplay with a collectible card structure. The result is a fast, fun (and free) game that PvZ fans will love.
The battle for the yard is in the cards
The story behind PvZ Heroes is the same as in previous Plants vs. Zombies games. Doctor Zomboss and his army of Zombies want to take over Suburbia, and only a team of heroic Plants led by the aptly named Crazy Dave can stop them.
Whereas the first two PvZ games took place on a horizontally-oriented yard, PvZ Heroes switches things up to a phone-friendly vertical yard. The playing field consists of five lanes. Zombies can play cards at the top of each lane, whereas Plants get the bottom of the lanes. Each card costs energy to play – sun for the Plants and Brains for the Zombies.
Players start out as Plants, although you'll get to play as Zombies, too. After you've played all of the Plants you can afford, press the action button to start your turn. The attacking team's units will fire, followed by the defender's. Each unit has power and health ratings that determine how much damage it can dish out and survive.
If the defending side has no unit to defend a lane from which an attack comes in, that player takes a hit and loses health. Thus defending lanes against oncoming threats becomes important, just like in traditional PvZ games. The fight goes on until one side or the other runs out of life.
Picking powerful plants
Both sides also get a hero character who can attack a limited number of times per match. The hero character has a Super Block meter that fills as the fight goes on. When it fills up enough, the hero will block all incoming attacks for one turn. Useful for their power, heroes are also fun to watch thanks to their detailed animations.
Bios for a few of each side's Heroes:
Wall-Knight – A Wall-Nut with superstar armor, making him a hard nut to crack.
- Signature Super Power: Uncrackable – Wall-Knight is shielded for a turn, and gains an additional teammate.
Grass Knuckles – With mighty maces for hands, this former Bonk Choy punches like a piledriver of ultimate punching punchosity.
- Signature Super Power: Power Pummel – attack for 2 damage in each ground lane.
The Smash – The undisputed zombie wrestling champion of the universe with an insatiable desire to smash plants.
- Signature Super Power: Slammin' Smackdown – Smash and destroy a plant with 4 attack or less.
Brainfreeze – A Yeti zombie turned ice monster creating snow blizzards of doom that bring the world to a frozen stop.
- Signature Super Power: Frozen Tundra – Freeze all plants in the ground.
After winning battles, players will receive card packs to open. These contain an assortment of units to add to your deck. Each Plant has its own power and health stats. Some also have special abilities that activate upon playing them. For instance, Grow Shroom boosts the stats of one other Plant on the field.
A yard filled with potential (and bugs)
Collecting cards and building decks should keep gamers busy as they work through the single-player campaign. Friendly and Ranked multiplayer matches add incentive to build the best deck you can. Cloud save support via Facebook and EA Accounts allow for cross-platform play, so you can take the same team across both Android and iOS. Google Play services are supported too.
Plants vs. Zombies Heroes is poised to be an engaging and clever take on PvZ. It looks great and the core mechanics are simply and addicting. Unfortunately, the Android version is rather buggy at present. The game froze up on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 time after time. As far as I can tell, performing any action other than the expected one during the tutorial phase throws a wrench in the works.
Hopefully EA's PopCap team can get the kinks worked out quickly, as I really want to love PvZ Heroes. Give it a try and let us know if your experience goes more smoothly!