I Am Vegend: Zombiegeddon
Publisher: Big Fish Games
Genre: Tower Defense
Release Date: 05/25/2013
I’m honestly surprised I haven’t seen such a blatant copy cat of Plants Vs Zombies until now. They probably exist in some fashion, I’m sure, but this is the first one I’ve played. To be fair, though, this game takes inspiration from Angry Birds as well. You see, the plants are tired of zombies and animals taking their seeds, and now they’re out to angrily defend said seeds to the last plant. I’m not sure why the zombies want the seeds (the birds and other animals make some sense at least), but this is a game that doesn’t really care about the premise. So why should I?
It’s worth noting this game can be gotten for smartphones and other such devices for a measly buck. As such, a ten dollar price tag for the PC version needs to be justified. There has to be extras or something, right? Well, it turns out there are some differences. The game is in a higher resolution, which you could have easily guessed, and it offers some minor customization options for controls as well. You can also use buttons on the keyboard to switch plants instead of having to manually click on them. That’s about it. If you have a mobile device, get this game for that. If not, continue reading in case this kind of game sounds interesting to you.
The game features three forty-five levels split into three campaigns. There’s no level select, so any replaying you do will force you to go through the entire campaign once more. The first campaign teaches you the basics, the second campaign raises the stakes, and the third campaign has you taking on various levels with different setups. You also have a shop that allows you upgrade your plants and buy some consumables. In game coins are required to purchase upgrades, and you don’t have the option to use real money to skip ahead this time. The amount of coins you get is increased compared to the mobile version though. That being said, I beat the game without a problem while only upgrading my plants once each.
On paper, the game is very similar to most tower defense games. Your units are on the left, enemies come in from the right, and you’ve got to stop them before they get to your base and start eating your seeds. The difference here is that the defending is less strategic and more action oriented. In order to get your plants to attack, you have to click the location you want them to attack. You can have up to three plants on the screen at a time, and you switch between them by clicking on them or using the keyboard. Using the keyboard is highly recommended, as it saves a good deal of back and forth. Sadly, you can’t choose what plants are brought into battle. Your stuck with whatever the game gives you. The strategy is in mixing the plants abilities in order to survive.
You have seven different plants that you’ll control throughout the game. The sunflower delivers a strong burst of fire in a single line, the tomato lobs grenades that deal splash damage, the pumpkin (it’s more of a squash) can be planted to detonate when enemies get near, the pea pod shoots bullets in a spray, the watermelon fires poisonous blasts, the corn shoots a highly damaging missile, and the pepper fires off shots that burn enemies in a line. The nifty thing about the game is that you can’t use one plant indefinitely. After a few shots, they need to reload, forcing you to use other plants. You’ve also got to account for the enemies coming at you. If all of your plants are reloading, nearby enemies can swipe your seeds without you being able to stop them. Wildly shooting is not the answer. Making quick, precise shots is the key.
Enemies come in a number of varieties. It starts out like PvZ, with weak zombies, armored pigs, and zombies that use gravestones as shields. Things get more interesting with gorillas that swing across the map, birds that dive bomb your position, planes that drop off zombies, and jet pack zombies that can lose control of their devices. There are a number of boss characters as well, such as a Napoleon zombie that fires cannonballs at your seeds. There’s also a Michael Jackson zombie, a Mike Tyson zombie, and a giant gorilla for some reason. The game can be humorous at times, but it usually just feels awkward.
There’s actually a decent variety in the levels. While most have you simply shooting down oncoming hordes, there are others that break the mold. One mini-game has you shooting down crates, getting points for using the right plant, and losing points for using the wrong one. Another mission has you attempting to take down zombies while avoiding friendly carrots that are stealing supplies for you. Some of the more interesting levels have you attempting to shoot open a cage containing a new unit while keeping back the zombie horde. The level ends when you open the cage, so you can’t simply ignore it. The forty-five levels had a good chance of getting mind numbingly repetitive, but the game avoids that well.
During gameplay, there are three different consumables you can use. Seeds packets replace lost seeds, essentially refilling your life bar. Hourglasses slow the action down, giving you time to recover. You can also use air strikes to take down most of the guys on screen. Consumables can be also be earned in bonus missions, so you don’t have to simply buy them through the store. The game also gives you five free uses of each as they are introduced, which is nice.
The game’s presentation is simple, as expected. Enemies have a decent amount of charm, though your units look terrible. Angry frowns just don’t work, even if you add a bandanna to a sunflower. I’m sorry. It just looks silly. The animations are simple and a tad shoddy, but acceptable for this type of game. There’s a good deal of variety in terms of what you’ll see on screen, which is nice. Musically, the game is OK, but nothing to write home about. The main theme is simultaneously catchy and annoying. The effects are a bit tinny, and the weird sounds that enemies make don’t quite fit. I honestly wouldn’t mind playing with the sound off. There certainly hasn’t been enough boost here to justify buying this game over the mobile version.
In the end, that’s what’s going to kill this game. You can get it for nine dollars less for a portable device, and get the same experience. The PC version offers some minor improvements, but not enough to justify the purchase, especially since the game can easily be conquered in an hour or two. It’s an amusing game to be sure, but not amusing enough to warrant a ten dollar purchase.
Short Attention Span Summary
I Am Vegend is an amusing game that is frankly better than I’d thought it’d be. It takes a good deal of the strategy out of tower defense though, which might throw off would be players. You can also find the game for a mere buck on mobile devices, which you’ll likely want to do rather than pay the ten dollars asked for the PC version. While there have been some improvements, they aren’t enough. And honestly, the game doesn’t last long enough to warrant that kind of money. This is a pass unless you’ve got some game credits you want to waste.