Hopefully, you don't need this review to tell you that Plants vs. Zombies is downright amazing. Originally released on the PC in 2009, Plants vs. Zombies has come to just about every platform since then and earned rave reviews here on IGN -- 9.0 on everything except that Nintendo DS version. So, basically, you should only be looking at this review to see if PopCap Games and Sony Online Entertainment screwed anything up. They didn't, so buy this game.
The premise here is the same as every other version of the game: tower defense. Zombies are steadily marching towards your home, and you establish a line of defense with your gardening skills to repel them. Plant sunflowers that generate sunshine, which is the currency you use to buy peashooters that'll blast the zombies to death. As you progress through the beautiful game, you unlock new weapons (like the jalapeno that incinerates everything in its path), new zombies (like bucket-as-a-helmet zombie), and new parts of your yard.
That's one of the best things about Plants vs. Zombies 50-level Adventure Mode; even though it's the same gameplay idea each time, there's a new wrinkle to the challenge with each stage. What seems so simple in the beginning gets to be a test of your cognitive abilities as zombies riding lawnmowers and your backyard pool get introduced.
The minutes melt into each other when playing Plants vs. Zombies on the PlayStation Vita because it's so darn charming. The point/counterpoint of certain plants and zombies is chess-like, and deploying a strategy that decimates the undead sure is satisfying. There are so many plant types (nearly 50) and so many possible attack layouts that it's really up to you as to how you best a level. Sadly, the game still doesn't remember your custom plant loadout from the last level, so be prepared to re-choose your arsenal before setting out on each mission.
Of course on top of that, the game's beautiful with cartoony graphics packed with character. Whether it's a Chomper with a zombie limb hanging out of its mouth or a disco-dancing ghoul, Plants vs. Zombie keeps you smiling. Even better for someone burned by how the game ran on an iPhone 3G, the Vita version runs without a hitch or a stutter.
And then, we come to the heart of the matter. How does the game feel on the PlayStation Vita? In short: awesome. A mix of the iPhone version and the PlayStation 3 version, Plants vs. Zombies Vita allows you to play as you see fit. If you want to use the Vita's front touch to plant and defend your home via touch, you're welcome to. If you'd rather use the shoulder buttons and D-pad/analog sticks, have at it.
Get off my lawn!
One very nice addition to both modes is the ability to shake the Vita to collect sunshine and coins. Yes, rather than tap or scroll to the bounty your sunflowers and kills are getting respectively, you can now jostle your Vita to collect.
The aforementioned coins are used to buy special items in the in-game store, but that's just the start of the bonuses in Plants vs. Zombies. Outside of the lengthy Adventure mode, you're getting a Survival mode, Puzzle mode (Play as the zombies!) and a bunch of mini-games like Whack-a-Zombie. On top of the PlayStation Network Trophies, which are a different list than the PS3 version of the game and pack a Platinum Trophy, there are leaderboards so you can see how your zombie kills stack up against friends and the rest of the world. There's no multiplayer, however.