Plants vs Zombies

On top of a stellar Red Stripe Deal this week (Chaos Rings), Windows Phone gamers have another Xbox game sale to tempt their wallets. 10 Electronic Arts games are on sale for 30-40 percent off.

The most exciting discount comes in Plants vs. Zombies, a terrific game that hardly ever goes on sale. Both it and Bejeweled Live are three bucks. A slew of games that regularly sell for $2.99 will ring up for $1.99 instead this week, including: Battleship, Blobster, The Game of LIFE, iBomber Defense (ugh), Jet Set Go, Spy Mouse, Tetris, and Yahtzee.

Descriptions and Store Links after the break!

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Plants vs. Zombies is coming to the Xbox One and Xbox 360, but not as you currently know it. PopCap is taking the IP into the third-person action realm, which will introduce the player to new and more action packed gameplay. Announced today at E3, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare will task players with taking control of multiple types of plants and taking out zombies of all sizes.

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It looks like plants and zombies will be battling it out once again for dominion over your front lawn. PopCap Games, makers of the wildly popular first installment of  Plants vs. Zombies, announced today in a press release that a sequel to the tower defense-style game will be slated for a "late spring" release in 2013. Though no specifics were mentioned, PopCap indicated that the sequel will "include a bevy of new features, settings, and situations, designed to delight the franchise's tens of millions of fans around the world."

An unidentified spokesperson connected to game had this to say:

"Spring is crullest curlie ungood time, and plantz grow dull roots. So, we are meating you for brainz at yore house. No worry to skedule schedlue plan... we're freee anytime. We'll find you."

The Seattle-based maker of such hit games as Bejeweled and Peggle was acquired by entertainment powerhouse, EA Games, last year. Plants vs. Zombies was a huge success, spanning multiple platforms including, iOS, Android, Xbox 360, PC and Windows Phone. We expect the same kind of widespread availability for the sequel as well although no platform-specifics were given at this time.

Looking at the close relationship between PopCap, EA, Microsoft and Nokia, we do expect a Windows Phone 8 tie-in.

See the entire press release after the break.

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Paul Acevedo (left) and Ben Ahroni

I made no secret of my love for recent XBLA release Zuma’s Revenge in my review – after all, it’s a PopCap game. Those guys practically always knock it out of the park. As it happens, Casual Connect Seattle featured a panel on the connected experience (gaming on TV, tablet, smartphone: SmartGlass-type stuff).

Who should we find among the panelists but the producer of Zuma’s Revenge, Ben Ahroni. Naturally I snagged him for a video interview. See Ben discuss Zuma, a potential sequel to Plants vs. Zombies, and Windows Phone after the break!

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Are you a fan of plants? Do you hate zombies? Then if you haven’t already purchased Plants vs. Zombies from PopCap Games, now is your chance because it’s the Deal of the Week!

Plants vs. Zombies is up there with one of the best Xbox LIVE titles for Windows Phone. It has cute graphics, hilarious and bizarre gameplay and it has an addictive quality that makes many users unable to put it down. For these reasons we give it a big thumbs-up and highly recommend it.

The game mostly involves planting plants that shoot at various zombies attacking your house. Variations in plants, ammo, tactics and zombies keep this alternate-tower defense game from getting stale.

All is not perfect though as PvZ hasn’t had an update since January and it is still missing proper Mango support (gah!) which is a heck of a shame since it’s so easy to fix. Hopefully PopCap can get around to fixing that and maybe adding a few bonuses for the rest of us?

You can read our full review of Plants vs Zombies to get an idea on our thoughts and our interview with the developer, PopCap. Otherwise, grab the free trial here in the Marketplace for Windows Phone. The game normally fetches for $4.99 but is on sale for one-week for $2.99. Go!

Don't forget, tonight's new Xbox LIVE is Gun Bros.

Thanks, Thomas, for the tip!

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A barrage of Xbox Live title updates hit last week: Fable Coin Golf, Farm Frenzy 2, Ghostscape, Gravity Guy, The Sims 3, and Tetris. After horror stories of updates getting stuck in certification for months on end, the sight of all these patches is enough to bring a tear to this cynical critic’s eye.

One update that we received a lot of questions about is the Plants vs. Zombies version 1.3 patch. After a little digging, we’ve discovered the effects of the patch: it changes the game’s description in the Games hub from PvZ to Plants vs. Zombies. Not terribly exciting, but then, PopCap has already fixed the game’s major bugs. It is surprising, however, that the update doesn’t add Fast App Switching support. Enabling this important feature (which rolled out with Mango) is supposed to be fairly easy for developers, after all. Hopefully PopCap has at least one more update in store for us.

Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense game that happened to be one of the very best mobile Xbox Live releases of 2011 – see our review. The game costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Get it here on the Marketplace.

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Joining the many Xbox Live games that have been updated lately is Plants vs. Zombies, the enchanting tower defense game from PopCap. The version 1.2 update fixes a longstanding issue with Zen Garden plants.

As our review explains, the Zen Garden is a meta game mode that ties Plants vs. Zombies’ Adventure Mode and many minigames together. Players randomly find seed packets during normal game play, which can then be planted in the Zen Garden, tended, and eventually harvested for money. Previously, fertilizing certain sprouts caused the game to crash. A couple of months and a little patch action later, those sprouts can finally be fertilized like any other. Just what kind of plants do the problem sprouts grow into? Why, Kernel-pults, the game’s combat corn on the cobs.

Now that Zen Garden is fixed up, the Windows Phone version of Plants. Vs. Zombies really is just about perfect. It's the only game I've reviewed to receive a 10 so far. Nice as it runs now, we can still expect a Mango update to come along and enable fast-app switching sometime in the near future. Already beaten the game inside and out? Check out our interview with PopCap Games that looks into the history of PvZ's development.

Plants vs. Zombies costs $4.99 and there is a free trial. Hurry up and grab it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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PopCap Games, Game House (interview), and Zynga are probably the three heaviest hitters among casual game developers and publishers. PopCap is the most mainstream of the big three, selectively porting their games from PCs to consoles and mobile devices with amazing success. On Windows Phone they have produced Bejeweled LIVE (review) and Plants vs. Zombies (review), which I feel is the single best game on the platform. We’re super excited to bring you this interview with Andrew Stein, PopCap’s Director of Mobile Product Management.

Head past the break for an insightful interview and exclusive, never-before-seen Plants vs. Zombies concept art!

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Plants vs. Zombies: Xbox Windows Phone Review

As a critic, it’s rare that I can unequivocally say that a game is the very best game in its genre. So many titles do different things well, and they usually have their minuses too. It’s even more uncommon for a game to transcend its own genre and become something that appeals to pretty much everybody. That’s why Plants vs. Zombies is such an amazing game. Not only is it hands-down the best tower defense game on Windows Phone, it also tweaks tower defense conventions and brings so much content that even tower defense naysayers will find a lot to enjoy.

What exactly is tower defense? It’s a type of real-time strategy game. Players build stationary towers which shoot at enemies as they try to reach the player’s base. To put that in Plants vs. Zombies terms, zombies attack the gamer’s yard, striving to get inside the house and eat the tasty brains inside. Weaponized plants with faces and personalities take the place of mechanical towers. In case it wasn’t immediately obvious, this game is loaded with charm and humor.

Watch out for potato mines as you head past the break for our full review.

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As the 6 Weeks of Must-Have Games draws near its end, Popcap’s Plants vs Zombies is finally available on the Marketplace.

Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense game like no other. Zombies are invading the player’s home, and only a host of attack plants will fend them off. The variety of towers, err, plants at your disposal (49 in all!) is amazing and allows for all kinds of strategies. Adventure Mode’s 50 levels will take a fair while to plow through, but that’s only half the game. 19 unlockable minigames really do flesh out the package and keep the fun going. Even when you’re not playing, don’t be surprised if the catchy soundtrack (including a brilliant music video during the end credits) gets stuck in your head.

Plants vs. Zombies costs $4.99 on Windows Phone and there is a free trial. Harvest it here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Windows Phone gamers have been anxiously awaiting the start of the 6 Weeks of Must Have Games promotion. It was initially thought to begin in April, but then we learned it had been pushed back to an unspecified date. Shortly thereafter at MIX 2011, Joe Belfiore announced that Angry Birds would come out on May 25, so everyone assumed that the Must-haves would roll out then.

As it turns out, May 25 does indeed mark the start of the 6 Weeks of Must Have Games. But Angry Birds won’t be next week’s Xbox Live release after all. Instead, that honor goes to Hydro Thunder Go, the only Windows Phone-exclusive title in the Must-Have lineup. Leading with the strongest title is a smart idea, as Hydro Thunder Go has some great buzz surrounding it. Hydro Thunder Go will launch on May 25 at the very fair price of $4.99.

But that’s not all! We’ve got the full Xbox Live release schedule for the next 6 weeks, including prices and screenshots. Head past the jump for the exciting details.

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Back in February, WPCentral reported on the Xbox Live 6 weeks of Must Have Games promotion. Basically, every Wednesday for 6 weeks, a high-profile game will come to Xbox Live.

We expected the promotion to begin on April 6, but it turns out that won’t be the case. This week’s Xbox Live title is Super Monkey Ball, which will cost $4.99. Read our impressions here. Who Wants to be a Millionaire also comes out that day, but only in territories outside of North America.

April 13 will see the release of Harbor Master and Centipede. Thus the earliest the Must Have Games promotion could start is April 20, but it might be even later. Update: When contacted, Microsoft would only confirm Spring as the promotion's launch date. We'll surely hear from them again in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

For now, let’s look at the Must Have Games themselves:

  • Hydro Thunder Go – The only Windows Phone-exclusive of the bunch. Go is the mobile adaptation of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, the latest entry in the popular boat-racing series. Go’s 3D graphics and water effects are probably the best Windows Phone 7 has seen. Follow this link for a video trailer and our first impressions.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I – Sonic 4 marks the return to side-scrolling gameplay for everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. The series has been marred by lackluster 3D titles in recent years. Sonic 4 doesn’t quite match the quality of the 16-bit Sonic games, but it’s still a worthwhile platformer. The mobile version of Sonic 4 was developed concurrently with the console title and features different stage layouts.  Follow this link for our first impressions.
  • Plants vs Zombies – From the makers of Bejeweled comes a unique tower defense game in which players place plants in strategic locations across lawns, swimming pools, and rooftops in order to fend off an army of cartoonish zombies. The PC version of Plants vs Zombies is one of my all-time favorite games.
  • geoDefense – A challenging tower defense game that features neon-colored vector graphics, much like the Geometry Wars series of shooters. geoDefense is a pretty game, but is it really that popular?
  • Doodle Jump – The original jumping game makes its way to Xbox Live. Tilt the phone to steer Doodle Jumper up a never-ending series of platforms, much like MonsterUp. Knock out enemies by furiously tapping on them. Windows Phone gamers may already know Doodle Jumper from his Parachute Panic cameo.
  • Angry Birds – One of the most popular mobile games of all-time rounds out the Must Have Games promotion. Launch birds out of a slingshot in order to collapse structures and eliminate the pigs who’ve stolen the birds’ eggs. The Windows Phone version of Angry Birds has a whopping 195 levels.
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While we have heard countless rumors about Angry Birds coming to Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has announced today that the popular game will be heading to Windows Phones. It joins five other titles that are expected to hit the Marketplace on April 6th as Xbox Live games.

The other gaming titles include:

  • Doodle Jump - Jump your way up an unending series of platforms
  • Plants vs. Zombies - Defend yourself from a Zombie attack with garden plants
  • HydroThunder Go - Long standing boat racing game
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 - Classic Sega platform game
  • GeoDefense - Tower defense game

No pricing information was available but it's nice to see several of these titles coming to the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Source: WindowsTeamBlog

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