Everyone knows Plants vs. Zombies. The original app/game released in 2009 and since then just about every living person has tried their hand in defending their front lawn from incessant zombies. While the game was loads of fun and involved some strategic thinking, it got old after awhile. A second PvZ title involving time travel was launched 4 years later, but contained more of the same gameplay we had grown accustomed to.
With Plants vs. Zombies Heroes we’re given a fresh experience that dives into the Collectible Card Game (CCG) genre. Gone is the tower defense formula that PvZ made itself known for and instead comes a game similar to the likes of Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic: The Gathering, the Pokemon Trading Card Game and of course Hearthstone.
Like those games, the player is encouraged to put together their best 40 card deck in hopes of defeating their opponents in a duel. To start they pick their hero from either the plant side or the zombie side. The matches will always consist of a plant team going up against a zombie team and there are 10 Heroes that can be used on either side. While there’s only a couple of heroes available from the get-go, more can be unlocked as the game is played more.
Once a hero is chosen, the player will then construct their deck based on the cards that are available to them. One thing to note is that each hero has 2 different colors associated with them and they can only use cards that share a color with them in their decks. For example the zombie hero Super Brainz has the attributes of Brainy and Sneaky so he can only use cards that are pink and black in his deck. Making decks with each hero will allow players to use other cards that may not be available to them if they only play as a specific hero like Super Brainz.
As you continue to play, more cards with different abilities can be unlocked by purchasing in-game booster packs with either in-game currency or real money. The more you play, the more currency you’ll earn allowing you to buy more packs and have more cards at your disposal to make better decks. Real money can be dished out to speed up the process, but I haven’t put a single cent into the game yet and have still unlocked a ton of new cards.
That’s a major part of what makes PvZ Heroes so great. Your deck is constantly getting better by subbing out your old cards with the new rarer cards you earn. Opening a pack to find a card that would fit perfectly in your Solar Flare Sunflower deck is rewarding and provides a great incentive to keep playing especially if you want to beat the pants, or should I say plants, off of real players.
Here’s how the gameplay works. Each battle has the same goal, deplete your opponent’s 20 life points before they depletes yours. The layout of each battle shows a top-down view of the playing field with the Zombie hero on one side and the Plant hero on the other side and is played vertically. Just like the original PvZ, there are 5 lanes in which you can place your plants or zombies, 3 of which are normal ground level lanes and then 1 elevated and 1 water lane. Some plants and zombies receive attack bonuses or have abilities that are specific to the elevated lane while others are deemed as aquatic and are the only ones that can be placed in the water lane.
Each round always plays out the same way with the zombie team playing their zombie(creature) cards first, followed by the plant team playing their plants and other cards (power-up/damage/draw cards). After the plants team plays, the zombie team is then given an opportunity to play “trick” cards that can either weaken or destroy plants, power-up and move their zombies to a better spot on the board or even allow them to draw cards. At the end of each round, plants and zombies that are in the same lane will attack each other, so strategy must be used to calculate how plants and zombies will match up given their attack power and life totals. If a lane is vacant on one side while there is a plant or zombie on the other side that creature will do damage to the opposing player’s hero.
It makes for good fun as you’ll never know exactly what cards are in each deck you’ll face, making planning a strategy all the more enticing. That along with the seemingly endless amount of different cards that can be found in booster packs (not sure if they’ll add more as time goes on) make this a game I’ll be playing for the foreseeable future.
While the single player mode is great for learning the basics and seeing how some cards work together, the online multiplayer is where the game truly shines. Outsmarting a real opponent that put together a deck just like you is so much more rewarding and fun than defeating a computer player. Some of the matches I had with online opponents were teeth-grittingly close and had me at the edge of my seat, especially one where I only had 1 life left on my hero that I won. Another opponent who I outplayed even rage-quitted on me before I could hit his hero with the final blow. Matchmaking was also problem free as I found an opponent pretty quickly each time. At the time of this writing though there seems to be a lot more Plant players than Zombie players, so I stick with my Electric Boogaloo Zombie deck most of the time to ensure I can always find an opponent.
Plants vs. Zombies Heroes is my new favorite addiction and I can’t wait to defeat even more difficult opponents online! I just wonder how much staying power it will have and if (and how often) new cards will be released making its lasting appeal uncertain for now.
My Rating: 8.5/10