How Plants vs. Zombies Revolutionized the Tower Defense Genre

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Still a timeless classic...

Story Highlights
  • Plant Vs Zombie became among the most recognizable game in the tower defense genre.   
  • It kept players at the edge of their seats due to its tough choices, and challenging atmosphere.
  • It still is interesting to play due to its timeless nature.

Plant Vs. Zombies was released on May 5, 2009, and it became the building block to games like Clash Royale we know today.


Unique Concept

Unliked the concept of COD Zombies, Plant Vs. Zombies introduced the idea of having lively plants defend their owner’s house from a bunch of starving zombies.  

Apart from that, all of these plants showed emotions with the sunflower being happy as it is giving out sun, the long-range mushroom getting scared as the zombies come close to it, and the pea shooter making a fierce face as it shoots the zombies away.

YouTube video

This fresh concept of having animated plants not only appeared pleasant but also brought out the liveliness in the game where players wanted to protect the plants as they had somewhat built a connection to them.

Tower Defense Unlike Any Other

Most games of the tower defense genre aren’t as interesting as Plants Vs. Zombies. For instance, we have games like Desktop Tower Defense (2007), Bloons Tower Defense series (2007-present), and the Kingdom Rush series (2011-present) and all are bland in nature.

Plant Vs Zombie introduced an interesting concept while remaining in the tower defense genre forcing other companies to change their ways of making games. It also paved a path for better games like Clash Royale to thrive today.

Tough Choices

As you progress through each level, you usually get a new plant that serves its specific purpose. Eventually, there will be a point where there will be numerous plants to choose from but only limited slots to carry these plants to the actual level.

This forces players to strategize accordingly and play with the plants they think they’re good at. It also opens the doors to new challenges where players might restart the level in order to play with different plants. 

This choice gets even tougher when you’re introduced to the night levels that contain fog at the swimming pool. Here, you could either get a lamp or a fan to remove the fog, or you can go for the balloon shooter and ditch the lamp. Either way, you need both of the plants.

YouTube video

Similarly, the game gets intense at night levels because the only source of sun is your sun mushroom. This allows players to strategize their plants according to the sun, which makes the level harder, especially at the beginning.  

Timeless Nature

Being a game over 15 years old, Plants Vs Zombies still doesn’t feel like an old game. This is all thanks to the vivid colors they used with captivating sounds and with its iconic music. Still, to this day, it remains enjoyable to many players because it doesn’t overdo anything.

The key is that this game is simple. The game used bright colors for the grass and the plants as opposed to the dull colors used for the zombies, providing a sharp contrast with simple animations that hook the audience right from the get-go.

This makes the original game even better than Plants Vs. Zombies 3 since they over-did the art style, making it exaggerated. This way the game has an appearance similar to that of Fortnite.

Zombies & Their Waves

With each level, the zombies also come in different shapes and forms. There’s a shielded zombie that uses a door to protect himself from the damage. A Micheal Jackson zombie also moonwalks towards the plants and summons four of his background dancing zombies.

While these types of enemies might pose a challenge, it is not close to those zombies that rush toward the plants. For instance, the uncle zombie holding the newspaper runs towards the plants after his newspaper is thrashed. 

Plant Vs. Zombies
Plant Vs Zombies Gameplay During The Day (Mobile)

Similarly, a football player zombie, the vaulting zombie, and the dolphin rider are among the fastest zombies that surprise even the greatest players. These zombies often require a hurdle between them that reduces their speeds to normal and are tough to overcome, especially at the end of the wave.

Each zombie wave emerges zombies either from the grave or their entrance point. They often come in bulk which makes them challenging. These factors allow players to have intense matches where they might have to repeat the level if the zombies prevail.


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