Games of 2009: Plants vs. Zombies • Page 2

Weedkiller app.

But I also like Plants vs. Zombies for the things it doesn't have. There are no shaven-headed musclemen, no post-apocalyptic American cities, no gritty free-roaming environments. There are no silly plotlines about time travel or mysterious viruses. There are no daft cut-scenes where people say stupid things without moving their lips properly, and no wisecracking female characters who put the ass in sassy.

There are no health kits to collect, map fragments to find, fuse boxes to disable or missing keys to locate. There are no sections where you have to wiggle a controller around when it would be a lot easier just to press a button. There are no plastic skateboards, wireless drum kits, motion-sensing cameras or electronic bathroom scales.

There is a time and a place for all of the above, and those who want to seek those things out don't have to look far. More often, however, I'm most interested in what Plants vs. Zombies has to offer - quietly absorbing, addictive gameplay, low-key but polished presentation and a difficulty level tuned to offer a challenge while still delivering a sense of satisfaction.

The games I've played most this year have those qualities. I lost an entire weekend to Diner Dash on the DS, for example. Out of work hours, I've spent most of my time not with the PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii but the iPhone. I've had actual rows about the amount of time and level of focus I've devoted to Farm Frenzy. I've passed hour-long train journeys with Flight Control. I've spent days trying to get all the gold medals in Cooking Dash, even though it's just Diner Dash with frying pans. Then there's Word Fu, UNO, Doodle Jump, Critter Crunch...

You are not a gnome.

What does this tell you? That my taste in games is pathetically limited and immature, obviously. But also that there's still an appetite (and not just mine, judging by the App Store top 10) for games with relatively basic gameplay and graphics. Games like Plants vs. Zombies, in fact.

If you're more into the fancier stuff, great. There's been plenty to keep you occupied this year in the form of new Uncharted, Assassin's Creed, Left 4 Dead, Modern Warfare, Forza, FIFA 10 and many more, and three cheers for all those.

But if you missed out on Plants vs. Zombies, why not give it a go over at This is one of those games so good it sticks in your memory. And not just when you're laying in bed after a four-hour session, still semi-consciously playing it in your head. It's a game you'll remember and want to come back to months later. For that reason, it gets my vote for game of the year.

Check out the Editor's blog to find out more about our Games of 2009.

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About the author

Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson


Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.


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