Plants vs. Zombies

£1.79 from the App Store

Spotlight

VideoPlants vs. Zombies Cray-z rap video

Future generations will study this.

Mobile Games Roundup

Agent! Tower! Continuity! Angry! Zombies! Sonic! geoDefense!

VideoPlants vs. Zombies trailer

If you go down to the garden today...

Key events

After children rack up huge bills, UK government announces investigation into "aggressive" in-app purchases

Games, aimed at children, that include "commercially aggressive" in-app purchases are to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading.

The UK government will examine whether kids are being put under unfair pressure to pay for additional content to complete these games, which are usually free to download.

The investigation follows a number of cases in which parents only discovered a child's spending after being presented with a huge bill.

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PopCap lays off about 50 employees

"If we didn't have EA behind us, the cuts would have been worse."

Following yesterday's the news of a Plants vs. Zombies sequel, PopCap is making severe cuts to its operation, resulting in the loss of roughly 50 jobs.

Plants vs Zombies sequel due next year, PopCap confirms

Undead tower defense title Plants vs Zombies will return for a second helping next year, developer PopCap has announced.

The as-yet-untitled sequel lacks a firm release date or confirmed launch platforms, but is expected to arrive in the first half of 2013.

The addictive botanical puzzler will offer more plant and zombie types than ever before, as well as fresh "settings and situations". And presumably more saucepan-headed mumblings from perpetual zombie victim Crazy Dave.

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Major Plants vs. Zombies HD update goes live

Major Plants vs. Zombies HD update goes live

PopCap adds new modes and mini-games to iOS versions.

A hefty new update out today for the iPad version of Plants vs. Zombies adds a bevy of new content to PopCap's beloved RTS.

First and foremost, you'll get three new game modes: Zen Garden, Vasebreaker Endless and I, Zombie Endless. Mushroom Garden and Aquarium Garden can also be added via an in-app purchase.

On top of that, there are four new mini-games to check out. Slot Machine is free, while Zombiquarium, Portal Combat and Beghouled Twist are available as paid add-ons.

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PopCap: Don't be afraid of free-to-play

"Wouldn't joining the party be a better use of your time than complaining about it?"

Naysaying gamers suspicious of the free-to-play model should leave their preconceptions at the door and give the system a chance, so says a senior exec at casual gaming powerhouse PopCap.

Plants vs. Zombies Vita announced

Plants vs. Zombies Vita announced

Is a Vita launch title.

Plants vs. Zombies is a PlayStation Vita launch title, Sony has announced.

Confirmation comes via the PlayStation Twitter page: "Surprise! Plants vs Zombies is coming to PS Vita."

A hands-on preview of the PopCap strategy game on IGN revealed the Vita version looks very much like the PlayStation Network version. Indeed it describes the game as "identical" to it.

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Exclusive Ratchet demo for PS Plus

Exclusive Ratchet demo for PS Plus

Free Resi, Plants vs. Zombies, too.

PlayStation Plus members get exclusive first entry into the Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One online beta this week.

Botanical tower defense title Plants vs. Zombies and the PS one Resident Evil: Director's Cut are also available free.

This week's PlayStation Network Play release BloodRayne: Betrayal comes 20 per cent off, while popular PSN sidescroller Explodemon! is now half price.

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Mobile Games Roundup

Mobile Games Roundup

Agent! Tower! Continuity! Angry! Zombies! Sonic! geoDefense!

It would probably get boring for you lot if every week was filled with top-rated games. In fact, I know that a lot of you kind of glaze over at some of the scores, and some outright moan that mobile games get routinely over-rated ("9/10? Better than Halo? ROFL")

Like any platform, it's important to judge mobile games in context. An inventive 9/10 puzzle game costing 59p can never be the same as a 9/10 epic action game on a home console. But nor would you necessarily want it to be.

Trying to somehow read something definitive into what a score 'means' is, a slippery subject, and yet we all debate them endlessly. But at the same time, as long as you're always dealing with like-for-like comparisons, you're on safer ground.

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Blowing Bubbles

Mobile and social gaming are in a huge valuation bubble - but that doesn't have to mean that disaster is coming.

Published as part of our sister-site GamesIndustry.biz's widely-read weekly newsletter, the GamesIndustry.biz Editorial, is a weekly dissection of an issue weighing on the minds of the people at the top of the games business. It appears on Eurogamer after it goes out to GI.biz newsletter subscribers.

Report: EA buying PopCap for $1 billion

Prominent US tech site makes claim.

Electronic Arts is rummaging around down the back of the couch in search of a spare $1 billion to purchase PopCap, according to a report on a US tech news site.

WP7 gets Sonic, Angry Birds, more

"Six weeks of hits" announced.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode 1, tower defense classic Plants vs Zombies and ubiquitous feather-flinger Angry Birds are among the grandstanding titles heading to Windows Phone 7 this Spring in a big new games push just announced by Microsoft.

EU PlayStation Store update 9th Feb

EU PlayStation Store update 9th Feb

Stacking! Plants vs. Zombies! Explodemon!

Today, PlayStation Plus comes of age. Free to subscribers are Tim Schafer's potentially fantastic downloadable Russian doll game Stacking (usually £9), and a Killzone 3 single-player demo.

Eurogamer's Stacking review is in the works, by the way. It'll be with you by tomorrow lunch time. Stacking offers a free trial, incidentally.

For everybody else, the PlayStation Store cupboards are heaving with content.

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Plants vs. Zombies confirmed for PSN

Plants vs. Zombies confirmed for PSN

Plus, five more titles announced by SOE.

Horticultural horror hit Plants vs Zombies is gearing up for an assault on PlayStation Network next month, Sony Online Entertainment has announced.

First released on PC to considerable acclaim in 2009, PopCap's awesome tower defence time-waster has now appeared on pretty much every platform known to man, including iOS, Xbox 360 and DS. Still, better late than never, right PS3 owners?

SOE also announced five more games heading to PSN soon, though, as with Plants vs. Zombies, failed to confirm precise release dates for any of them.

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Plants vs. Zombies

Plants vs. Zombies

Biological warfare.

What if the games industry was one big party? Picture the scene. As you walk in you pass Blizzard and Activision, snogging in the hallway. Heading into the lounge you see Microsoft and Sony are the centre of attention. They're arguing about who's got the best new car, but neither will let anyone else have a go. Nintendo is looking out of the window, barely listening to the row, too busy making sure no one's standing too close to its Bugatti Veyron.

In the kitchen, EA and THQ lean grumpily against the cupboards, wishing they were the ones in the hallway with Blizzard. Ubisoft lights another Gitane and tries to start a conversation about art, but everyone's too busy complaining about how Nintendo never buys a round.

One figure stands out from the rest. Not because of the smart suit or highly polished shoes, but because of the crowd gathered around. While everyone else at the party fights amongst themselves, PopCap Games is the one getting all the chicks.

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PopCap's John Vechey

On Facebook, iPad, Minkley's Meat Ceiling and more.

With more than 50 million copies sold worldwide, Bejeweled is PopCap's biggest-selling game. Then there's Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle, Zuma, Bookworm... All success stories in their own right. The company's only been around for 10 years but from a foundation of three has grown into an operation of over 250 people, producing games that transcend traditional demographics and trends.

Thinking back over all the games I've played and reviewed this year, the titles which stand out most are those at the extremes of the spectrum. At one end there's the likes of Velvet Assassin and Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust, two games so bad that if someone said I had to play them again I'd staplegun my own fingers to my eyes just to make it impossible. And who could forget Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad? Not anyone who was contractually obliged to play it for more than 12 minutes, that's for sure.

Plants vs. Zombies heading to XBLA

Er, branching out? Sorry.

PopCap's excellent PC game Plants vs. Zombies is on its way to Xbox Live Arcade, the developer reportedly confirmed at the Casual Connect conference this week.

With Plants vs. Zombies out today, it seems like a good time to point out that there's a free downloadable demo on the official site for PC or Mac.

Plants vs. Zombies

Plants vs. Zombies

Rot in my back yard.

Gardening brings out the worst in game developers. Even nominally cuddly outfits, who trade in moonbeams and gentle kisses, experience a strange, peat-fuelled bloodlust whenever they saunter down the cobbled path and set up shop under the old oak tree. Why else would Nintendo invite us to choose between choking to death on an alien allotment or harvesting warm corpses for industrial reprocessing in Pikmin? And what brought Rare, a developer more likely to have you chasing after coins while butterflies skitter about overhead, to delve into the rotting underside of the natural world in the bucolic Viva Piñata, a papier mache bloodbath of sacrificial breeding and advanced eugenics, where the sight of a Fudgehog having its head bashed in is accompanied by cheering infants?

Nasty stuff all round, and now PopCap - friend of the unicorn, tireless lobbyist for bookworms everywhere - is getting in on the action, using your cheerful well-trimmed lawns as the staging area for the intimate, brain-eating final phase of a full-blown zombie invasion, with only a handful of seed packets and a trowel standing between the shambling undead and the booming, definitive, and oddly affecting announcement that your brains have just been eaten. Jimmy Lightning never treated us like this.

Not to worry, though: the company that spliced Pachinko and Egyptian cats, and retrieved gem-trading from the murky world of Sierra Leone and its death squads, has lost none of its breezy charm. These are zombies of the lovable, huggable variety: they may be closing in to finish you off in a sweaty fumble of greying skin and cold fingers, but at least they've made an effort, dressing up in a range of natty outfits that takes in everything from line-backer shoulder pads to eighties back-up dancer leotards, and announcing their grim intentions in a range of friendly, handwritten notes. And rather than remove their heads with buckshot or gore them on the end of a garden fork, you're left to defend yourself with a gentler arsenal of pea pods and pumpkins. It's the apocalypse, only rather more civilised, and a lot richer in fibre than modern cinema would have you believe.

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