Zombies seem to be the choice du jour in video games lately, but nobody has taken an approach quite like PopCap Games’ in their latest hit, Plants vs. Zombies. The latest in tower defense games, Plants vs. Zombies (PvZ) uses the basic mechanics of a genre that has been inundated, but it also boasts it’s own unique personality and lots of gameplay variety. The result is a game that you’ll find addictive and tons of fun.

The premise of the game is simple, Zombies are creeping towards your house with one thing in mind, eating your delicious brains. Whether it’s on your lawn or your roof, your garden is your last line of defense against these brain-crazy corpses. Luckily your garden is made up of some pretty interesting plants, including a variety of pea shooters, Venus fly traps and even hot tamales that burn everything in their path. By planting the various plants in strategic locations around your house you may be able to hold off the onslaught and keep them from entering your house and eating your brain.

The gameplay mechanics of PvZ is also quite simple, the yard is divided into six rows and zombies shuffle in fairly orderly. They won’t cross over into other lanes, but you’ll find that multiple zombies will go down each lane. It’s a simple concept that works well. While it might sound easy at first it gets a lot harder as the levels progress. This is because the frequency of zombies increase as well as the different types of zombies. You’ll find your plants battling it out with 26 different types, from the regular zombie to the football player zombie, giant zombie, Thriller-era Michael Jackson lookalike zombie who summons a horde of dancing attackers and even zombies that will enter your pool. Yes, you’ll also have to defend your pool from zombies riding zombie dolphins. It gets that crazy.

Luckily you have a wide variety of plants at your disposal, 48 to be exact. From offensive plans like the various pea shoots, Venus fly traps and watermelon catapults to the defensive plants like the walnuts, potato land mines and more. As your progress through the game you’ll unlock all the different plants. You’ll also be able to upgrade many plans, through the addition of a gattling gun to the pea shooter, to pumpkin shaped ceramic pots to help protect the plants. The variety allows for a number of varied approaches to each level.

At the start of each round you choose a limited number of plants to take into battle. You can upgrade the amount by purchasing a slot from Crazy Dave, allowing you have even more plants at your disposal. You’ll find that Crazy Dave offers a number of upgrades, but all come at a price. Once you’ve chosen your plants you dive right into one of the many gameplay styles. Some levels take place during the day and some at night, which will effect what type of plants you can choose, how you harvest sunlight (your currency), and what environmental obstacles you encounter. You’ll find yourself battling on your rooftop or defending your pool. For an “small” game there’s a lot of variety.

Speaking of variety, you’ll also find that besides the 50 levels in the Adventure mode there are 20 mini-games, a Survival mode, and 20 Puzzles that let you play as the zombies. You’ll find yourself playing the game for hours on end, and even when you’re done with all the modes you can still go back and read the Almanac and learn details on every zombie you’ve encountered.

Plants vs. Zombies is getting rave reviews for all corners of the gaming world, and for good reason. It’s a fun, addicting game that will entertain you for hours on end. Just when you think it’s over it has a lot more to offer. PopCap has yet another hit on their hands.