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We didn’t even had kids yet when this game first came out. And there is a whole group of elementary school-age kids who can now rediscover what was a huge hit back in 2009/2010.
I think it’s one of the great games, in terms of theme, design, and extensive gameplay. There is probably 100 hours worth of gameplay with all the mini-games, and it has high reply value.
The basic mechanic is ‘tower defense’ but with weaponized plants being the towers and zombies being the invaders. I would argue that the game teaches concepts such as planning ahead, rationing resources, and basic intuitive math.
We don’t like our kids playing violent games, but zombies are already dead, so it doesn’t matter. Also, the zombies are aggressive as they try to eat our brains, so we have the moral high ground in blasting them with frozen peas. And a cute little cartoon plant is so far removed from the realistic-looking weapons in other games that I don’t have a problem with the violence at all.
The game is available on just about every platform and there are free versions for Android and iOS with some ads (you watch an to get extra powers, such as a rake that a zombie steps on to decapitate himself).
The sequel has gotten mixed reviews (made by a different developer who had bought the rights to the first one) but we haven’t tried it.