They do say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, some though would say that it could show a lack of originality. I can see both points if I am honest, I mean do we need yet another Call of Duty clone or yet another Medal of Honor, etc.
Maybe, maybe not, but every now and then, someone will take what makes those games so popular and turn the concept on it's head in some wild and whacky way and keep their fingers crossed that their game just doesn't get lost in the miasma of so many co-operative or competitive shoot em ups.
The fear that this title would get lost or overlooked though would be misplaced. As it is, it in itself, is a spin off from a very popular mobile phone tower defense game, where for reasons unknown, mutated plants are our best and last hope against the oncoming Zombie apocalypse!
Where we used to have a top down view of a battlefield where two groups composed of defenders and attackers are placed on a small battlefield, we now have a 3D rendered arena with a third person view of the plant or zombie that you have chosen to use to attack or defend with.
The battle now leaves the confines of the garden and spills out into streets, graveyards, and even the beach as players now play a very different variant of the multiplayer battles we have seen in CoD, MoH, etc.
Gone is the gritty, cinematic realism of the Medal of Honor battleground, and in it's place, is a bright, colorful, cartoon style of conflict that definitely can get intense but as you play it, but instead of cursing the fact that you have been nailed yet again by an enemy, you may just be chuckling at the inventiveness of the method used to despatch your chosen plant or zombie.
And it's here and now I say that you should not make the mistake of thinking that just because you are playing a plant or a zombie that you will be restricted in the way you can move across the battlefield, heck far from it.
Though the Zombies may not be quite as quick as their plant antagonists, they can still jump, dodge with enough zip to leave the walkers from the Walking Dead choking on their dust!
All we are saying is.......
Variety is the spice of life (or if you play the Zombie side, unlife) with all sorts of plants and Zombies at your disposal, ready to be disposed of!
Pea Shooters that do what they say on the tin, Venus Fly Trap style plants called Chompers, that well chomp...and can tunnel under the ground and then swallow some unsuspecting zombie, and Sun Flowers that can heal friends on the battlefield.
The Zombies come in different shapes and sizes, from the standard zombie to the really big guys, including one that's called the Yeti! The Zombies also have their own abilities depending on type, from american football zombies that are quite tough, but not as tough as the Coffin Zombie, who walks in a coffin that is actually tougher than you would think.
There are others of both types but I shall leave discovering them up to you.
.... give peas a chance. (Sorry couldn't resist)
Gameplay is fast and furious and the learning curve very, very gentle indeed. Play any serious shooter like Gears of War, or any type of third person shooter and you have the control layout copied here.
Special powers can be activated via the Y button or the shoulder buttons, but heck it's the same as any other combat orientated multiplayer death match game.
The same goes for the game modes, from Horde mode to capture the flag style battles and a lot more.
Every battle won (or indeed lost) will reward you with coins that can be used (or buy from the Xbox market place) to buy booster packs of 'cards' that unlock customizable options to say change your Pea Shooter to a Plasma Shooter. This will give you a different look but also a slightly different load out for your plants or indeed Zombie.
The game encourages you to mix and match baby! There are also fairly regular free updates to the game so keep logging on for extras.
So is everything in the garden rosy?
Well sadly the answer is no. The 360 EA servers tend to be fragile and fall over unexpectedly, sometimes during the log in and sadly sometimes during game play.]
It may be that they are concentrating on the Xbox One version that has just emerged.
Now having tried both I can say that the Xbox One version is just the same as the original but sharper, cleaner graphics and so far, more stable servers.
It's fast, and frantic fun, and servers aside, should provide many a session of off the Garden wall fun and antics.
Recommended if you want something wild, whacky but above all else F-U-N!