Plants vs. Zombies (Vita version)
By now, everyone has played Plants vs. Zombies in one fashion or another and most people adore the charming little lawn-defense game. With dancing sunflowers it’s hard not to fall in love with yet another Popcap game. Originally debuting on the PC back in 2009, PvZ has since been a part of most major gaming systems and mobile devices since then. The Playstation Network version came out early last year and I bought the game for a third time. Apparently my lawn wasn’t safe enough because I dropped another $15 USD for the Vita version.
A few new things have made their way to the game over the past year. PvZ now gives Playstation fans the benefit of touch screen controls (like most of the other versions). While the PSN versions analog controls didn’t break the game in any way, it was a little more cumbersome. Better than that though is the addition of the shake controls and its purpose. Instead of tapping the sun or money as it drops onto the field of play, you can lightly shake the Vita to collect it all at once. It’s probably the simplest addition to an aging game, but it works wonders and completely evolves the way you play. Just a quick flick of the wrist and everything on screen (well, all of the sun or all of the money, it won’t collect both types at once) is added to your pool of resources.
This works so well, in fact, that the snail which collects the money in your Zen Garden is almost useless unless you just want to set the system down for awhile while you play on another system. While watering plants, you can just flick your wrist and voila – all the money is yours. The systems auto-sleep can’t be turned off, so if you do decide to set your system down and do something else, you need to be sure to tap the screen every once in awhile.
The other (odd) inclusion is that of a Platinum trophy. Instead of a small handful of trophies like the PSN version, there are now 43 trophies to earn. For people that enjoy these digital goodies, this adds to the overall replay value. Considering some full-games at retail (read: Lumines: Electronic Symphony) don’t have a Platinum trophy, it adds even more to the value (again, if you are into trophies).
I own four different versions, and this is easily my favorite. It has the portable appeal and with the new “flick-to-collect” feature, it one-ups every version I have played. If you have a Vita, and even if you have it on one or more other system(s), it is easily worth $15.
Motorstorm RC (Vita version)
Remember RC Pro Am on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)? That quirky game with the unusual camera angle that had you racing RC cars around? Well Evolution Studios, the studio behind the Motorstorm franchise, has taken that formula and brought it to HD-era with Motorstorm RC.
You start off with a quick tutorial. There a few different control types, and this lets you try both out in a playground environment. This playground is also where you begin each time the game is loaded up. So you can race around with your RC car and get reacquainted with the physics before jumping into a game. Being RC cars, the physics are just as wonky as you would expect, but they are consistent. It took me (someone who loves racing games) a little bit of time to adjust to them, but once I did I fell in love even more with this adorable little game.
For such little cars, Motorstorm RC packs more races and cars into its package than one much expect. In true Motorstorm fashion, the environments are diverse and the tracks offer some challenging layouts. Each event gives you the opportunity to earn three medals, and earning medals unlocks more events. The different race-types also give you different objectives to win. Some are pure races, while others require you to pass so many opponents as quickly as possible. Time trials have you racing three ghost lines, and you can do as many laps as possible.
These ghost lines can also be seen if you have set a record on a particular course (or a friends record), which show you your own racing line as a competitive learning tool. This actually helped me obtain a Gold on a particular event that I struggled with, so it pays to pay attention and learn from previous attempts. It even has leaderboards so you can see how your friends are doing.
Each car class handles distinctively different. Big trucks take make you take corners with caution so you don’t hit a small hill out of outskirts of the track and flip over. The smaller cars don’t get as much speed, but can take corners with much more finesse than other vehicles. Noticeably missing, though, is any sort of boost. While it seems a little unusual not to include a boost feature, it also seems a little unneeded. The cars fly around the tracks as it is, and the tracks only have small sections that are straight.
Little additions can be bought from the Playstation Store, like cars and new festivals (a collection of events), too. Sony is offering the Vita version for free, which is an absolute steal. Even at $10 USD, this game would make a fine addition to anyone’s collection.