Plants vs. Zombies vs. Facebook

What’s the biggest casual game of all time?  Believe it or not, that’s surprisingly tough to say.  Bejeweled has held millions of players in its trance for more than a decade.  Tetris has done the same for even longer than that.  But Plants vs. Zombies?  While it may not be greying at the temples like those other classics, it’s seen little resistance in its attempt to take over the gaming world in just a few short years.

With both the desktop and mobile markets firmly in its grasp, the next target in PvZ’s chloro-filled sights is none other than Facebook.  Plants vs. Zombies Adventures is looking to bring a social twist to the war between the walking dead and the well-watered.  And this time? You’ll be leaving the backyard to do it.

Rather than defending a brick and mortar home, you’ll be living life out on the open road in the comfort of your Winnebago.  While the game will often see you parked on your property, you’ll be heading out on adventures to different locales for a change of scenery.

Plants vs. Zombies Adventures

Speaking of change, one of the most noticeable differences between PvZ Adventures and its predecessors is in how the game is presented.  Rather than defending your land as zombies attack from right to left, you’ll now be defending the environment from a top-down, isometric perspective.  And as you might have guessed, zombies can approach from more than one direction as a result.

And there’ll be plenty of zombies to make that approach.  PopCap are promising new zombies, new plants, and “the most expansive Plants vs. Zombies experience ever.”  Seeing the original plants and zombies modelled in 3D would’ve been cool enough on its own – but new characters too?  While a pretty obvious inclusion, it’s hard to not chalk this one up as a win for PvZ fans everywhere.

The social elements, which is where you’d hope a Facebook game would shine, sound like a unique blending of PvZ personality and midcore social strategy fundamentals.  Players can set up a defensive network around their home base, which can then be attacked by other players who unleash a zombie onslaught their way.  Mean-spirited? Sure.  But then again, so is endlessly begging me for nails and wood so you can finish you damned barn.  I’ve had it with social farmers. Zombies I can take.

The game is currently in a closed beta, and is expected to open up to a wider audience late this spring.  And don’t worry, PvZ faithful – Plants vs. Zombies Adventures won’t be replacing the oft-rumored Plants vs. Zombies 2.  PopCap has confirmed that they’re hard at work on the official sequel, and expect to release it early this summer.