Pumpkins Vs Monsters: Another Plant Vs Zombies imitator but with a pleasant twist
If I have to think of redefining mobile phone games then it’s no surprise that Angry Birds and Plants Vs Zombies come to mind. It’s also no surprise that a flurry of cheap copies came rushing out onto the mobile market trying to exploit the successes of both games. Some of these games try to gain association by either game name, graphics , gameplay or a mixture of these qualities. Pumpkin Vs Monsters definitely has used name association. Is that only where it ends? Read on to find out.
Gameplay wise Pumpkin Vs Monsters (PvM from now on) has taken the core elements of tower defence. You are tasked with defending the bottom of the screen from monsters that inch slowly towards you ready to take over your precious pumpkin patch and quite possibly your brain too! Thankfully you have the periodic sprouting pumpkins on your 7 by 4 grid patch to defend yourself against the onslaught. Pumpkins however need to be grouped into at least 3 of the same colour together with at least one of them on the front row in order to be hurled as your defensive weapon. The halloween fruits can be arranged by sliding them in either of four directions, space permitting, around the soil patch allowing you to build up your pumpkin groups accordingly.
You start with only two pumpkin colours, yellow and green, however more colours are unlocked in later levels. The monsters drop gold coins and additional pumpkins when they die which you need to tap on to collect so you need to not only concentrate on looking at the bottom of the screen arranging your pumpkins but also the middle to collect coins and reenforce your pumpkin reserves. The coins allow you to buy power ups for your pumpkins as well as extra items to help you defend yourself. These include shields to fix damaged protective hedges (much like the lawn mowers in Plants Vs Zombies), dynamite to dispose of monsters and pumpkin mines just to name a few.
A nice feature of PvM are the purple gems that allow you to have a spin on the PvM fruit machine. Normal fruit machine dynamics apply here and you have a chance to win extra coins and additional items. You are provided a purple gem a day so gives you something to look forward to adding some good replay value.
In terms of game difficulty, I found it was fairly easy for the first 10 or so levels but got difficult very quickly. This was mostly due to the fact that I had no idea what the items did at the top of screen and how I can use them. There was no tutorial as such and even in the shop where you can buy additional items there is no explanation. This is quite a big mistake that I hope the developers will address. Other than that I liked the colour coordinated monsters that are resistant against a particular pumpkin colour and weak against others. This added a challenging and addictive gameplay dimension as you are constantly assessing whether to take time to arrange your pumpkins to maximise the damage or use a shotgun approach to blindly throw any group of colour.
The presentation of PvM is solid, the monster designs are very clear making them instantly recognisable and background settings appropriately graveyard themed. Sound and music is also fairly well suited although the music made me think of haunted castle rather than monster graveyard but it’s close enough. Unfortunately the branding is no way near as strong and polished as Plants Vs Zombies but still not bad.
Verdict: 4/5 PvM is a respectable game in it’s own right, personally I think the gameplay elements are strong and different enough enough to not need the Plants Vs Zombies association in its title. It’s just making people compare itself unnecessarily which doesn’t do itself any favours. That aside, PvM is a fun and addictive match-3 puzzle game, definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre.