Plants vs. Zombies

Common Sense Media says

Great strategy game with comic but slightly scary violence.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The controls are incredibly easy to understand -- a real feat, considering how many things you can do in this game. The action gets gradually more difficult as you move through the story mode.

Violence

Invading zombies, which moan, "Brains!" as they attack, are destroyed in various ways by the vegetation you plant in your yard. They can have their heads knocked off by literal "pea shooters;" they can be pulled underwater by kelp; they can be turned into black ash by potato mines or cherry bombs. They can also be run down by lawn mowers. The cartoonish zombies are destroyed on screen, but there is never any blood. If you fail to keep the zombies out of your house, a message appears that says, "The zombies ate your brains!"

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Plants vs. Zombies is a cartoony strategy game with farcical violence. The undead invaders are destroyed in creatively wacky ways, similar to the violence you'd see in an "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoon on The Simpsons -- but without any of the blood. It's certainly not meant for very young kids, but despite its horror-film atmosphere, it's a far less disturbing game than any of the real-time strategy games out there that are based on "realistic" warfare.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • time management

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

There's a reason this game has topped the charts for so long. Many of the "weapons" you'll grow are fun puns, and the monsters can be quite funny, too. Plus the strategy aspect is fantastic.

Learning Approach

Players must protect their house by using strategic thinking and deduction. The plants you grow and where you place them are critical to success. 

Support

Players can buy additional units and upgrades after they've won a sufficient number of battles. 

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • time management

Kids can learn strategic thinking and deduction, as well as how to plan ahead in Plants vs. Zombies. Players must protect their house by growing plants in choice spots in their backyard. Different plants do different sorts of damage to different types of zombie attackers, so players must deduce which qualities each plant has. Clicking on sunlight that drops in the yard gives kids points so they can buy new plants. Budgeting is also a skill kids can practice here, since they have a limited amount of resources to build defensive units. Plants vs. Zombies is a goofy exercise in strategy and planning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Players become protective homeowners in Plants vs. Zombies as they guard themselves against an onslaught of freaky but humorous zombies. Fighting off zombies requires players to make strategic moves with flora. They place plants in key locations in their backyard and determine which species are most appropriately used to fight off various zombies.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES is not only one of the most original apps of recent years, but also one of the most addictively fun. The concept of defending your home against an army of the undead by gardening is in itself gloriously unique. Many of the "weapons" you'll grow are fun puns, like "cherry bombs," "pea shooters," and "squash" -- which squashes the zombies. The monsters can be quite funny, too -- a dolphin-riding zombie can attack via the pool; a Michael Jackson-ish zombie can call up an army of back-up dancers. It's not just the humor, though, that makes Plants vs. Zombies so good -- it's the fantastic strategy aspect. The action happens in suspense-laden real time, and exactly when and where you decide to plant specific seeds will determine whether you beat the zombies or lose your delicious brains.

Families can talk about...

  • Try playing a strategic board game, like Stratego, to demonstrate how strategy skills that kids learn in Plants vs. Zombies can translate to other situations.

  • Discuss how learning to plan and conserve resources will be useful to kids in real life -- even though they're unlikely to face a zombie invasion.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Price:$2.99
Release date:February 15, 2010
Category:Strategy Games
Size:34.70 MB
Publisher:PopCap
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later

This review of Plants vs. Zombies was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old April 6, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Just a little violent, but not much.

Basic. You plant plants. And some plants attack, some plants help you get sunlight (you use it to buy plants) and while others, just help you in a different way. It's a thinking game. You got to be careful of where you plant, which plant to pick, and how much. It's very fun, I enjoyed it my self. Though, if you lose a battle..I think this thing comes up. It says ''THE ZOMBIES ATE YOUR BRAINS!'' and blood is gushing down the screen. They have many zombies. But overall, I give it a buy.
What other families should know
Educational value
Parent Written byallamoo July 30, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Nice, safe zombie play

The beauty of PVZ is that the gore is non-existent and the strategy for winning levels revolves around how well you plant your garden.
Teen, 13 years old Written byCosmo4ever July 25, 2010
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

You don't have it?

This game is amazing, and so easy to learn! It is a little violent, but it isn't a big deal. Anyone can learn, maybe even 2 year olds. It's addictive though, so manage your time. If you don't have it, get it!

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