Plants vs. Zombies

Common Sense Media says

Campy, silly zombie romp has plants saving the day.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

This is a campy game about using plants to protect your family from zombies.

Positive role models

You are a gardener using destructive plants to save your home from invading zombies. You are the good guy in this crazy, silly world.

Ease of play
Not applicable

There's no blood, but you are killing zombies, not with guns, but by placing plants that shoot things that kill the monsters. The destructive plants come is a variety of funny and effective varieties, including pea shooters, jalapeno bombs, potato mines, and cabbage-pults. One kind of zombie is wearing a bucket on its head that shows a streak of blood.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents needs to know that this PC game contains a fair amount of mild fantasy violence. But that is done is a silly, campy manner because the game is about defending your home from zombies by planting plants to stop them. All the plants can shoot at the zombies, but they do it on their own once you plant them. You do not aim and shoot the undead, you are the strategist. The zombies either fall down or occasionally lose a limb.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

PopCap is known for intriguing casual games like Bejeweled and Peggle. With PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES, a humorous riff on tower defense strategy games, you have to save your house from zombies who want to invade your happy home and – cue the B-movie organ music -- chew up your brains. And you do it by planting plants at stategic places in your backyard.

This PC game falls into the category of being simple to learn, but challenging to master. Once the adventure portion of the game begins, you see a suburban house and a yard, the latter of which is your battleground. You click on a plant in the upper left portion of your computer screen which will give you sunlight or which will attack the slow but steady onslaught of zombies. Then, you place a plant by clicking on a portion of your yard. Clicking on sunlight dropping in your yard provides you with points with which to buy new plants. The strategy comes in when you must choose from a variety of plants which do different kinds of damage to different kinds of zombies.

Is it any good?


This tower defense game feels quite new because of the humor injected by the developers, like the undead soul who dons Michael Jackson's "Thriller" outfit. With nearly 50 unlockable plants with which to war against nearly two dozen kinds of zombies, you'll be testing out ways to blow up, freeze, or burn zombies like Buckethead, who's very tough to kill or Screen Door, who is best annihilated by a Fume Shroom whose spores pass through the screen shield to gas the lunking monster. When all else fails, a cherry bomb plant will blow up and burn nearby zombies to a crisp. (You don't see them burn, though, due to the bomb's cloud.)

When hordes of zombies head at you at one time, it's a complete rush. You hurry to place your plants and collect your sunlight as if nothing else matters. As you progress in the game, you unlock mini games and a survival mode. It really gets tough when a creeping fog is introduced. While Plants vs. Zombies is a terrific experience, it's not as tough as, say, Sony's PixelJunk Monsters, which, with each level, features a different layout and approach paths for the creeps who deign to destroy your kingdom. Yet it's just as cute and charming and almost as hard to beat.

Families can talk about...

  • Parents can talk about strategies for winning the game. If hint videos were on YouTube, would you go there to check them out? Or would that be considered cheating?

  • Which are cooler, the crazy plants with cool powerups or the whacked out zombies?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, Windows
Available online?Not available online
Developer:PopCap Games
Release date:May 5, 2009
ESRB rating:E10+ for ANimated Blood, Cartoon Violence (Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Plants vs. Zombies was written by

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  • 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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Learning ratings

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

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old February 27, 2011
Great game I also have for iPod touch. Because it's a strategic game it is often beyond small kids though they may enjoy watching, my 7 year old sibling can't play very well but is catching on to the technique adores watching it, my 9 year sibling can play well and likes to watch it. A great game for the whole family, don't worry about the violence, it is practically nonexistent with only the heads rolling off when the zombie dies. Mostly however it is just a lot of goofy kid fun.
Parent of a 5, 12, and 12 year old Written byLady Kataana March 23, 2011


It's hilarious. It gets their problem solving gears going and we giggle at the descriptions. It's awesome.
What other families should know
Educational value
Teen, 14 years old Written bygogi May 14, 2009


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