Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle and other great titles from soon-to-be acquired PopCap Games

Jun 28, 2011
Games

Even if you don’t instantly recognize the name PopCap Games, you will likely recognize its games. Founded in 2000, the company has developed hits such as the match-three mega-hit Bejeweled, the wordy Bookworm and the critically (as well as customer) acclaimed Plants vs. Zombies. Originally a force in the PC market, due to its free […]

Even if you don’t instantly recognize the name PopCap Games, you will likely recognize its games. Founded in 2000, the company has developed hits such as the match-three mega-hit Bejeweled, the wordy Bookworm and the critically (as well as customer) acclaimed Plants vs. Zombies.

Originally a force in the PC market, due to its free trials as well as quality games, PopCap has expanded to just about every video game system available in recent years. A big name in mobile gaming since Bejeweled 2’s July 2008 release, the company has also released four of their games for Android this year.

This past week, though, PopCap has been in the news not for its catalogue of games, but instead for the rumored $1 billion purchase of the Seattle-based business by gaming giant Electronic Arts. In the past year, EA has also purchased iOS stalwarts Firemint and Chillingo.

So, should this rumor become fact, what kind of games will EA be adding to its already large App Store army? Long story short, a collection of casual gaming hits that are among the finest the iPhone has to offer.

Bejeweled 2 + Blitz ($0.99)

PopCap’s flagship game, and the first many think of when it comes to match-three games, Bejeweled 2 has become one of the video game world’s most popular puzzle titles. The iOS version of the game features three game modes – Classic, Action and Endless Play – as well as both portrait and landscape display options. Ambitious gamers who don’t stop at matching just three can earn specials including gems and hypercubes, while those who are more braggadocious can post scores to Facebook. Bejeweled 2 also has a nice, colorful display and simply controls, meaning its lofty standing among casual gamers is well deserved.

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Bookworm ($2.99)

While it doesn’t have the massive exposure of Bejeweled 2, Bookworm ($2.99) certainly has a large following in the word-loving iOS community. Players create words of three or more letters, all the while keeping an eye on special tiles that can award you points or burn your library down, ending the game. Light on modes, the game remains somewhere between very compelling and insanely addictive, with the simple high score and book collection features enough to keep many gamers coming back. The one big complaint is about the buggy shuffle tiles feature, which requires you to shake your device but is a hit-or-miss proposition.

Chuzzle ($2.99)

Another match-three game, Chuzzle offers a different type of gameplay in a fuzzy and cutesy package. Presented with 36 Chuzzles in multiple colors, gamers drag rows and columns in hopes of matching three-or-more to earn points. An impressive four game modes grace the iOS version, as well as specials such as Giant, Rainbow and Super Chuzzles. There’s also a trophy room to help re-live your greatest gaming moments, giving this game an impressive amount of depth. It’s tough to stand out in the crowded match-three genre, though Chuzzle is undoubtedly one of the best of the bunch.

Escape Rosecliff Island ($1.99)

Escape Rosecliff Island is a much different PopCap offering, a hidden object-based thriller instead of the more typical casual puzzler for which the company is known. The game trades vibrant, colorful graphics for impressively detailed and much darker ones, with 25 scenes and more than 2,000 clues included. There are three game modes and five mini-games, as well as a much needed hint button. The bad news is that bugs have been an issue for a number of users, though the good news is that this doesn’t affect everyone.

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Peggle ($2.99)

Back to what the company does best – or at least more often – Peggle is often cited as an essential iOS game for casual gamers, and for good reason. Across 55 levels users are challenged to remove 25 orange pegs with a ball launcher (and 12 balls at the start) located at the top of the screen. Among the four game modes include a multiplayer Duel mode, while bonus-inducing trick shots and the ability to save shot replays add a bit of style to a game that’s full of substance. The Peggle Nights in-app purchase ($2.99) brings more levels for those who can’t get enough of the original – a common reaction to Peggle.

Plants vs Zombies ($2.99)

Of all PopCap’s games, none have the overwhelmingly positive feedback of Plants vs Zombies. Originally a wildly-popular PC game, this equally-popular iOS game has you place plants and fungi with special zombie-zapping powers around a house in hopes of protecting it from the swarm of undead. There are nearly 50 plants and more than 25 zombies, each with unique abilities, as well as 50 levels to enjoy. The cartoon-style graphics may not be for everyone, but its musical score is almost universally praised, and it is cited by many as the best tower defense game that the App Store has to offer.

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