I’m a little — okay, a lot — addicted to the recently released Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time by developer PopCap Games. The original Plants vs. Zombies has been steadily expanding from computers and home gaming consoles to Facebook and various mobile platforms since its introduction in 2009 — apparently I am the last passenger aboard this particular bandwagon. In both games, the player fights off goofy zombie hordes with an array of plant weapons that shoot, pummel, explode, etc. But as the title suggests, It’s About Time transports the player through time and space to fight zombies in ancient Egypt, a pirate ship, the Wild West, and, in an as-yet unreleased level, the future.
Being both a zombie fan and a vegetarian, I find the idea of battling the carnivorous undead with the power of vegetables oddly compelling. And, as long as you can keep your swearing under your breath, it makes excellent entertainment for a subway commute.
Imagine my excitement to see a Plants vs. Zombies activity book come into the office. My excitement was short-lived, though: Emily C. Hughes’s Brain Busters (Harper, September 2013) offers 212 pages of pretty standard crosswords, sudoku, word puzzles, spot-the-difference games, and mazes with a Plants vs. Zombies franchise flair. Some drawing and writing prompts (zombie limericks, anyone?) add a creative thinking aspect. Although the puzzles and brain teasers may well help PvZ players sharpen their wits for improved gaming, it’s hard to imagine a hardcore fan of the game tearing her or his attention from the screen to this book — at least, not before the battery runs out.