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First Look: Plants vs. Zombies Heroes for iOS

Electronic Arts soft-launched Plants vs. Zombies Heroes in New Zealand, and I tried the app to tell you if it´s worth the download once it reaches worldwide mobile stores.

For starters, Heroes took ages, not to download to my iPad, but to download its in-app content. Not a big deal, but that means you will have to wait a good few minutes to skip to the next screen, an age confirmation. (The animation is quite fun, with girl and boy peanuts growing up as you slide the sun-seed age bar, although the noise can be quite annoying, so I recommend you lower the volume right before selecting your age.)

Heroes is a universal app, and it will look good on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Nevertheless, your will have to play in portrait mode – understandable for small-screened devices, but not for bigger-estate tablets. As with most games, Heroes guides you through the process of getting used to the controls and tactics.

Heroes isn´t your usual Plants vs. Zombies app; think of it as a card game where your moves are limited. It has a comic narrative with 20 characters that include Green Shadow, a peashooter with Power Blast superpowers, and Super Brainz, “Zomboss’s secret weapon with a powerful punch and fondness for hair gel.”

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Tap on a card and you will get a quick description of the character´s super –or not so– power, and its classification (flower, fire peashooter, pea plant), as well as the type of power-ups or tools you have come across.

I enjoy Plant vs. Zombies´ artwork, as it doesn´t look as “cheap” as other card games in the App Store. But I´m not sure I´m a big fan of the turn-by-turn gameplay, as these type of apps tell you what you can do next. There´s a point where Heroes lets you choose your moves, but it doesn´t stop guiding you completely. (You still get white text on what to do next if you´re stuck and don´t know what to do.)

Call it personal preference, but I like the original PvZ better; cover your backyard with – okay, not so random – plants and avoid the zombies from entering your master´s home.

Surprisingly enough, the 142 MB game doesn´t come with in-app purchases. At least, the soft-launch version. And in case EA decides it wants your money, make sure you block in-app purchases. That way you can have peace of mind when leaving toddlers unattended playing Heroes, and for that matter, any mobile game.

Heroes will be available soon in mobile stores around the world, but you can create an Apple ID from New Zealand without a debit card (just make sure you search for a local address and telephone number on Google) and try it today.

Download Plants vs. Zombies for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch with iOS 8 or later