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iPad HD ($6.99)
iPhone HD ($2.99)
For Halloween, instead of gorging myself on Kit-Kats*, I am indulging by sharing with you my all-time personal favorite app. I have played Plants vs. Zombies more than I feel comfortable admitting to friends and family.
*I may also gorge myself on Kit-Kats.
I LOVE scary movies...and, when available, I really enjoy games and apps based on scary movies.
So, although, I know the subtitle says "best educational apps," today I'm giving myself a Halloween present by reviewing my favorite app: Plants vs. Zombies, one of the most-downloaded apps in the history of the App Store not named Angry Birds and winner over 20 Game-of-the-Year awards.
**Consider this app only for older kids or yourself!**
In Plants vs. Zombies, your house is under constant bombardment from a horde of the George Romero-type slow-walking zombies made famous in the 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. In a hilarious, modern twist on the genre, the app also presents zombie-giants, zombies who try to use various things they have found as shields and helmets, zombies on pogo sticks, zombies driving zambonis, etc. The app has an excellent sense of humor, spawned from the Return of the Living Dead series of the 1980s, which are actually more dark comedy than horror.
Moving on...the app also takes from that series the zombies' ultimate goal: to eat your brain. This is a dietary selectivity not shown in almost every other zombie flick, including the extremely-non-dietarily-selective zombies of the recent 28 Days Later series.
None of that sort of thing is shown, of course, in the app but it is a part of the game, so you can decide if your kids are old enough or if you want them to play the app at all. The only violent images in the app are cartoonish, such as the zombies exploding or falling to pieces. Certainly nothing worse than what we grew up with watching Looney Tunes or Tom & Jerry and much less violent than most of what I see on violent-crime-obsessed prime-time TV.
Except maybe the wanting-to-eat-your-brain part.
Luckily, you have at your disposal an entire army of very unique plants that can defend you from the zombie intruders: Pea plants that shoot peas, corn stalks that catapult corn kernels, awesomely-giant globs of butter that momentarily stun the zombies, chili peppers that wipe out an entire row of zombies at a time with their spiciness, and so, so, much more.
The game engine works very simply. You use money, in the form of sunshine, to buy more plants to try to keep the zombies at bay. Sunshine falls from the sky during the day and can also be generated using flowers and special mushrooms.
There are 50 levels (day, night, fog, backyard, swimming pool, rooftop), 49 species of attack-plants and 26 types of zombies in the base game and, beyond that, there are a ton of mini-games to finish and other accomplishments to tackle...AND the extra stuff is different on the iPad and iPhone version, requiring die-hard fans like me to buy and finish both. The developer has expanded the contents of the app significantly with numerous free updates since its release.
I don't recommend it for younger kids for obvious reasons, but if you think it's something your older kids or you might enjoy, then Plants vs. Zombies a must-buy, especially on Halloween...