PopCap Hits: Volume 2

I don’t know about you, but in recent years I have come to think when in need of something quirky, addictive and great to look at, there is little better in this world to quench your gaming thirst than a PopCap game. Let’s face it, these guys really rule the roost when it comes to delivering nuggets of gaming magic that get lapped up by all and sundry.

In the past 10 years the American company has gone from strength to strength, developing games available for pretty much any electronic device you can think of. They currently distribute over 40 original games, a large number of which are probably known by even the least likely of people. Even my Mum has been known to dabble in a bit of Bejewelled on her Facebook, and she only just about knows how to log in!

The fact is that PopCap know how to mix a perfect blend of elements to make extremely addictive gaming that appeals to a wide audience and in a very short space of time have released games that can undoubtedly be called ‘classics’. Many of these titles have graced Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, but are now being packaged on disc for those who are mad enough to have not tried them yet, the latest being PopCap Hits: Vol 2.

Like its predecessor Vol 1, PopCap Hits offers a collection of four popular PopCap titles. This incarnation includes Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown, Heavy Weapon, Zuma and the almighty Plants Vs Zombies. If you are unfamiliar with any of these games, where the hell have you been? Chances are your average gamer will have experienced at least one of these titles, but fans of the developer will more than likely be interested in experiencing games that they haven’t tried so far for the relatively cheap price of £17.99.

Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown picks up from where the original title left off with lots of fish munching on each other on the bottom of the ocean. Over the space of 60 levels in single player (multi-player options are also available), you will take the role of a variety of fishy friends, where your main aim is to eat other fish in order to grow bigger. As you progress through levels a variety of obstacles come your way, including larger predators such as sharks, mines and jellyfish. Your little finned pal can gobble power ups as well as marine life, all with their own array of abilities which, as the difficulty of the levels increases, become more and more necessary.

Heavy Weapon transports you from sea to land in this fast-paced and hectic side scrolling shooter. You play as an armoured tank with the sole purpose of fighting off a communist army invasion with your variety of attacks. Like many scrolling shooters of a similar style, the ability to survive lies heavily on your capability to keep your eyes on everywhere at once, with attacks coming from all angles, boss levels and depending on which option of play you choose, a very limited number of lives!

Zuma slows down the action, kind of, in this colourful puzzle quest. Similar to styles of games like Puzzle Bobble, you have to eliminate coloured balls by creating groups of each colour before the moving trail of balls reaches the end of the line. Imagine Mission Impossible’s opening sequence with a multicoloured necklace instead of a counting down fuse and you can kind of imagine the predicament at hand. While the game is by no means dull, it is probably the least addictive of the four, which is fine, as you will probably be far too occupied with foliage, fish or mortar attacks flying above your head!

Plants Vs Zombies… is there anything more I can say? Very much like Peggle from PopCap Hits Vol. 1, this is undoubtedly the star if the show. Based on tower defence style play, Plant Vs Zombies is pretty much that! You have an array of plant themed attack and defence mechanisms at your disposal which increase in variety as levels progress. Each item has a price, and you have to earn cash in order to build up your organic army and survive wave upon wave of undead attacks on your garden. Simple? Not quite. If it wasn’t a hell of a lot of fun you could end up throwing your controller at the screen, and even if you did you would still go back for more. This addition to the collection will make it a real bargain as Plants Vs Zombies currently retails at 1200 Credits on XBLA, the equivalent of nearly £7 on its own.

My only criticism is that if you’ve already bought one of the titles, and some of them have been around for a while now, it may be a cheaper investment for you to buy the other games available separately through XBLA. If you’re new to these little gems, then this is definitely an investment worth considering as you will undoubtedly get as much, if not more, gameplay from these four titles than some big retail releases for half the price.


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One response to “PopCap Hits: Volume 2”

  1. Tony avatar
    Tony

    Zuma not addictive? Tell that to my wife who sat up playing it until 3am a couple of nights!

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