Plant This!


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Plant This!

JoshOne of the more unique tower defense titles that's been released this year, Plant This! is a highly-stylized, maze-based strategy game. Instead of featuring a pre-defined path for "creeps" to follow like we see in most tower defense games, it employs the "open field" design, in which you create the path by using your towers to corral the creeps down the map as inefficiently—or slowly—as possible. Plant This! features a pretty slick graphics engine and contemporary interface, even by download-game standards. The music and sound effects really complement the lighthearted "garden" theme, helping to make it accessible to most kids as well as adults.

plantthis1.jpgThat's not to say it's a kiddie game, though. Despite the floral-themed tower array and cutesy cadre of insect creeps, even the most hardened tower defense vets will find a challenge here, especially past the "easy" setting. That said, the storyline is a bit ridiculous, placing you in the role of "Gopher," some sort of laboratory-designed super-rodent who used to play chess with his lab professor before being tasked with defending gardens from an onslaught of invading bugs. Okay, maybe it's more than a bit ridiculous. But that doesn't detract from the cool gameplay, which is what really makes this game noteworthy. Even though I'm crazy about tower defense games, I was never really attracted to the "open field" subset of the genre, found in titles like Desktop Tower Defense. I can't easily articulate why; I suppose I just found it counter-intuitive to waste resources on towers (rather than cheap walls or blocks) to create a forced path for creeps to follow.

But Plant This! just makes it work (mostly by using a combination of gameplay mechanics that usually aren't implemented—all together—in the same game). For one thing, you receive the full amount of money back when you sell a flower-tower, making it easier to correct mistakes. Also, the basic flower (a sunflower) is super-cheap at only five bucks apiece. This makes it easy to use them as building blocks to form your maze, while only spending more cash upgrading specific ones as you see fit. There are a nice variety of flowers as well, and you won't have to wait until the end of the game to unlock them all. A new one automatically gets unlocked every few stages. You'll find your typical "slowing" towers, area-of-effect towers and rapid-fire towers, as well as a few that are unique to this game's mechanics, like the tulip (which can be used to fill smaller gaps in your maze) and flowers that counter specific abilities of creeps, like jumping.

The overall objective is pretty standard fare: bugs will enter the field from the top of the screen in waves, trying to reach the bottom. Every bug that successfully reaches the bottom of the field will subtract one "life" from you until you reach zero, at which point you lose. The tutorial stage does a pretty good job of prepping you, although it's still a bit unclear as to how the bugs' "pathing" works. Through trial-and-error you can begin to predict how they'll react to things like dead-ends, or whether or not they'll turn right or left when presented with the choice. Still, a little more clarification would have been helpful. Trying to design the "perfect maze" quickly becomes an addictive factor in the gameplay. The longer the bugs are exposed, the easier it becomes to destroy them. You'll find yourself trying to design long "fake-out" corridors in the maze, causing them to turn around and retrace their steps. The key is making their journey from one end of the field to the other as inefficient for them as possible, and placing the right combination of towers throughout the field (as well as keeping them upgraded).

plantthis2.jpgFlowers are upgraded in ranks, up to a maximum of five. The cost of upgrading each flower is relative to its base cost, so expensive towers will cost a lot more to upgrade. Like many tower defense games, it's usually better to upgrade a smaller number of towers to max rank than to upgrade a lot of towers to mid-rank. In addition to planting flowers, there are several other ways to defend your garden. Every once in awhile, a "special" bug will come out mixed in a wave of creeps. You can click on these bugs to have all nearby flowers target it, which will focus their attacks on it. Once it's destroyed, it will do a number of things depending on what color it is, like giving you an extra life, or freezing all nearby bugs in place. You also have a "Squish" ability that's a little less useful than it sounds. By planting a flower on a bug, it will damage it or trap it (I found this to be inconsistent sometimes, probably a "bug"—ha ha—in the gameplay). Use at your own discretion, although you can always sell the flower to get your money back.

Analysis: There's enough content and well-designed gameplay in Plant This! to keep it fun and interesting through multiple sessions, whether it's for 15 minutes or a couple of hours. Fifty levels spanning over three difficulty modes is a respectable amount of content, and there are lots of staged events throughout, like alterations of the field (sometimes a pain in the neck) and even "toy" bosses and mini-bosses. Thankfully, your carefully-designed mazes persist through 10 levels, so you don't have to start from scratch too annoyingly often. The game does have its downfalls though, most of which are preference-based. There's no "relaxed" mode, which is something players have complained about. The wave timer is always ticking down, sometimes making it tough to re-design and tweak your maze before more bugs are on the way. As mentioned, creep pathing isn't always obvious, and the "invisible grid" of flower placement versus that pathing isn't well-defined. Sometimes you won't be able to predict whether or not a creep will be able to get through unless you actually let one try.

Achievement-junkies will appreciate the various "trophies" that can be earned in-game, as well as the emphasis that's placed on scoring. There are some cute little distractions like your "flower book" and "bug jar," both of which can be referenced to review what you've encountered and unlocked. Aside from the few setbacks it faces, Plant This! proves to be a well-polished and stylish game that will attract many players who usually don't enjoy tower defense games. Most fans of the genre will love it, and fans of the "open-field" or "maze" tower defense subsets will go absolutely bonkers for it.

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

Walkthrough Guide


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Strategy Guide
The Flowers

  • Sunflowers harness the power of the sun against the invading bugs - These are your basic tower, and do decent damage when fully upgraded.

  • Daisys are fast and can do great work against a mass of weaker units - These are great to have towards the end of your maze to take out any weak units that might have slipped by, also great against air, and fast units.

  • Daffodils stun units using powerful projectiles. Upgraded Daffodils stun longer - These are great to have spread around your maze to help slow down units, especially bosses and mini bosses

  • Roses have sharp thorns than damage anything it touches. It's thorn spins effect multiple units at once. - These do great against groups of weak enemies, and against the enemies that pop out smaller ones after you kill them. The tiny spiders don't stand a chance against a few upgraded roses.

  • Moonflowers are short in range, but the most powerful flower in the game. Best paired up with daffodils - Use these in combination with daffodils in parts of your maze that get a lot of exposure to the bugs to maximuze their effectiveness.

  • Lilys are tall enough to rabbits from jumping over them - make a wall of these along to bottom of your maze to prevent jumping bugs from skipping your maze and going right for the exit. Works well with Roses against jumping bugs.

  • Tulips are small flowers and can patch up small gaps in your garden - These are usefull in patching gaps in your garden especially after events happen that can leave you with a lot of holes.

  • Crows sharp blades go through anything it touches and can damage multiple enemies at once - Similar to a rose but stronger, and their blades only travel in one direction at a time.

  • Puff goes puff. Puffs are superior long range flowers - Having these around the middle of your maze will give them almost total exposure.

  • Thislefluffs are tough flowers for tough enemies - These flowers have great range and are very powerful. Once these are unlocked they should become a core part of your maze.

General Strategies

  • The pathing in this game works a little different from what you might be used to in other tower defence games. The bugs in this one will actually backtrack. The tutorial gives you a good idea of how you can use this to your advantage.

  • During the first few levels of each new area use sunflowers to plan out and test the pathing of your maze. Since towers sell for full value you can go back and replace the sunflowers with better towers once you have your maze laid out.

  • Use special bugs efficiently. The freeze bugs are best when there is a big group near them. The popper bugs will push bugs upwards over your towers wich will cause them to start going through your maze again, but if you push them up in the wrong spot it's possible to make it faster for them depending on your maze.

  • When the mowers show up in the later levels make sure you have sunflowers ready to fill in gaps that the mowers will make in your maze before the regular bugs get through.

  • It's better to have a few fully upgraded towers in your maze than a lot of weak ones. Try upgrading in groups of 3-5 at a time then move onto some different flowers once they are level 5.

  • Mix and match tower types. Different towers are better for different units, and some towers work well together, like the moonflower and daffodils.

  • Pay attention to the events that happen during the game as they will often leave new gaps in your garden that you will need to fill up.

  • Take your time! Even though the clock is ticking down there isn't too big of a rush. If you have trouble with a level try beating it slower, don't send every wave at once.

Events

  • Level 2: Upgrade! Unlock upgradable flowers, and unlock the daisy

  • Level 3: Enter spring - Attention! Spring time! Your garden advances! - Your graden will become a few tiles longer

  • Level 5: The aftermath - Unlock the Daffodil flower.

  • Level 6: Covered with moss - Attention! A new coat of moss expands your garden! - Your garden will become even longer now

  • Level 7: Red invasion. - Attention! Invasion of the ants! Prepare for a relentless assault! - This means that this is just one long wave of enemies instead of several small ones.

  • Level 8: Tick Madness - Unlock the Rose.

  • Level 10: Jump jump carnage - Unlock the Moon flower

  • Level 12: A Gathering - Unlock the Daffodil

  • Level 13: Spiders more! - Attention! A sandstorm covers your garden! - Your garden will be covered in sand now. No effect yet.

  • Level 14: Holy moly roli poli! - Attention! Did the rocks just shrink? You better rebuild immediately! - The rocks near the top of your garden shrunk, and will now have gaps in them.

  • Level 15: Snails, Slugs, & wasp! - Unlock the Tulip.

  • Level 16: Flying menace - Attention! Prepare for a rocky path! Your garden expands! - Your garden will grow a few tiles in length.

  • Level 17: A sawrm of bees! - Attention! Did the rocks just shrink again? You better rebuild! - The rocks shrunk again, fill in the gaps before you start the first wave.

  • Level 22: End of spring! - Unlock Crow flowers.

  • Level 23: A field of mice! - Attention! Enter Autumn, your garden exapands! - Your garden will increase in length

  • Level 24: The vortex! - Attention! What happened to the pond? - The pond begins to change. No effect yet. But once there is a pit there enemies will occasionally spawn from the pond.

  • Level 28: Bubble Bubble! - Attention! Your garden expainds! - Your garden increases in length again.

  • Level 31: Power puffs! - Unlock the Puff flower.

  • Level 33: Crystal Clear!- Attention! The falling leaved expand your garden! - Again your garden expands.

  • Level 37: Snowfall - Attention! Enter winter, your garden expands! - If you don't know what your garden expands by now I give up.

  • Level 38: Powdered Ground - Attention! Your garden has changed, not just covered in snow! - The bugs can now climb over the snow on the logs, bypassing parts of your maze. Plug those gaps!

  • Level 41: Snowbound - Attention! The ice expands your garden! - More space = more flowers!

  • Level 43: Blizzard! Attention! The snow covers more of your garden! - More snow for those pexky bugs to climb up. Plug those gaps!

  • Level 46: The melting pot. - Attention! The snow is melting! - Your garden expands.

  • Level 48: Dealdly Formation. - Attention! The snow melts and your garden has changed! - Another expansion just in time for the final boss!

Hope the guide helped! :D

2 Comments

Strategy Guide
The Flowers

  • Sunflowers harness the power of the sun against the invading bugs - These are your basic tower, and do decent damage when fully upgraded.

  • Daisys are fast and can do great work against a mass of weaker units - These are great to have towards the end of your maze to take out any weak units that might have slipped by, also great against air, and fast units.

  • Daffodils stun units using powerful projectiles. Upgraded Daffodils stun longer - These are great to have spread around your maze to help slow down units, especially bosses and mini bosses

  • Roses have sharp thorns than damage anything it touches. It's thorn spins effect multiple units at once. - These do great against groups of weak enemies, and against the enemies that pop out smaller ones after you kill them. The tiny spiders don't stand a chance against a few upgraded roses.

  • Moonflowers are short in range, but the most powerful flower in the game. Best paired up with daffodils - Use these in combination with daffodils in parts of your maze that get a lot of exposure to the bugs to maximuze their effectiveness.

  • Lilys are tall enough to rabbits from jumping over them - make a wall of these along to bottom of your maze to prevent jumping bugs from skipping your maze and going right for the exit. Works well with Roses against jumping bugs.

  • Tulips are small flowers and can patch up small gaps in your garden - These are usefull in patching gaps in your garden especially after events happen that can leave you with a lot of holes.

  • Crows sharp blades go through anything it touches and can damage multiple enemies at once - Similar to a rose but stronger, and their blades only travel in one direction at a time.

  • Puff goes puff. Puffs are superior long range flowers - Having these around the middle of your maze will give them almost total exposure.

  • Thislefluffs are tough flowers for tough enemies - These flowers have great range and are very powerful. Once these are unlocked they should become a core part of your maze.

General Strategies

  • The pathing in this game works a little different from what you might be used to in other tower defence games. The bugs in this one will actually backtrack. The tutorial gives you a good idea of how you can use this to your advantage.

  • During the first few levels of each new area use sunflowers to plan out and test the pathing of your maze. Since towers sell for full value you can go back and replace the sunflowers with better towers once you have your maze laid out.

  • Use special bugs efficiently. The freeze bugs are best when there is a big group near them. The popper bugs will push bugs upwards over your towers wich will cause them to start going through your maze again, but if you push them up in the wrong spot it's possible to make it faster for them depending on your maze.

  • When the mowers show up in the later levels make sure you have sunflowers ready to fill in gaps that the mowers will make in your maze before the regular bugs get through.

  • It's better to have a few fully upgraded towers in your maze than a lot of weak ones. Try upgrading in groups of 3-5 at a time then move onto some different flowers once they are level 5.

  • Mix and match tower types. Different towers are better for different units, and some towers work well together, like the moonflower and daffodils.

  • Pay attention to the events that happen during the game as they will often leave new gaps in your garden that you will need to fill up.

  • Take your time! Even though the clock is ticking down there isn't too big of a rush. If you have trouble with a level try beating it slower, don't send every wave at once.

Events

  • Level 2: Upgrade! Unlock upgradable flowers, and unlock the daisy

  • Level 3: Enter spring - Attention! Spring time! Your garden advances! - Your graden will become a few tiles longer

  • Level 5: The aftermath - Unlock the Daffodil flower.

  • Level 6: Covered with moss - Attention! A new coat of moss expands your garden! - Your garden will become even longer now

  • Level 7: Red invasion. - Attention! Invasion of the ants! Prepare for a relentless assault! - This means that this is just one long wave of enemies instead of several small ones.

  • Level 8: Tick Madness - Unlock the Rose.

  • Level 10: Jump jump carnage - Unlock the Moon flower

  • Level 12: A Gathering - Unlock the Daffodil

  • Level 13: Spiders more! - Attention! A sandstorm covers your garden! - Your garden will be covered in sand now. No effect yet.

  • Level 14: Holy moly roli poli! - Attention! Did the rocks just shrink? You better rebuild immediately! - The rocks near the top of your garden shrunk, and will now have gaps in them.

  • Level 15: Snails, Slugs, & wasp! - Unlock the Tulip.

  • Level 16: Flying menace - Attention! Prepare for a rocky path! Your garden expands! - Your garden will grow a few tiles in length.

  • Level 17: A sawrm of bees! - Attention! Did the rocks just shrink again? You better rebuild! - The rocks shrunk again, fill in the gaps before you start the first wave.

  • Level 22: End of spring! - Unlock Crow flowers.

  • Level 23: A field of mice! - Attention! Enter Autumn, your garden exapands! - Your garden will increase in length

  • Level 24: The vortex! - Attention! What happened to the pond? - The pond begins to change. No effect yet. But once there is a pit there enemies will occasionally spawn from the pond.

  • Level 28: Bubble Bubble! - Attention! Your garden expainds! - Your garden increases in length again.

  • Level 31: Power puffs! - Unlock the Puff flower.

  • Level 33: Crystal Clear!- Attention! The falling leaved expand your garden! - Again your garden expands.

  • Level 37: Snowfall - Attention! Enter winter, your garden expands! - If you don't know what your garden expands by now I give up.

  • Level 38: Powdered Ground - Attention! Your garden has changed, not just covered in snow! - The bugs can now climb over the snow on the logs, bypassing parts of your maze. Plug those gaps!

  • Level 41: Snowbound - Attention! The ice expands your garden! - More space = more flowers!

  • Level 43: Blizzard! Attention! The snow covers more of your garden! - More snow for those pexky bugs to climb up. Plug those gaps!

  • Level 46: The melting pot. - Attention! The snow is melting! - Your garden expands.

  • Level 48: Dealdly Formation. - Attention! The snow melts and your garden has changed! - Another expansion just in time for the final boss!

Hope the guide helped! :D

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