PopCap Hits! Vol 2 Review

By Darryl Kaye on March 10, 2011

Downloadable titles are become a real driving force in the industry, and PopCap Games are leading the way. Following on from last month's release of PopCap Hits!, which featured Peggle, Feeding Frenzy, AstroPop and Bejeweled 2, the publisher has decided that it has even more classic games for people without an internet connection to enjoy. So with that, comes PopCap Hits! Volume 2, which features another four games from PopCap's library.

As with the previous review, as there are four titles featured on the game disc, we'll talk about each of them separately in alphabetical order. That means the first game this time is Heavy Weapon. Originally a flash game, Heavy Weapon was released on Xbox Live Arcade in 2005. You control a tank, which is capable of moving along the bottom of the screen, and you must fire upwards at moving targets. All the time, the screen is auto-scrolling to the right.

The aim here is to try and get as many points as possible, all while evading projectiles which are being fired at you. It's a very simplistic game though, and there isn't really that much depth. The enemies will change slightly, and there are some boss fights, but its lasting appeal is very short.

Second in the compilation is Feeding Frenzy 2. It follows an almost identical premise to the original title, with the sole aim being to eat smaller fish than your own fish. There's a campaign with numerous levels, but the levels are all incredibly short. You only have to grow in size twice to be able to eat everything on the screen, and when you get to that stage, the level ends very quickly.

As you play through the campaign, you'll change fish type, which sometimes presents different challenges. For example, you might be placed in the deep sea where it's very dark, and you'll have to eat light sources to increase your vision. There are also some mini-boss fights, which aren't particularly challenging. It provides entertainment in very brief spells, but almost every level feels like the same experience, even with the ability to jump out of the water on some levels.

The third game in this collection is Plants vs. Zombies, a slightly different take on the tower defence genre. A horde of zombies is attempting to invade your house, and you job is to strategically place plants on your lawn to prevent them from reaching it. It might not sound all that complicated, but there are a ton of different plants and zombies featured throughout.

Instead of having a pre-determined path, with the ability to build towers alongside it, Plants vs Zombies has the zombies just walk in a straight line towards the house. You must then place plants in-front of the zombies to try and thwart them. This is where the real strategy comes in, as you'll often have limited resources, so you'll need to place plants effectively in order to defend the house from every angle. This game is easily the best, and most in-depth game, featured in the collection.

Finally, we have Zuma. Many people will be familiar with Zuma, it's been doing the rounds for many years. You control a rotating mask in the middle of the screen, and there are coloured orbs which go along a path around you. You then have the ability to fire a coloured orb, and have it become part of the large chain of coloured orbs. The object, is to try and get orbs to match-up in groups of three or more.

It's actually quite a deep game, as getting the high scores involves setting orbs up for combos. This might mean that you'll often not try to go straight for scoring groups of three, instead choosing to set-up chains. This is possible because when a group disappears, the overall collective re-joins itself, so while you might have had one blue on one side, and two on another, if you get rid of the objects in between they'll join up to make three.

As with the original PopCap Games collection, chances are you will either own, or have played many of these games before, even if you don't think you have. Plants vs. Zombies is the real stand-out title here though, with the other three offering quite a limited experience in comparison.

Final Thoughts

PopCap Hits! Volume 2 offers some more classics from the PopCap Games library, but the line-up doesn't feel as strong as the initial collection. Heavy Weapon and Feeding Frenzy 2, in particular, are games which can be tossed away within a few minutes of playing them. As with the original collection, there is one game that stands out above the rest, and that's Plants vs Zombies.

Plants vs Zombies is part of the collection
It allows people without the internet to check out some XBLA titles
Heavy Weapon and Feeding Frenzy 2 get very old, very quickly
Only one stand-out title
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