Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Today has had a bit of an undead flavour to it (insert appropriate spooky noises here - thunderclaps, creaking floorboards, sinister laughter - that sort of thing).

To precis - lie in, walk in the woods, rake the leaves off the lawn, nice cup of coffee, a bit more work on Java methods and then lunch. It was around this time that somebody mentioned on Twitter that 'Plants vs Zombies' was on sale on the app store, so I went and downloaded it, having enjoyed the demo version on my Mac a while back.

Four hours later ...

Hoo boy, what a splendidly addictive game. If you haven't played it, it's a fairly straightforward tower defense sort of game, but the hook is that each level introduces a new plant to add to your armory, a different layout to the yard that you are defending, new types of zombies requiring a change in tactics or even night time levels with mushrooms to plant instead. There are different play formats as well, including speed rounds and 'whack a zombie' variants to spice things up a bit. The upshot of this is to make it nearly impossible to play a level without wanting to try the next one to see what that is like too.

The other zombie related item was the Undead Nightmare pack for Red Dead Redemption which adds a new single player campaign in which the Wild West is overrun by creatures rising from the grave. It is surprisingly spooky, as well as upping the difficulty with very limited ammo and headshots being a must to finish off the zombies. The most effective weapon turns out to be a flaming torch to set zombies on fire, although they still lurch after you for a while before finally succumbing.

Talking of westerns, last night's movie was Dead Man's Shoes from director Shane Meadows and co-written with star Paddy Considine. It concerns an ex soldier returning to take revenge on the gang of small time thugs and drug dealers who bullied, humiliated and abused his younger brother. It veers from black comedy, to stark tragedy as the tale unfolds, with an electrifying performance by Considine in the lead role. It put me in mind of High Plains Drifter in places, with a nightmarish edge to it. Well worth a watch, and it proves that you don't need big budgets or showy special effects to make a movie that will have you gripped from start to finish.

No comments: