Mobile gaming has really come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. With phones like the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the newly-unveiled Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, we're essentially getting powerful portable games consoles in handset form.
And you only need to look at some of the more recent game releases, such as the iOS version of Resident Evil 4, to see how far we've come from flinging 2D birds at pigs, or moving a few Gummy Bears around a screen.
But that said, there's still something satisfying in playing a casual phone game every so often. In fact, there's really nothing better for a short commute to work or to while away some time between favourite TV shows.
That's why I'm thrilled about the news that Plants vs Zombies is back. It was one of the first phone games that I got hooked on after Snake in the 90s. The PopCap title took one of my favourite genres, Tower Defence, slapped a whole load of humour on top and I even still play the original today.
It spawned a whole franchise, including the multiplayer online shooter series, Garden Warfare, while a mobile sequel did arrive in the form of the equally great PvZ 2. However, that was in 2013 and we've nary a sniff of a follow-up since.
Until now, that is. EA and PopCap have, almost 11 years later, "soft-released" Plants vs Zombies 3: Welcome to Zomburbia for iOS, iPadOS and Android. It's currently on limited availability in the UK, Netherlands, Australia, and the Philippines and I couldn't be any happier.
Just starting the game up for the first time and it is reassuringly familiar. There's a brand-new storyline that effectively once again has to protecting gardens from the undead, and new puzzle-adventure elements have been added to jeuje up the gameplay a notch.
Once again, the game is free to download (from the Apple App Store here and Google Play here) and there are in-app purchases for extra coins to buy new plants with. And you are limited to five lives before needing to wait for them to refresh (or buy more). But, this is par for the course these days (outside of Apple Arcade and Netflix Games), and I've managed a good few hours out of PvZ 3 without needing to spend a single penny so far.
So welcome back Plants vs Zombies, you've been gone far too long. We really needed something new to test our brainzzzzzzz!