PopCap Games and Android are two things that the majority of Android gamers have always dreamed of working hand in hand. It’s been a long and interesting road for PopCap Games to deliver their first Android game ever since it was reported in 2009 they were working on Android versions of their games, especially since the new kid on the block Windows Phone 7 received a PopCap game before Android.
To say the Android gaming community became upset by PopCap Games supporting Windows Phone 7 before their promised support would be a huge understatement as the Android gaming community still voices their disappointment with PopCap Games on their lack of support for the Android market. I met with PopCap Games’ Editorial Director Jeff Green last night to get a look at some of their upcoming games and it looks like they’re set to keep their promise of their games hitting the Android market this year.
The Android device that was used to demo their games was a Nexus One, which isn’t a high-end Android device compared to an HTC EVO 4G or a Motorola DROID X. I felt this was important to note as it looks like PopCap Games is getting ready to support a large number of Android devices, and not just the higher-end devices. The first game I got to check out was Plants vs. Zombies which performed as well as it does on the iPhone & iPad. The layout of the screen was nearly identical to the iOS version as you’ll be able to choose your plants on the left side of the screen, while the top of the screen shows how much sunshine you’ve collected, as well as your progression through the current level. When selecting your plants, you can either tap the icon of your plant and tap on the screen in order to plant them, or you can tap, hold and drag your plant which allows you to highlight the x and y axis of the playing grid. As you progress through each level, you’ll be presented with a new plant to use in your fight against the undead. It’s a goos thing your arsenal gets better as the Zombies also become stronger in later levels. The only thing I noticed that could be perceived as a problem was how long the game’s initial loading time took, but I was assured this was a very early build and the game hasn’t been optimized yet.
The second game I was able to play was Peggle which is a puzzle game where you shoot an orb into a playing field filled with pegs. The goal is to hit all of the orange pegs in order to progress, but the game rewards you if you hit all of the pegs on a stage with bonuses to your point total. As with Plants vs. Zombies, Peggle on Android had quite a long initial loading time, but once a minute or so passed, the game was fully loaded and performed as well as its iPhone counterpart. In order to aim, all you need to do is drag your finger across the screen to your desired spot. If you need to fine tune your aim, you can tap the screen and you’ll be zoomed in to where you’re currently aiming. From there, you can fine tune your shot. The demo had all of the Peggle characters unlocked and they all looked and performed their special moves just how any Peggle player would expect. From my short time with Peggle, it looks like the game will have levels from both Peggle and Peggle Nights available.
So there you have it Android gamers. PopCap Games has not completely forgotten about you as they’re planning to release both Plants vs. Zombies and Peggle onto the Android Market sometime within Q1 2011. It’s been a long time coming, but like the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait.