I may have been out on holiday, but in the meantime, Plants vs. Zombies has come out. It was made by 2 old friends of mine from the Blizzard days, mentors of sorts, and is just awesome. The 2 of them spent years on this project and it shows – George Fan, the designer, started it only a bit after his previous game, Insanaquarium. Still, the WoW-style timer balancing, the strategic buildup of Chess, and the click-fun of Diablo all mixed together is a winning combination. The tremendous amount of work they did beyond that concept to both lower the accessibility bar and provide depth (so many extra mini-games!) shows how the casual space has become increasingly and increasingly more competitive.
If you haven’t tried it yet, and are looking for crafted, balanced designs or RTS-style casual gameplay, you owe it to yourself to check it out.