Our favorite plant-defense game sprouts up a new serving of fun with Plants vs. Zombies 2, now available from the App Store (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch). Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a free download which, of course, dangles many tempting upgrades or shortcuts for a fee. Whether you buy into that depends on how patient or good you are in the game (at least up until now, I haven’t noticed a need to jump into the in-app purchases).
So I’ve played just about every iteration of the original and very addictive Plants vs. Zombies, as I’m sure many of you have. Just as the tagline appropriately expresses, “It’s About Time” for the long anticipated sequel. I’ve just started digging into Plants vs. Zombies 2 and I can already see the many exciting new features that build upon the foundation of fun from the original. From the start, the colorful illustrations remain faithful to the original but have more animated detail. The tower-defense play area is the same at the core, with some readjustments to the interface placement of meters and plants, which make room for some more cool gameplay options I’ll tell you about shortly.
If you really need to jog your memory on how to play, the opening tutorial is setup like the original Plants vs. Zombies. After that, you’re thrown into a time warp with Crazy Dave and his new side-kick time-traveling car through three main eras (Egypt, Pirate Seas and Wild West – with more promised in the future). Each era has it’s own main map, where you travel around different paths to unlock things such as new plants or perfect gameplay by gaining more completion stars (of which you will need a certain quantity to complete an era, so expect some backtracking).
Yes, there are many new plants to master and fun-dead zombies to defeat. Besides the return of the original essential sunflowers and peashooters, there are now new seedlings such as the Bonk Choy (attacks to the front and behind) and Bloomerang (sends out boomerang petals for double the damage). On the zombie’s side, expect new antics from characters such as the Explorer Zombie (who torches up your plants) and the sun-swiping Ra Zombie. The in-game Almanac helps keep track of the plants you’ve unlocked and zombies you’ve encountered as well as each of their abilities.
Some of the new features you will notice are the Plant Food meter, power upgrade buttons and store icon. Does the action in Plants vs. Zombies 2 get intense? Yes, even more so than the original. At times, the screen is just overwhelmed with zombies, which call for barrages of plant ammo. The Plant Food meter allows you to amp-up your plant’s abilities (think of it as a damage multiplier), which is needed to have a chance at surviving the onslaught of undead. Even the Plant Food meter may eventually run dry, which then calls for using special upgrade abilities such as decapitating, tossing or electrocuting zombies through swipe interactions. Then there’s that store icon, should you succumb to the temptation (or frustration) and need to get coins for more upgrades, plants or bundled items. In-app coin purchases range from $2.99 for 5,000 coins to a whopping $99.99 for 450,000 coins. As I mentioned earlier, there is no cost for downloading Plants vs. Zombies 2. A few hours into the game, I haven’t hit a wall where I felt the need to buy anything. In-app purchases is a touchy and controversial subject for some. We’ll just have to see how it pans out for this game (I did notice several purchase discounts offers in between levels, which may be a bit in-your-face at times).
Plants vs. Zombies 2 also offers up additional challenges by playing through previous levels with a few restrictions, like limiting the amount of plants you can use at a time or the amount of sun you can spend. Expect to do a lot of searching and level backtracking for keys, stars and coins. The music will be familiar to you if you’ve played the original, but the tunes are adapted according to the era you’re in.
So far, I’m enjoying the extra layers of plants, zombies and environments that the imagination of PopCap has managed to conjure up. Free-to-play access and a sequel to one of the best tower-defense games ever make diving into Plants vs. Zombies 2 an easy choice for any zombie. Give it a go and see if tossing a few coins to the developers is worth it.
Download Plants vs. Zombies 2 here from the App Store.