Plants vs. Zombies 2: The Wait is Over

Plants vs. Zombies 2 has been one of most anticipated games of the year. Supported through in-app purchases, this incarnation is certainly going to be distinctive from the original, but is that such a good thing? It’s out first for iOS devices, and I’m taking a look to see whether Plants vs. Zombies 2 stands up to the hype or if it’s just a pale clone of an old favorite.

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The Search For Crazy Dave’s Taco

Those who’ve played Plants vs. Zombies before aren’t going to have any trouble, but if you’re new to protecting your lawn from the undead, there’s a great tutorial in Plants vs. Zombies 2 that will have you fending off the reanimated cadavers laying siege to your homestead in no time. The idea is plant your lawn with greenery to keep your house safe. Each sprout performs a different trick to protect you and ward off the zombies. Pay for each new seedling with sunshine; it falls from the sky, but plant plenty of Sunflowers to line your pockets with a bit of extra sunny dosh.

Crazy Dave will help you through the early levels.

Crazy Dave will help you through the early levels.

Your neighbor, Crazy Dave, is back for Plants vs. Zombies 2. His taco has become lost in time, and you’re going to help him find it. Start off in ancient Egypt, and you’ll know pretty soon that you won’t find that taco there. Dave’s camper van-cum-time machine, nicknamed Penny, is just as dubious as you are, but that doesn’t dissuade Dave. Travel around the map, searching for not only the lost taco but also more plants to add to your arsenal. You’ll also unlock some totally rad power-ups and bonuses, too.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is still a tower defense game, so it’s going to be up to you to make sure those shambling corpses never make it past the final bulwark of zombie-cover, the lawn mowers. Once those are gone, it’s open season on your brains. Remove misplaced or damaged plants with the shovel, and keep repotting your offensive champs, like the Peashooter or Cabbage-pult. There are some great defensive plants, too, such as the Wall-nut, which blocks the zombies’ path, or the Iceberg Lettuce, that freezes a single zombie or extinguishes a torch.

You're protecting more than just your lawn as you travel through time.

You’re protecting more than just your lawn as you travel through time.

Those power-ups I mentioned before will make everything a lot easier. Plant food temporarily super powers a single plant, and each plant reacts differently to plant food. Peashooters quickly blast out a barrage of shells, destroying anything in their path, whereas a Sunflower will turn out a ton of sunshine to finance a few purchases. Power-ups aren’t just for plants, though — you can use them, too! Use the coins you collect or purchase to pinch off zombies’ heads, toss them off of the screen, or even zap them with a bolt of electricity.

Things can get pretty hairy, and power-ups may really help you out in a pinch.

Things can get pretty hairy, and power-ups may really help you out in a pinch.

PvZ 2 as Free-to-Play

You heard right. You can purchase in-game coins with real money. Plants vs. Zombies 2 is free-to-play, but some of the best stuff is bought with in-app purchases using cold, hard cash. It’s not the sort of thing that’s going to be constantly nagging you, though. Plant food shows up on the regular via green, glowing zombies, and I was never short of it. The other power-ups are harder to come by, and you won’t receive coins as readily, but I didn’t really feel a need to pinch or zap zombies anyway. But as always, if you love a free game, especially one as great as Plants vs. Zombies 2, it never hurts to toss a couple bucks in the in-app purchase can.

Man, I want that Snow Pea.

Man, I want that Snow Pea.

I did start to feel the sting when it came to buying plants, though. A lot of really great plants from the last incarnation of Plants vs. Zombies are locked, and the only thing that turns that key is money. There are six plants to buy for $3 each. Among them is my very favorite, the Snow Pea. It packs the offensive punch of the Peashooter, while slowing down the biters. It’s so very sad to see such great plants locked up there and to know that as much as I love this game, I’m never going to lay down the 18 bucks necessary to get all of those sprouts.

Traveling through time with Crazy Dave really is a great adventure.

Traveling through time with Crazy Dave really is a great adventure.

Final Thoughts

The in-app purchases never get in the way. So many people have asked me about how intrusive the purchases are and whether they’re necessary to play the game. I never felt the need to buy anything, and I don’t think you will either, unless you’re just really craving an extra bump of power for your plants. The only thing I really lament is the cost of plants; I wish I could unlock those, especially my favorites. As with all of the other purchases though, there are always options to supplement the skills you’re missing out on without laying out any money.

If you were wondering whether the successor could match up to the original, it certainly can. I’d downloaded Plants vs. Zombies to just about all of my devices and played it through a couple of times, so it’s no surprise that it was beginning to feel more than a little stale. The updated graphics and new plants sure are nice in Plants vs. Zombies 2, but there’s definitely more to love. All of the new maps and new ways to play create a novel experience, close enough to the game you loved for so many years to satisfy that zombie-smashing urge but with enough new bells and whistles to keep you entertained.


Summary

Continue the fun in the sequel to Plants vs. Zombies. New plants, new zombies, and new maps make this a must play.

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