Plants vs Zombies was originally released in 2009 for OS X and Windows and quickly became a phenomenon only matched by the scale of titles like Angry Birds. Over the following years, Plants vs Zombies would become a mobile hit on iOS, Windows Phone, the PS Vita, the DS and, in 2011, Android.
With Plants vs Zombies 2, the post-apocalyptic threat is back but with some big twists. You still use a variety of plants to both attack and defend the zombies but now the game’s boundaries are no longer the fence of a virtual backyard. Plants vs Zombies 2 takes you through time and space to battlefields around the world, from Ancient Egypt to the Wild West.
Zombies Versus Plants
The core mechanics of Plants vs Zombies 2 are not unlike that of the original game. The game consists of a number of levels where you must place plants on a grid-based map to attack and defend against waves of zombies. Let them pass over the entirety of the map and into the goal at the end and you lose the game, although one final column of lawnmowers gives you a final chance if the zombies manage to pass all your defences. The sun is used as a currency for planting additional plants and the rate at which this spawns can be incased by a number of special plants.
Plants vs Zombies 2 keeps this basic concept intact but with the addition of some fun new plants that can be employed in your games. Add to this new designs for some of the old characters and textures appropriate to the location you’re in — you’ll encounter mummified zombies in Ancient Egypt, for example — and you’ll agree that Plants vs Zombies 2 offers a sufficiently fresh experience that is fun however bored with the original game you are.
Time Travelling Tacos
However overshadowed by the actual gameplay, Plants vs Zombies 2 does have a story behind it. Returning character Crazy Dave is attempting to, with the assistance of a time-travelling van, return to the past in order to eat a taco again but the process glitches out and he ends up taking the player to Ancient Egypt. Without a return option, you’re left to battle your way through a number of themed time periods to return to the present.
Each location comes with a beautiful redesign of the core Plants vs Zombies experience; lawnmowers in Ancient Egypt look like miniature pyramids and the Wild West grid features columns of railroad track. Plants vs Zombies 2 throws an entertaining concept together with a series of fresh new looks and ends up feeling more like a worthy sequel than just a money-grabbing re-skin. Some seemingly basic redesigns even come with new abilities, such as that of a particularly strong Egyptian zombie who can steal the falling sun from you.
A Time In-Sensitive Currency
There’s a number of currencies at play in the game; the sun is used to buy plants on a day-by-day basis, coins are used to buy plant food and both keys and stars are used to progress and unlock new areas with additional levels and plant unlockables. Then, there’s also real-world cash.
Plants vs Zombies 2 is free but employs a number of opportunities for in-app payments to be used for unlocking additional stuff in-game. If you don’t have enough stars to progress through to the next time period you can pay to skip the process of going back and replaying levels to earn them. If you want more coins but don’t want to grind at completed levels, you can buy them. And then there are also unique plants and upgrades which, again, come at a cost.
However, Plants vs Zombies 2 is a particularly good game when it comes to the freemium model. You don’t need to pay for anything and the act of going back and replaying levels doesn’t always feel like a grind. In fact, due to the very nature of barebones Plants vs Zombies, each playthrough of a level offers you another chance to try out a different strategy. If you’re running low on time, the option of skipping through at a cost is there but it isn’t a requirement to have a fun time in the way other freemium games make it so.
Plants vs Zombies 2 is a fun new take on the loveable gameplay of the first title. Not everyone is going to be a fan of the in-app payments system but EA has managed to produce one of the better games using this model today. With enticing gameplay, a charming theme and a non-existent price tag, there’s no reason you shouldn’t give Plants vs Zombies 2 a try.