It somewhat goes without saying that the long-awaited sequel to PopCap’s smash hit is more than just a bit overdue. The name itself is an indication, as it really is about time. 4 years after the original, Plants vs. Zombies 2 finally hit's iOS.
The story this time is that the player is following Crazy Dave in his time-traveling motor home (which can talk) as he attempts to go back in time and re-eat a taco that he had just finished eating. Ignoring the fact that a plan to re-eat something makes no sense, the game works. It is fun, and somewhat improved on the previous mechanics, while not changing the core game.
In case you're not familiar with Plants vs. Zombies, this is a different type of tower defence. Unlike many tower defence games, there isn't a winding path the zombies follow towards your home. The yard is divided into six rows and zombies shuffle in fairly orderly. They won't cross over into other lanes but you will find multiple bodies coming in on one row.
There are 48 kinds of plants with numerous offensive, defensive, and production capabilities, and 26 different zombies. Completing certain sections in the game will unlock a new plant or item to add to your arsenal. There are all new abilities in this game that were not featured in the previous games, like power ups for both you and your plants.
As opposed to using rolling stages, worlds are broken up into a series of individual levels. There are at least ten base levels in each world that cost nothing out of pocket to explore. Once all of the main path has been cleared, the portal to the next world is open, but there is a catch. In order to move on, enough stars must be earned in order to unlock the portal. Stars are earned by re-playing the base levels three separate times, with each playthrough providing a different set of challenges. The alternative is that you pay to unlock the portal and continue.
In addition to the base levels in each world, there are additional challenge stages, seeds, and perks that can be found behind locked doors. Keys needed to crack the locks are dropped by zombies throughout the campaign. It isn’t necessary to have all of the keys in order to open a door, as long as one is willing to open their wallet. These extra challenges tend to test my patience more than the main game, but it's worth it to collect those little stars.
Plant food and zombie power-ups are also new in Plants vs. Zombies 2. Plant food comes hidden in zombies; you can tell whether a zombie has plant food by its green glow. When you defeat a zombie with plant food, he drops it, allowing you to collect and store it until you need it within the same board.
You use the plant food to supercharge plants. Each plant has a special ability. The peashooter, for instance, temporarily turns into a machine gun similar to the Gatling Pea from the original. The wall-nut will get a protective iron case.
As you play, you also collect coins, which can be used to buy additional plant food when necessary and purchase special power-ups to use on zombies. The special power-ups are new, too. There are 3. Pinch, which allows you to pop off a zombies head, Zap, which allows you to electrocute zombies and Flick, which, as the name suggests, lets you flick the zombies.
I've been throwing away the hours playing Plants vs Zombies 2. EA has inevitably pushed the "freemium" apps that they were promising last year. This does come with a sad (for both my wallet and myself) price, though. I would rather pay to download the full app with all plants rather than having some of the original classics up for individual purchase.
To buy or not to buy? That is really up to you. It is definitely not an essential, but if you want to get 100% completion, it'll cost you. But, of course EA want you to part with your cash, it needs to cover the cost of the game. If you do part with any of your real-world money, you won't feel bad about it. there's something about the game that just makes it worth it.
I was a little disappointed that I didn't run in to Jay and Silent Bob, but I guess that was just a marketing campaign they did. But that's ok! Check out Bluntman and Chronic take on the zombies on EA's website.
All in all Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time takes strategy-based fun to the next level with the fun and comedic story, good looks, great level design and addictive gameplay. It's the kind of game that'll get any player of any age hooked.
To spite the fact that you need to pay for 100%, I'm still blown away. I was a huge fan of PvZ 1 and, honestly, I was worried that this would not live up to my expectations. I'm happy to say that not only did it live up to my expectations, it raised my expectations for all sequels for apps. Consider my bar raised.
Overall Rating: 10/10