Plants vs. Zombies 2 Review

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When I first had a look at PvZ 2, I could not believe it was free. Then, as I usually do with a free offering, I check what the catch will be, I.e. the in-app purchases. When I saw the loooong list of purchases and their very high prices, I thought: I won’t even bother. You can actually purchase “coins” for up to 90 euros. Many features retail for 2 to 4 euros. But that was without counting on my kids who promised to play without buying anything. And the thing is: I liked the first iteration of the game. PvZ 1 was a great game at the time. Getting the new one was very tempting anyway. So I clicked on the Install button. Was that a good idea? Let’s find out!

Indeed it was! And the nice things is, at the time of writing this review, I still did not feel the need for buying anything. I played long enough to say it was fun and worth the installation. It did not cost me a penny.

[Update 12 months later: I have finished all the levels. I have played all the updates. I still have not spent a penny on it. But then, you must be ready to do again and again the hard levels. If you use the super powers available… It’s gonna cost you!]

Gameplay

The purpose of the game is to kill zombies (can we actually “kill” zombies?), but not with the usual weaponry and blood spill one would encounter in “Left for dead”. Nope! You kill zombies with peas, corn, exploding potatoes and very angry lettuces.

The game is a mix of strategy (what vegetables will I use?) and resource management (how much sun can I produce and how do I spend it?). This combination is a winner and one gets addicted faster than one wishes.

How nice?

Version 1 was nice visually and the designers have stuck to the original design, enhancing it a bit and probably making use of the more powerful devices available today. Yes, it looks good and fun. The animations are spot on to believe your pea shooters are actually angry and fierce. The zombies are nasty pieces of work and you have no doubt that they need to be shot on the spot.

The animation was fluid on an iPad 4. It uses quite some battery though. You are depleting fast and even playing while plugged to the main is not enough. I played with it while stuck in an idle train for 2h. I was charging while playing and I depleted my battery by about 30%. So, my advice is to not take that for a long journey if you need to use your device after without recharging.

The sound environment is also pleasant. The background music, although repetitive is not annoying. The various actors of the game have all their individual sound effect, some of them quite hilarious. When the battle is at its peak, it can be a lot but the result is very well managed and does not become sound chaos

How easy?

The game comes with a very nice set of levels that my 7 year old girl could play without my help. Not only it teaches you the basic moves but also tells you about the various vegetable weapons you can use. So, yes, it is a very easy experience.

How fun?

If the principle remains the same all along the interest for killings those brain thirsty zombies stays high. Nope they are not going to trespass my loan and eat my brains, not on my watch!

This new version comes with some new features and challenges. When the first version was actually mostly about surviving the attacks, this one gives you stars for doing it with constraints like limited resources. Some new challenges are available with, for instance, a Memory-Game for some levels. This is not my favourite type of challenge but a couple here and there are okay.

The game comes with new powers that take you out of troubles at a cost. I think that PopCap is counting on the players not managing well and needing those resources to cash-in. I must have been lucky or patient enough but I did not need any boost. These extra powers a quite fun, especially the one that makes a super weapon of any vegetable of choice.

Conclusion

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a great game that can come for free, depending on your patience. The gameplay is complex enough yet simple enough to enjoy it quickly and for long.