Over the past several years, I’ve wasted invested more time than I care to admit to the slaying of zombie hordes with the help of my plant minions. (Truth be told, PopCap has managed to suck down far more hours of my life than is healthy, what with Bejeweled, Chuzzle, Zuma, Peggle, and other diversions.) I’ve also dabbled in Plants vs. Zombies Adventures on Facebook, but I have to say that the Farmville aspects and general social/free to play features make that far less appealing than the original – I just want to play the game, as much as I want, without having to farm/mine in order to advance; is that so wrong!?

Thankfully, the answer is a resounding “No!”, and PopCap has given fans of the original what they’ve wanted: more Plants vs. Zombies entertainment, more Crazy Dave, and less social/Facebook shenanigans. You can snag the new Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time on the iTunes App Store, and even better: it’s free. And by “free” we mean it’s free to play, with optional micro transactions, and being an iOS exclusive almost certainly involved some money changing hands somewhere. Still, I’ve played a fair amount now and can confirm that purchases will not be required in order to advance – and there’s no farming/waiting required.

If you want to blast through the entire game in one sitting, you’re welcome to do so – PopCap estimates it will take most people around 15 hours to finish the game, which is probably twice as long as the original (or maybe I just don’t want to recall exactly how much time I’ve spent beating and then rebeating the original). The microtransactions come in several varieties: you can buy useful plants, sometimes earlier than you would otherwise get them (I think); you can buy additional coins, which can be used for Plant Food – a one-time power-up you can use on any plant – and other items; or you can unlock additional features like starting with 25 extra sun, another slot for plants, etc.

Reading the reviews, a ton of people are complaining about the cost of in-app purchases, but so far I haven’t encountered a single level where you’ll need more than what you get for free. If you really want to have Snow Pea, yes, it will set you back $3.99 (hello, extortion!), but with plenty of new plants to keep you busy – not to mention the plant food power ups – you only need to spend money if you want a specific plant/feature or if you just want to support PopCap. Of course, maybe I’ll hit a wall at some point and feel the need to spend money to progress, but so far that hasn’t been the case.

The bad news is that currently the game is only available for iOS devices, but presumably Android and Windows (and Facebook) versions are planned for the future. Hopefully this time we won’t get a version on Android that’s limited to select devices and/or requires that you go through the Amazon Store app to purchase and play it. As for me, I’m playing it on a 4th Gen iPod Touch, since that’s the only Apple device I own. It runs well for the most part, but the initial load time can be a bit painful – around 28 seconds to get to the main menu, and 4-5 second delays between many screens. There are also slowdowns on this aging device when you have most locations filled with plants and dozens of zombies on the screen, but it remains playable. Other than the tiny screen and iOS exclusivity, I have no complaints.

You can find more videos and information on the official Plants vs. Zombies 2 page. Now I just need to put the iPod down so I can finish that Acer V7 review….

Source: Plants vs. Zombies 2 Site

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  • xinthius - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    I am disappointed how the game looks in comparison to the original. It's taken a large step back in my opinion. Will have to wait until Android release to test the game play, let's hope the F2P mode isn't crippled.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    Quick update: other than limiting the plants you have (easy) access to, the F2P mode makes it so that you have to replay levels multiple times to earn enough stars to open the Star Gate at the end of each world. There are also keys that randomly (?) drop that open access to areas where you can get additional plants, and you can pay to get through these as well. It's basically a question of investing more time vs. spending money. I'm not super pleased with how many microtransactions exist, but the game is still playable to completion without spending a penny.
  • designerfx - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    so it's not just F2P then, it's an intentional F2P grind?

    haven't they looked up how people feel about that? People aren't usually happy about such a concept.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Having played more, it works like this:

    1) Play through initial levels. You'll earn probably 3-5 keys randomly in the first zone, Ancient Egypt, along with probably 3 stars.

    2) At the end of the zone, you unlock the Star Gate that requires 15 stars to pass, and all of the non-star levels you already played through are now populated with three stars each.

    3) To earn a star, you have to complete these challenges, which give you different goals. They're nothing too difficult for a PvZ veteran, though you might have to try some of them more than once. Usually, the first star is easiest to earn, second is harder, and the final star requires the most skill.

    4) Examples of challenges: Do not lose any mowers. Do no spend more than 1500 sun. Collect at least 2500 sun. Don't plant on Dave's mold colonies (the first two columns). Destroy at least 10 zombies in 10 seconds.

    5) As you play for these additional stars, you will likely earn more keys, which can open up areas that provide you with new plants and/or power ups (as well as a few more single-star challenges).

    6) By the time you've collected 15 stars, which shouldn't take too long and it's not just playing the same levels repeatedly, you'll have found enough keys to get most of the plants. If you're a completionist (like me) and want to earn all three stars on every level, by the time you're done with that you'll almost certainly have enough keys for all the locked areas.

    7) All of this can be done without spending any money. The only reason to spend money is if you're impatient and want to move forward earlier, or if you want one of the locked plants like Snow Pea, Squash, or Torchwood.

    If you enjoy playing the original PvZ, none of this should really bother you as the new levels basically follow similar patterns but the challenges mix things up to keep it "fresh" -- or at least as fresh as playing through the same level 10 times in the original with increasingly difficult waves was "fresh". It's not a major reinvention, but personally I find it's a fun diversion.
  • Theremings759 - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    Ian. I agree that Paula`s story is good, last wednesday I got a top of the range Mazda from having made $8585 this-past/month and just over $10,000 this past month. this is certainly my favourite work I have ever done. I actually started 8-months ago and straight away began to bring home over $80 p/h. his explanation http://jobs63.com
  • LtGoonRush - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    I don't want to be a downer, but this is very frustrating to me. I LOVED Plants vs. Zombies on the PC four years ago, it was a breakout hit and all I ever wanted was to be able to buy more content. Not only was the game completely abandoned in favor of crapping out more mindless content for Peggled and Bejeweled, but now that we're finally getting a sequel its exclusive to the one platform I (and let's face it, the rest of the market) don't own. Why couldn't Popcop just pretend this is Peggle or something and put out a regular paid content packs and periodically charge for sequels...on the platforms the game is currently for sale on?

    Similarly, I thought Gyromancer (also released in 2009 like PvZ) was fun and innovative for a casual game, but I bought it at launch and it was pulled from sale almost immediately and scrubbed from the web like some terrible secret. This could be Square Enix's doing though.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    You mean EA's doing? Anyway, I'm sure this will make it's way to Windows sooner rather than later, and Android as well, but the big question is: when? Was it simply easier to do an iOS version first, or merely more lucrative? But to say "I, and let's face it, the rest of the market, don't own" about iOS is pretty extreme. I see a lot of Android users, but I also see more iPhones and iPads than any specific Android device.
  • lmcd - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    As a high school student I see far more Android devices. And I've actually seen about as many Windows Phones as I have iPhones in my specific crowd, but I know iPhones are abundant with the jocks+, even though Android is actually equally common there (since they picked up preferences back when the iPhone was a carrier-specific deal).
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - link

    What I mean is that iPhone is one device (okay, iPhone 4, 4S, 5 are mostly what I see now), but Android is dozens of devices. Is there any other phone that sells nearly as many units on its own as iPhone 5? I'd be very surprised.

    Of course, I'm in my late 30s, so I'm not hanging around high school or even college kids much, but if I were a parent buying a phone for my child, I'd look at cost first -- what HS kid needs an iPhone? Answer: none. Any smartphone should be more than sufficient (and perhaps still more than they should have). Yeah, I'm one of those parents: my kids won't be taking their phones to school, once they're old enough to have one.
  • althaz - Friday, August 16, 2013 - link

    Samsung's flagship Galaxy series regularly outsells every iPhone model, just FYI. With tablets I'm not sure, but I suspect the Nexus 7 sells WAY more than everything else (but again, I really don't know for sure).

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