Popcap Games have finally released the long awaited sequel to the game that put them on the map, Plants vs Zombies. The sequel, Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time, is more of the fun, addictive game-play that we fell in love with in the first game. The premise of the game is the same as the first, you must defend your home, which you name at the onset of the game, with foliage. There are a few new plants, a few new zombies, a few more perks and a few new places where you dwell. All in all, these new additions to the game make it more fun, and not just a re-hash of the original, instead the game is kept fresh and extremely addicting.
Popcap has added ten new plants, with a possibility of more to come, to the game. These plants add some excitement to the game, but for the most part the player sticks with the old standbys to defeat the hordes. Some of the most useful new plants are The Bloomerang, Iceberg Lettuce, Bonk Choy and the Power Lily. The Bloomerang shoots boomerang type projectiles at the zombies and it hits the zombie twice, once and the way out and once coming back. The Iceberg Lettuce plant freezes any zombie when they stomp on it, so it’s easier for other plants to lay waste to the attacker. Bonk Choy is a close range attacker and can rapidly punch in all directions. This makes him useful if a zombie has eaten a plant and is about to devour another because you can place Bonk behind the zombie and he’ll still be able to attack. And finally the Power Lily which spawns plant food like the normal sunflower that spawns sunlight. The plant food is a nice new addition to the game, if you use it on your plants they do a special move and can take out waves of pesky zombies. In any sequel it’s always nice to have new character additions, and seeing as there really are no characters other than the plants, new plants makes up for that. They don’t hinder the sequel, they make it much more like a fresh, crisp head of lettuce.
The controls are very simple and intuitive, you drag the plant to the square you want to place it and repeat that over and over. To gain sunlight and plant food all you have to do is tap the little star-burst when it appears on the screen. Activating the plant food is a cinch as well, you drag the plant food on the screen to the desired plant and then boom, zombie death mayhem. Even the conveyor belt levels from the original make a comeback in Plants Vs Zombies 2 allowing you to really get stuck in with your strategic gardening skills. Popcap have even introduced new powers for when things get really hectic. Now you can Flick, Zap and Pinch your foes into oblivion at the cost of around 1000 in game coins (more can be bought with real currency but the in-game supply proved to be more than adequate) which continues to show how Popcap have beefed up this mobile classic.
You don’t just get to defend your house in rural America anymore as in this version you get whisked through time itself by Crazy Dave in his epic quest to re-eat a taco. You to get travel to pirate times, ancient Egypt and the Wild West. All of these places look great on the iPhone screen, the colors pop, the zombies shuffle perfectly. Popcap took nothing away from the sequel, they made it even better and the levels and map designs show it. This reviewer spent most of his time in ancient Egypt channeling his inner Rick O’Connell to battle the undead. These new areas offer more zombie variety, there are unique zombie variants to each world such as Pharaoh zombies that attempt to steal your sun globs. There are also random encounters such as Glowing zombies that drop essential plant food power ups when killed or the elusive Treasure Yeti that drops a treasure chest filled with keys of diamonds if you can catch and kill him. It’s these upgrades and bonuses that allow Plants Vs Zombies 2 to be a bit more of a challenge compared to its predecessor yet still be playable without spending a dime of your own cash.
The game’s soundtrack is very minimal, in Ancient Egypt the beginning soundtrack is something you would expect to hear in Ancient Egypt or in current Egypt, then it switches to nice low-key piano score that lets you focus on the battle at hand and not what you are listening to. What really steals the show are the zombie groans and the attacking sound effects. Some games fail miserably at sound effects, but Popcap nails the groans, the impacts of the plants projectiles, and the munching on the plants. Popcap’s munching sound is so spot on that it sounds like a lunch rush at your local Denny’s.
Popcap has given mobile gamers a nice sequel to play while on the go. Although it shares more than a few traits with its younger sibling it delivers an addictive and fresh feeling experience that’s well worth the small fee of zero. Although the storyline itself lacks some foundations the gameplay more than makes up for it, as does the hours you’ll inevitably waste playing green fingers. The ads do drag on you a bit and the incoming DLC will be a costly investment but it is still certainly worth downloading. The fun to be had is plenty, and you may even learn a bit about the past.
Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time is available now at the App Store for free. The game was reviewed on an iPhone 4S, the version was 1.1.233714. All information regarding prices and in-game items was correct at time of reviewing.