The original Plants vs. Zombies was one of my first app reviews for this blog. Over the past couple of years the game has gained popularity; it has plush toys, cosplayers, and tons of accolades. The strength of this franchise is in its world building. All of the details of design, music, and comical backstory, come together to create a consistent look and feel. In the world of this game, an army of plants is obviously the best way to defend your home from zombies. A sequel was only a matter of time.
Time, as it turns out, is the theme of the sequel, the full title of which reads: Plants vs. Zombies 2 “It’s about time.” Crazy Dave, your neighbor and zombie fighting mentor, has found himself a time machine and gotten you lost in time and space in pursuit of the experience of eating a recently consumed taco again. You find yourself traveling through Ancient Egypt, Pirate Seas, and the Wild West, each decorated in typical Plants vs. Zombies style and populated by thematically appropriate zombies with thematically appropriate powers of destruction. But not to worry, you have plants: some old some new, and all with exciting power-ups.
A good sequel takes things from the first game and kicks them up a notch. In addition to the time travel plot, there are new plants with names like Bloomerang and Iceberg Lettuce, special abilities that allow you to take out lots of zombies by using your touch screen to pinch heads, create electricity, and sweep zombies off your lawn, and plant food, which gives your plants a power-up. The plant food power-ups are especially fun because each type of plant has a unique special move that does extra damage. These special moves are accompanied by animations that remind me of the hyperbolic power-up sequences of anime characters. You can take a look at each plant’s plant food power-up in this video.
Like many popular app games, Plants vs. Zombies 2 is free to download, but has various options for in-game purchases. In order to advance through the game you need to earn stars and coins, and unlock new plants. You can do this by playing, or you can do this by paying. Depending on my frustration level with a given challenge, I have mixed feelings about this. In calm moments, when my plants are on top of the zombies and all of my lawn mowers are intact, I pride myself on being able to advance through the game without paying. When the chips are down and brains are on the line, I see the option to pay for more power-ups as a nefarious and profitable scheme. Teen gamers, many of whom are low on funds, will likely rise to the challenge of playing through the game without spending their money.
Recommend this game to fans of the first, gamers and readers of zombie books. Check out the official website for Plants vs. Zombies 2 here, including a video trailer featuring Crazy Dave that your teens will love. Try showing the trailer and starting a discussion about Plants vs. Zombies strategies. Ask your teens which plant is their favorite.
And remember: The Zombies Are Coming!