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PopCap has just soft launched Plants vs. Zombies 2 in New Zealand and Australia to test server capacity and collect players’ feedback for a big worldwide release next week. Although it is originally scheduled to launch on July 18, it appeared in the New Zealand App Store earlier today. We just downloaded the game and tested this highly anticipated casual tower defense game.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is built upon the original fascinating tower defense formula, but adds a time travel twist, which allows you to take a crazy journey with Crazy Dave as you exterminate waves of zombies in mysterious Ancient Egypt, perilous Pirate Seas, and dusty Wild West. Of course, new plants, new zombies, as well as new ideas are also introduced.

The core gameplay hasn’t changed. Starting your journey from Ancient Egypt, you choose from a selection of plants with unique abilities, and place them on your lawn in an ingenious layout to wipe out huge swarms of zombies before they enter your house and eat your brains.

Everything seems familiar at first glance, but surprises come subsequently as the game progresses. There are multiple new plants in the game for different defensive options, such as the Cabbage-pult that can hurl cabbages at the enemy, and the Bloomerang that can hit up to three targets in its lane. Besides, as you explore each themed world, you will have to handle with a large variety of new zombies with unique appearance and capabilities, ranging from the regular mummified zombies rolled with toilet paper, to tougher zombies with solid self-protection, and those who try to steal your sun and create tombstones in your way. In order to protect your home and plants from those brain-hungry zombies, you have to know the characteristics of each plant and zombie, and kill all of those walking dead with strategic plants placement and clever time management.

What Plants vs. Zombies 2 tries to deliver is far more than just new plants and new zombies, but amazing new elements. The inventive design of glowing zombie, plant food, and power-ups make the game more fascinating than ever before. Killing the glowing zombies will earn you precious plant food, which can be used to supercharge any plant and generate devastating damages to the approaching zombies. Aside from that, the game lets you spend coins purchasing three special power-ups, with which you can pinch the heads off zombies, flick them away from your lawn, and electrocute them to ashes.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a free to play game, but there are six plants and four upgrades available for purchase. Although the developer explains that anyone with enough time and skill can unlock all content without spending a penny, actually it will be a tough task to unlock all of them. Following a less linear progressing system, the game lets you collect golden keys to unlock the gates and the hidden plants and bonus levels behind the gates. Fortunately, you are allowed to replay the past days to get enough randomly dropped keys, and of course some treasure bags full of gold coins. After grinding through the first map, you should also collect enough stars to unlock the next map. Undoubtedly, if you are not patient enough to play repeatedly, you have to spend real money on the locked content.

Review Overview
  • Visual Designs9
  • Gameplay8
  • Controls9
  • Replay9
  • New Content8
Total Score8.6

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a solid enough sequel with captivating concept, polished gameplay, and brand new challenging levels. Best of all, it is free to play. If you cannot wait to play the game, you can now register a NZ or Au Apple ID and download it from the App Store. Otherwise, wait for the global release.

User Rating: 3.9 (3 Votes)