(Credit: Electronic Arts)
After a delay of several months, the aptly-named Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time has finally hit the App Store. It's a much-anticipated return for one of the most popular franchises for PopCap Games, though it’s not without some controversy.
When the game was first unveiled in March, PopCap announced it would launch as an Apple exclusive, which irked its many non-iOS fans. Then it was described as a "free to play" game, which set off alarms, since so many free-to-play apps pester players to spend money in order to progress. Would this turn Plants vs. Zombies into a wallet-draining Smurf Village?
Not at all. The only thing players should fear are the brain-munching bad guys.
While you can pay to advance in the game, you certainly don't have to. Cash can unlock new levels and new plants, but those can also be unlocked using stars earned by completing challenges in the game, such as not allowing the zombies past a certain point on the field or only using certain plants.
That nod to the dedicated fan is earning the game even more praise.
"It's almost too good to be true," says Kotaku. "I keep expect [sic] the game to stop in mid-level and demand I hand over some cash, but it seems like PopCap and EA don't want my money."
That’s almost certainly untrue, but the fact that the game downplays its pay options is a breath of fresh garden air.
This time around, Crazy Dave has eaten a taco and loved it so much he wants to go back in time to do so again. Using his sentient time-traveling RV (no, really), you and Dave hit up various historical periods, like Ancient Egypt and the days of piracy. There are also plenty of new powerups and plants to help you win the war.
Most importantly, it's still a lot of fun.
"Plants vs. Zombies 2 is even better than the original -- and even more addictive," says Mashable. "The additional plants and powers make the game fresh and new for Plants vs. Zombie veterans, and the game is easy enough to understand for those who haven't tried it before."
Gamers seem to agree, as the game has thus far earned a 4.5/5 App Store rating across over 3,000 player reviews.
Despite the good news, the game has its work cut out for it. The original Plants vs. Zombies is the 12th best-selling app of all-time, a bonafide blockbuster. That’s a hard act to follow, though EA and Popcap certainly seem up to the task.
Plants vs. Zombies 2 is just the first wave of new games for this franchise. Next year, PopCap will debut an action game, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, for the Xbox One.
And while PvZ2 for the mobile market is about as sure bet as a new Angry Birds game, changing the game's formula and moving it to the console world is a much bigger gamble. If the new game is any indication, chances are it will pay off.
- Video Games