Plants Vs Zombies 2 Hands-On Preview

Plants Vs. Zombies 2 was on display at EA Mobile’s showcase, and was much to see. A lot of dismay was expressed over the game moving to a free-to-play model, but from what I played, there is good reason to step back from the ledge and give it a fair shake. Coming this July as an iOS timed exclusive, the team at PopCap has made some interesting additions that change the cadence and feel of Plants Vs. Zombies, in a good way.

The most noticeable additions to the game are in the wide variety of new plants and zombies sprinkled throughout the world. Despite the new characters featuring different strengths and weaknesses, the added variety should add new dimensions from a strategy perspective. I don’t want to spoil the more original and hilarious characters, but I especially chuckled while watching the Bok Choy plant unleash some hellacious melee fury.

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On display were three themed environments (Wild West, Egypt, and Pirates) that offer unique landscapes that change up the action. Each environment features around a dozen main levels with some clever challenge diversions thrown in. For example, in the Wild West themed world, you will find mine carts that allow you to transport plants between the various rows. Seems like a small wrinkle, but the added dynamic adds more cute chaos to the equation.

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Plants Vs. Zombies 2 also adds two prominent gameplay changes in its plant food and timed power-ups. When you get in a pinch, giving plant food to your plants temporarily supercharges their strengths. Sunflowers will churn out extra sunlight or peashooters will fire off like a Thompson machine gun, for example. Additionally, triggering timed power-ups allow you to pinch, swipe, and throw lightning at oncoming zombies on a massive scale. These changes definitely appear to help balance out the increased numbers of the zombies walking, sliding, and dancing your way.

On the business side, I took a peek into the various ways that Plants Vs. Zombies 2 will appeal for your money. You can purchase coins, plants, and upgrades to varying degrees. PopCap is also including options to purchase bundles as well to minimize the nickel and diming that comes along with some free-to-play games. It’s hard to tell how the balance will play out from our controlled demonstration, but PopCap is sensitive to making sure they offer plenty of value.

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Look for more coverage on Plants Vs Zombies 2 as the game draws closer to launching later this summer.

2 thoughts on “Plants Vs Zombies 2 Hands-On Preview

    • That’s exactly how I feel. PvZ cost $10 at launch and tons of people still bought it. Now they’re giving you (hopefully) a better game for free and people are complaining! Everything I’ve heard seems like PopCap controlled this one and stayed true to their roots (hah, no pun intended), keeping IAP to a minimum. That not only restores my faith in mobile games, but seriously makes me want to support them, without feeling like I have to. I’m really hoping they don’t kill my expectations now…

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