Friday, August 16, 2013

First Impressions: Plants vs. Zombies 2 - It's About Time (iOS)

What!?  I know right?  When did PopCap come out with Plants vs. Zombies 2?  I hadn't even heard anything about this game until the PvZ game on Conklederps Kindlefire downloaded an update to PvZ and the color of the icon changed, which prompted me to open the game and that's when I saw it, an add for Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time.  I heard a fair amount of parent company EA Games' mockup of their Modern Warfare series, Garden Warfare, which is a 3rd person shooter from the most recent E3, but nothing about this.  The game was mentioned on PopCap's Twitter back on June 26th of this year.

As it turn(s/ed) out, PvZ2 was released worldwide yesterday.  Yes, yesterday as in August 15th, 2013.  I didn't know that until a minute ago when I double checked the wikipedia page.  So now that that's established, lets get down to the game.

PvZ2 still feels like the original, which is a very good thing, because that's the game that I fell in love with.  My first concern when seeing that this game was coming out (saw as in four days ago), I was afraid that the new plants (you know they had to add new plants) would be less plant like, as in you couldn't tell what plant they were supposed to be, like most of the new Pokémon after the first generation.  That unfamiliar plant above is called the "Bloomerang," and while not too obvious as to what type of flower it is, I can forgive that because the Bloomerang is pretty cool.  It fires up a boomerang petal down the row hitting up to three enemies and then flies back, hitting them again.

Now, there are a lot of things that PopCap did right with this new iteration in the PvZ franchise.  First off, as you can tell from the above, they kept the game the same.  You still plant plants as zombies come towards you.  The level above is one of the conveyer belt levels while in most you still want your row of sunflowers in the back. A recent addition to the game play is Plant Food (that green leaf icon at the bottom of the screen).  Plant Food is earned from green glowing zombies (like the cone wearing zombie in the upper right).  Plant Food will give individual plants a bonus/upgrade, depending on which plant they are used on.  Sunflowers give you extra suns, Wall-nuts gain an extra level of protection (metal armor), Pea Shooters will fire a barrage of peas taking out nearly an entire row of zombies.

As in the first game, plants are unlocked during the course of gameplay, although in PvZ2, there's a world map that's somewhat reminiscent of Super Mario Bros. 3.

So, Ancient Egypt you ask?  If you go back to the title of the game "It's About Time," is a nice pun, admitting to the fact that it's been 4 years since the first game came out, and because the game involves time travel.  True, a lot of the zombies are the same in Egypt as they are in present day, but there are some minor variations, such as the Ra Zombie who tries to absorb suns when the appear on the screen.  Presently I am only on the 4th level in Egypt, but there are a total of 24 levels, just in Egypt.  The other times you are able to travel to are the Old West and the Pirate Seas, each with 22 levels.  I won't spoil the reason why you're time travelling and while the context is rather silly, so is the game.

Now, with all the good things that I've come across in the game so far, there are some elements that I am not too fond of.  The least/most being that the game is currently only available for iOS devices (iPhones & iPads).  Android devices seem to have been forgotten.  At least for the time being, although there is no word as to when Android users will have access to this game.  So when you visit the Apple store, you'll quickly find out that the game is free to download.  That in itself, in todays market is a warning sign.  Not much in this world is free, especially if it's currently an Apple exclusive.  With just a little bit of scrolling, you'll notice this:

That's right, In-App Purchases.  In order to use the Snow Pea, easily one of my go-tos in the first game, I would have to spend $3.99.  Yeah, that's probably not going to be happening.  Maybe that makes me cheap.  I don't plan on making any in-game purchases and presently, I haven't been inundated with "Buy This!" pop ups as all purchases are made through the store, located on the map screen.  I would rather spend $10-20 to buy a full version of the game and you can tell from the first two comments on the page there that others feel the same way.  And, I'm not really the kind of person who would give the game a one star rating just because there are so many purchasable plants and upgrades.  I'll be vocal about not liking it, but so far the game is still a lot of fun.

I feel like this is about all I'm capable to comment on about the game, again because I've played less than 10 levels of the possible 73.  The wikipedia page does say that the game can be completed without using any of the in game purchases, which is very nice to know.

I would say that if you have an iOS device and you liked/loved the first Plants vs. Zombies, you'll lose absolutely nothing by downloading and trying out part 2. 


One week and 65% left to go.  There's still hope, even if it is a fools hope.

[Edit:  After playing two more levels in Ancient Egypt, I've had two popup ads, one letting me know that I can buy more coins/in-game money which can be used on the special moves I unlocked one level after posting, and another add letting me know about buying "bundles," which consist of buying a purchasable plant (Snow Pea, Squash, et cetera) along with some coins for a special price.  I might also add that I've come across three doors that can be unlocked with special pyramid keys that I've found "randomly" during levels, but I'm one short from being able to unlock one door and two keys short from two separate doors; keys also disappear after you use them so for the three doors I'll need 11 more keys, or I can buy a key for $1.99.  Sneaky.  Just wanted to throw that out there as well.]

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