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Plants vs. Zombies 2 for iOS review: New worlds, new plants, fantastic sequel

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The Good Plants vs. Zombies 2 adds new plants, lets you explore themed worlds, and adds challenging minigames for plenty of variation.

The Bad While it's not a game-changer, a couple of plants you might have liked from the original can only be used if you buy them.

The Bottom Line Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a must-download, with new plants, new ways to play, new challenges, and a freemium model that doesn't get in your way.


9.2 Overall
  • Setup 10
  • Features 9
  • Interface 10
  • Performance 10

Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time is finally available, and with new plants, themed worlds, and more of the same great gameplay, this classic tower defense game sequel does just about everything right.

The original Plants vs. Zombies was a huge hit when it came out for iOS devices in February 2010. After more than three years, PopCap has finally released the sequel as a free-to-play game, but don't let the freemium model scare you -- in-app purchases are not required to finish the game.

More of the same great gameplay
The object of Plants vs. Zombies 2 is the same as the original. You need to plant different types of offensive and defensive plants to try to prevent zombies from making it all the way to the left side of the screen. To grow your plants, you need sun, and sun power is gained through planting sunflowers that generate every few seconds. As in the first game, you'll need to touch the floating sun icons to add them to your bank of sun power.

But where you were defending your house from a zombie attack in the original, Plants vs. Zombies 2 sends you back in time to new worlds, with the themes of Ancient Egypt, Pirate Seas, and Wild West. These three worlds are ready to unlock in this first version of the game with more than 60 levels to play through total, but PopCap games promises more new worlds to come in future updates.

Plants vs. Zombies 2
New worlds have tons of levels to conquer. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

A little help from new power-ups
Plants vs. Zombies 2 should be very easy to pick up and play for just about anyone, but it can also get extremely challenging when the zombies start to fill your screen. In this sequel, the developer has added new features that give you a few extra options when the big waves of zombies are on the attack.

A new Plant Food button lets you supercharge one of your plants to do extra damage when in a pinch. Dragging plant food on top of a pea shooter, for example, sends it into machine gun mode for a short time. Each plant type reacts differently to plant food, so you'll have to experiment to find the best combinations.

There are also new powers you can only use for a short time by spending your earned coins. The Power Pinch lets you pinch to decapitate zombies. The Power Toss lets you launch a group of zombies in the air with a swipe, then fling them off the screen. The Power Zap lets you hold your finger down on zombies to electrocute multiple enemies. These new powers are great for difficult levels, but you'll only be able to use them once in a while or you'll run out of cash.

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