Plants vs. Zombies 2

 

Learning(i)

Clever update to popular app, but now with in-app purchases.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The game's mechanics will be very familiar by now to most smartphone and tablet owners -- and players are offered the chance to go through the tutorial again. There are new play aspects, but they are gently introduced and explained very well. 

Violence

Users spend much of the game killing the undead using various plant-based life forms that shoot weapons or cause explosions. This time around, players can be a part of the process, too, with power-ups that let you squeeze the zombies' heads off or zap them with electricity. As in the previous game, though, it's all done in a comedic sense. 

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The game offers various power-ups and bonuses via in-app purchases. Also, players can unlock new levels with real-world money. The game, though, does not make these mandatory -- and skilled players (and those willing to stick with the game when it gets harder) can unlock these levels without paying. Players will experience various pushes to pay.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Players can opt in to Apple's Game Center to track scores and achievements and, for some games, challenge friends. Players can send and receive friend requests using an email address or Game Center nickname, revealing the first and last name associated with each party's Apple ID and, in the case of email requests, the sender's email address. Players can opt to have a private or public profile, which can include a photo. With a public profile, your real name is visible to all other players, and Game Center will recommend you to other players using your real name. With a private profile, only your friends can see your real name, and Game Center will not recommend you to other players.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a tower defense strategy game that does contain some violence, but it's all done for comedic effect and in a campy manner. However, unlike the first game, this game has power-ups wherein a player does inflict violence by pinching the heads off zombies or electrocuting them with a finger. The silly premise of the first game (defend your house from a zombie attack using plants) is expanded as you travel back in time so your neighbor can enjoy a taco a second time, but you're once again forced to fight cone- and bucket-wearing zombies in a puzzle format. This version has in-app purchases, with the top expenditure being $99.99, but patient players can play through without spending a penny. Players can share high scores via the Game Center social network, but participation is optional.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • prediction
  • strategy

Emotional Development

  • handling stress
  • persevering

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The game's fun, silly premise and tight gameplay will keep players glued to the screen. But there's a worry about having enough money.

Learning Approach

Players must carefully decide how to allocate resources and where to place them to win each level.

Support

The game gently introduces players to new tools and doesn't ramp up difficulty too quickly. 

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • prediction
  • strategy

Emotional Development

  • handling stress
  • persevering

Kids can learn strategic thinking, asset allocation, and how to plan ahead in Plants vs. Zombies 2. Players must protect themselves by growing plants. Different plants do different sorts of damage to different types of zombie attackers, so players must deduce which qualities each plant has. Clicking on sunlight that drops in the yard gives kids points so they can buy new plants. Budgeting also is a skill kids can practice here, since they have a limited amount of resources to build defensive units. Like its predecessor, Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a goofy exercise in strategy and planning.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chris Morris

What's it about?

The zombies are coming again -- this time in three time periods, so you get to battle the undead in Ancient Egypt, on the Pirate Seas, and in the old Wild West. In each location, the zombies wear historically appropriate yet silly dress. Players must select a plant from a list at the side of the screen and plant it strategically to prevent a zombie from walking across the entirety of the screen. Different plants have different abilities -- from shooting peas to Wall-nuts that act as barricades to potato bombs that blow up when stepped on.

New to this sequel is the ability to upgrade plant forces with "plant food," which generally increases the rate of fire. (This can be bought or found during battles by dispatching glowing zombies.) Also new are power-ups that allow you to clear the screen of zombies by squeezing their heads off (by pinching the screen), tossing them off-screen (through a one-two finger swipe), and electrifying them (by dragging a finger across the screen). These power-ups also cost in-game coins. Cash-poor players can increase their stashes by using real money to buy additional in-game currency as in-app purchases.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The key to the success of the original Plants vs. Zombies wasn't just the humor; it was the incredibly tight gameplay and the variety of plants. Thankfully, PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES 2 succeeds in replicating those aspects. The new plants (such as the Bloomerang, which throws boomerangs that return, letting you hit an opponent twice) are funny, and the plant food power-up is a master stroke. However, some of the levels are harder than ever before, tempting you to use the new plant food and power-ups. If you don't have enough money to activate them, a pop-up asking you to buy shows up and interrupts your battle.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is really fun to play. The new plants and zombies are inventive and wonky as ever. However, some of the prices for in-app purchases are unreasonable ($99.99), so parents will want to double-check that they have turned off in-app purchases and disabled the 15-minute window-to-purchase without the need for a password. In-app purchases aren't essential, something bound to assuage the fears of people who thought EA and PopCap might be going for a cash grab with this game. Though you can pay to unlock items and levels, persistent players won't have to, as the entire game is playable with skill. It just might take you a bit longer to access some levels, particularly in the Pirate World. It is a game worth playing, particularly if you're a Plants vs. Zombies fan.

Families can talk about...

  • Put kids on an allowance to show resource management in the real world.

  • Discuss how learning to plan and conserving resources will be useful to kids in real life -- even though they're unlikely to face a zombie invasion.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Release date:August 15, 2013
Category:Strategy Games
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Size:44.70 MB
Publisher:PopCap
Version:1.1.233714
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.1 or later; Android 2.3. and up

This review of Plants vs. Zombies 2 was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old August 20, 2013
age 8+
 

Too much IAP ruins adventure

I love the original Plants vs. Zombies, and I was really excited when I heard there was gonna be a sequel. And then shortly after I started the game, the dreadful in-app purchases destroyed my adventure. The original Plants vs. Zombies had comic-y violence, even the zombies looked cartoon-y (some plants explode and some jump on, and smash zombies, but they are all comic-y). And now everything looks cutesy, the zombies and plants have a totally different look. The great designs of the original are gone! Now Peashooters look like something that should be somewhere in a pile of a two-year-old's stuffed animals, not something that should be protecting your house from zombies. And in the original, all you have to do to pass the level is to wipe out all the zombies and save your house. Boom, onto the rooftops, backyard, and on and on! Now you have to grind for enough stars to get to the worlds! And if you don't want to grind for stars, just spend $3.99! And the IAP is why you need an older kid who knows how to read and not to click all the buttons and remove $100 from their parent's (or their own) account. The Jalapeno, Squash, and even the Snow Pea now cost $3.99 each to get. ALTHOUGH, LISTEN IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SPEND $3.99 ON THEM! You can acquire almost all of the plants in the shop by progressing through the adventure! There are actually TONS more IAP than that. I would rather pay just $0.99 and get it all. I like the original Plants vs. Zombies better. Plants vs. Zombies 2 is just disappointing. The IAP, grinding for stars ruins the entire adventure. This game is an extra challenge for pro Plants vs. Zombies fans: Can you play the entire game without spending a single cent? For those who wanna take up that challenge, here is a little tip I have learned: The Bonk Choy are awesome, and totally DESTROY zombies with rapid haymakers and uppercuts. Once you unlock the Bonk Choy, put a line of 'em behind Wall-Nuts, a few Bloomerangs behind them, and watch the zombies go bye-bye. I wish PopCap would take the IAP off of it so some people can actually enjoy it without stupid signs popping up showing a picture of a Squash and saying, "Hey, wanna buy a Squash so you can crush the zombies and defend your house?" Yes, I do! "Just spend $3.99!" In that case, NO. I like the idea of time-traveling, too, and defending Ancient Egypt or your pirate ship from zombies. But with IAP, it's a journey that's very annoying to go down.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Parent Written bycocosoup December 6, 2013
age 14+
 

plants vs zombies stuffed toys

I have played on my ipad for several days ,it is more intereting than 1, the Bonk Choy is my favorite plant. I bought PVZ 2 Plants Group Plush Toys(4pcs) (Bonk Choy 18cm,Coconut Cannon 14cm,Chili Bean 20cm,Imitater 20cm) i like plants vs zombies, and like plants vs zombies stuffed toys(buying on toyswill shop) too.
Teen, 14 years old Written byAceyAilish August 24, 2013
age 10+
 

Similar to version 1

I believe this game is either the same or better than the first, it is heaps of fun for most ages and I really enjoyed playing it however it is very similar to the other and it's free on IPAD rather than $5 so your probally better to get this one.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Safety and privacy concerns

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