Plants vs. Zombies 2

App review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Plants vs. Zombies 2 App Poster Image
Clever update to popular app, but now with in-app purchases.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

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.

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
Language
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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycocosoup December 6, 2013

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... Continue reading
Parent of a 12 year old Written bylaylaf1 August 25, 2015

My 4 year old plays it

Nice puzzle game, the first one was better
Teen, 14 years old Written byAceyAilish August 24, 2013

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... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 20, 2013

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 dread... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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