Plants vs. Zombies is an incredibly addicting Tower Defense game from, believe it or not, PopCap Games. That's right, they actually made a game that's not a puzzle game. And a darn good one, too. It's about plants fighting against a zombie invasion.Zombies have risen from their graves, and seek to eat your brains. However, you find a most unlikely, but trusted ally in your own front lawn as you plant various organic defenses against the undead legions, and are also given advice and supplies by your neighbor Crazy Dave.The zombies won't go down easily, however, and are constantly thinking up new ways to breach your defenses, including screen-door shields, pylon helmets, pole vaulting, and zombonis that pave the way for an undead bobsledding team.Yeah, it's that kind of game.The game was first released for the PC. Later, a version of it was made for the iPhone and iPad. A faithful version was later made for Xbox Live, adding a multiplayer mode. After that, it was ported to the DS, with somewhat watered down graphics due to the DS's low-res screen. There's also an Android version, and it was the deal that catapulted the Amazon Appstore to a serious competitor to Google's Android Market (although as of December 14, 2011 the Android version is available on both of them). There's also a Playstation Network version. And a Nintendo 3DS eShop's version.In addition, there's a mini-game in World of Warcraft based on this game, and completing all of its stages earns you a Sunflower as a non-combat pet that follows you around.Also the series has made its way into The Sims 3, in which pre-ordering the Sims 3 Supernatural (Which has zombies) you can unlock Peashooters to fight back. As well as unlock zombie based clothing, such as the cone hat. The Sims 3 store also released a greenhouse with a sunflower that produces sunlight which can be used to make plants grow better.Plants vs. Zombies 2 was officially announced by Popcap for 2013, giving players a whole new reason to soil their plants.
The game constantly gives you plants that makes the next stage that would be normally hard be much, much easier. Although sometimes they make you feel the frustration first before giving you a plant that could handle it easily.
In the PS3 and Xbox 360 port, to use the shovel, you have to hold and then release Circle/B, instead of just tapping Circle/B on a plant you want to dig up. This way, if you accidentally press Circle/B while moving over plants, you're not screwed over.
Most of the "upgraded" plants in any mode besides Survival, especially Cob Cannons, as the round will in all likelihood be almost over by the time you can afford a few (with the possible exceptions of Double Sunflowers and Cattails). However, in Survival mode, many of them are not only useful but vital.
Spikeweeds and Spikerocks — impossible to destroy for almost any zombie (only the Zombonis, Catapult Zombies, Gargantuar, and the Jack-in-the-Box Zombie can, and it takes the Zomboni with it) *
Spikerocks can also insta-kill nine Zombonis/Catapults or take nine Gargantuar hits. This makes them the only plant that Zombonis and Gargantuars can't one-hit kill
, ignores shield protection a zombie might have (screen doors, ladders, and newspapers), combine with freeze attacks and blockers incredibly well, and are rather affordable. Sadly, they're useless in the pool or on the roof.
Cattails can attack any zombie on the field (besides their main target, Balloon Zombies) and have the attack rate of a Repeater, and only cost 250 Sun (including Lily Pad). It's usually well worth it to get at least 2 up as fast as you can at the beginning of the level. Although it's inadvisable to have too much of them.
Torchwoods sets your non-iced peas on fire, doubling their damage and they are cheap. Combined with some of the multi-shooters like Repeaters you can chuck out some serious dakka. They can also remove some of the Fog of War around them on nighttime pool levels.
Starfruit are useless individually; they can't even target zombies coming right at them. But they're fairly cheap, recharge quickly, and if you get more than one, their effectiveness goes far past additive. Two or three columns on the lawn, and nothing less than a Gargantuar will reach your plants.
Likewise Garlic. It does no damage whatsoever, but what it DOES do is force Zombies to switch lanes. This allows you to corral the zombies into a more narrow killbox with a great deal of ease, simply by placing a Garlic at the top and bottom of the map.
Puff Shrooms and Fume Shrooms. Being extremely cheap (the former costing literally nothing) with some decent damage. For example, the Fume Shroom has piercing shots that hit ALL zombies in that area, and for free, the Puff Shroom is able to take down a zombie BY ITSELF. During night levels, they are almost a must. And the Fume Shroom, introduced in level 2-3, is considered so good it is used with the Cattail, the Double Sunflower, the Winter Melon, the Cob Cannon, the Spikerock, the Gloom Shroom, the Imitater, ALL the explosives, the Magnet Shroom and the Umbrella Leaf in the most advanced Survival: Endless combination. That's right, you read it completely right. That early plant is one hell of a high-tier weapon.
Ax Crazy: The Jack-in-the-Box Zombie, as his profile states.
Bacon Addiction: Crazy Dave will pay you $1000 for that strip of bacon. Why? Because he's craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy!
Badass Adorable: Most of the plants: beady eyes, friendly, and capable of vanquishing wave upon wave of invading undead. You even get to grow baby versions of them in the Zen garden.
Berserk Button: Do not destroy Newspaper Zombie's newspaper. He was that close to finishing his Sudoku puzzle.
Just before the final boss, Crazy Dave attempts to tell you the weakness of said final boss, suggesting you to "Hit him in the cojones" before realising it was a different guy. This was changed to "Hit him in the pancreas" in the Game of the Year edition.
The Dancing Zombie was changed from a caricature of Michael Jackson to an undead Disco Dan at the request of his family.
Crazy Survivalist: Crazy Dave, with extra emphasis on "crazy". (And, of course, you, by the end of the game.)
Critical Existence Failure: All of the plants, and almost every zombie. Inverted by the newspaper zombie who will move faster once he is damaged enough — although, technically, he isn't hurt: the newspaper took the damage for him.
Crosshair Aware: A dart and target on a piece of paper signals an attack from a Bungee Zombie on the targeted plant.
Damage Discrimination: Both plants and zombies are quite discriminating with what they hurt. Peas and other projectiles will ignore every plant, even the Tall-Nuts, to hurt zombies. Even exploding or incendiary plants will only target zombies, while the mighty Gargantuar will smash any plant but spare zombies in his path. A zombie controlled by the Hypno-Shroom will immediately be treated like a plant, though. The Almanac entry for the Doom-Shroom hints this is a conscious choice, with Doom-Shroom claiming it could destroy everything you hold dear if it wanted to.
Damage Sponge Boss: There's really not much else you can do to Dr. Zomboss's Zombot but let whatever offensive plants you got whale on it until it explodes. If you have spare freezing mushrooms, though, you can prevent him from getting back up for a while, letting you finish the fight sooner, or gain a few more plants before the horde attacks again.
Doom-Shrooms are on your side, even though the warning in the Almanac makes one doubt it.
The appearance of Grave Busters fits with their purpose, devouring tombstones. But Grave Buster wants you to know that "he loves kittens and spends his off hours volunteering at a local zombie rehabilitation center. 'It's just the right thing to do,' he says."
The Tangle Kelp is also a little creepy with its glowing squinty eyes... basically a less-goofy-looking version of Tangela, though its Flavor Text in the Suburban Almanac mitigates this with a spot of humor.
While we're at it: Spikerocks look kind of monstrous, but turn out be art lovers and impressed with European museums.
Deliberately Monochrome: The Imitater is black and white, and so are the plants that he imitates, although this is probably done more to indicate that you're using an Imitater plant as opposed to a normal one. (This can be mildly frustrating if you're cloning, say, sunflowers, since the glow that's a prelude to sunlight is harder to spot.)
Crazy Dave: Those are some persistent zombies, dude.
Difficulty Spike: For every ten successful plays in "Vasebreaker: Endless" the game starts throwing an extra Gargantuar at you per screen, which puts things into Luck-Based Mission territory. Eventually, it becomes virtually impossible to get any further without cheating.
Disco Dan: The Dancing Zombie and his backup crew, as of the Game of the Year Edition.
Puff-Shrooms. They have limited range and low damage output, but they don't cost anything and they recharge fast. They're indispensable in night levels, as they allow you to keep zombies at bay while you gather enough sun-sources to bring out the big guns... erh, plants.
Sea-Shrooms are also another case of this, (0 cost, limited power and range) but they're less useful because: 1) They can only be placed on water. 2) Their recharge time is EXTREMELY slow.
Squash and Potato Mines. A long recharge time but low sun cost makes them ideal for dealing with zombies while you set up, or even in tight spots. Same goes for Tangle Kelp — even better in that they deal with fast-moving threats, like dolphin riders.
Chocolate can be fed to plants as well, making them produce more money for a while. Unfortunate implications are avoided, since the game has no cocoa plants (however, it is odd that feeding chocolate to a coffee bean will make it more active).
Exact Words: There's an achievement for completing a night-time level without using shrooms, which can be quite difficult. However, you can also earn it by completing any "I, Zombie" level, which are set at night and don't involve shrooms. It should be noted, however, that the chance of ending up in a mushroom-less "I, Zombie" level is extremely low. Additionally, this exploit seems to have been corrected for the Steam release.
Lily Pad never complains. Lily Pad never wants to know what's going on. Put a plant on top of Lily Pad, he won't say a thing. Does he have startling opinions or shocking secrets? Nobody knows. Lily Pad keeps it all inside.
Fragile Speedster: The Imp in the puzzle game "I, Zombie". It can only take three regular pea shots before being defeated, but is the fastest (and cheapest) unit you can deploy against the plants. You're required to Zerg Rush with them in one I, Zombie round.
Gainax Ending: Played for laughs. In the end, the Zombies give up on trying to eat your brain and call a truce to make a music video with you instead.
Game-Breaking Bug: The game has been known to corrupt one's save files numerous times in a row. You'll quit the game, load it later to play again, and find that the game forgets you've done anything. This can be circumvented for the PC version by finding the "userdata" folder and backing it up. Pop Cap claims they fixed it in the Game of the Year edition.
Grumpy Old Man: Imitater says that all they had in the Zombie Wars were guts. Guts and a spoon.
Harmless Freezing: Slightly averted with the Ice-Shroom. It temporarily freezes all enemies on the screen and slows them down when they thaw out, but it does one pea shot's worth of damage to all of them. They also allow you to temporarily see the location of the invisible zombies in the Invisighoul mini-game.
The final backyard night level takes place during a storm. The only time you can see is when lightning flashes.
The fog levels make 1/3 to 1/2 of the stage invisible (though you can sort of make out what's coming in the top and bottom rows).
Interspecies Romance: The Cactus has been seeing an armadillo for a while and it really seems to be working out.
Invisible Monsters: The minigame "Invisi-Ghoul". ALL the zombies in this mini-game are invisible, including the dreaded Nomboni that pulls One Hit Kills on your plants. You can't use spikerocks here as the mini-game is done in conveyor style.
Ironic Nursery Tune: The Jack-in-the-Box zombie plods along, cranking a box that's playing "Pop Goes the Weasel"... and explodes.
The Juggernaut: Being zombies, all zombies have shades of this, but Gargantuars take the cake, being able to instantly smash obstacles, trample down plants and being very durable, hulking monstrosities.
Kill It with Fire: Among the methods are blazing peas (by using Torchwoods), chili peppers and exploding mushrooms.
Kill It With Ice: Likewise, Snow Peas, the Ice-Shroom and Winter Melons freeze the zombies, making them slower (and in the case of the Ice-Shroom, completely immobile for a short period of time). You can kill weaker zombies with just Winter Melons.
Completely averted if you try to use Snow Peas with Torchwoods. You either freeze-unfreeze the zombies every second or your frozen peas are unfrozen before they hit the Zombie.
Lampshade Hanging: "Cabbage-pult is okay with launching cabbages at zombies. It's what he's paid for, after all, and he's good at it. He just doesn't understand how the zombies get up on the roof in the first place."
The football zombie. He moves twice as fast than regular zombies, eats your plants twice as fast, and he can take a lot of damage. In the flash version's Survival: Endless mode, it's even tougher — it can not only survive instant kill plants, but also about as much damage as the full PC version's Gargantuar.
Zombonis. They're fast, have a lot of health, cannot be slowed and their attack instantly crushes your plants! Plus they leave behind an ice trail and unless you Kill It with Fire, it paves the way for bobsled zombies that zip through the freshly created ice trail, creating a huge headache.
But as for the plant's side, there's the Melon-pult, which lobs a watermelon, can damage a large group of zombies and packs a heavy punch on the one it intentionally lands on (meaning it can defeat the Newspaper, Screen Door, and Pole Vaulting Zombie with ease) and reloads quickly enough to keep delivering heavy blows. The upgrade for this plant can freeze groups of zombies, as opposed to the Snow Pea's single shots. Of course, it costs a total of 500 Sun to get...
Lily Pad Platform: The Lily Pad for levels that have swimming pools. They must be planted first before any other non-aquatic plant can be placed on the swimming pool.
Lost Forever: If you update the game regularly, this happened to the Michael Jackson zombie some time in late 2009. Understandably, some fans of both MJ and PvZ refuse to update their copy for this exact reason after learning that Popcap refused to cave in to the demand of MJ's foundation to give them a cut of the game's profits and replaced the MJ zombie with the Disco Dan Zombie.
Any mission in which your plant seeds come down a conveyor belt. In any mission like this — of which the final boss is one of them — you will have to restart at least once.
The conveyor belt missions aren't too bad because the plants don't scroll off the end of the belt and you can keep them for when you need them. The real Luck-Based Missions are the few where you have to plant them immediately or very quickly lose them, such as "It's Raining Seeds" and "Vasebreaker".
Also, if you're playing the Steam version, no amount of skill will help you get the "China Shop" or "Better Off Dead" achievements if the Random Number God hates you. Especially egregious for the latter, in which you have to play perfectly and be lucky.
Speaking about "Better Off Dead", the achievement in "I, Zombie", the kernel-pult can either be a minor annoyance or a major pain in the rear, due to its random nature of chucking butter that completely stuns your zombies. If you're unlucky enough it may decide to spam butter, and not even a football zombie may be able to survive that if it is constantly hammered with other weak attacks.
ANY story mission after you beat the game once. After that, you start at the beginning, but Crazy Dave forces three random plants into your setup. Now, this doesn't sound so bad at first, but it will completely ruin any strategy you've developed by the endgame, which typically use all the available slots. What makes this worse is that simply going back to the menu and coming back to Story won't give you three more random plants, just the same three. So, to try your luck with the three random plants, you have to close the game, then launch it again.
The digger zombie can tunnel beneath all your defenses, but once it reaches the other side of the lawn... it turns around and starts eating the plants in your back row. (Apparently it got confused while spinning like a top to emerge.) Problematic, but not as much as if it'd just go directly for the house.
Also true for the Final Boss: why doesn't Dr. Zomboss just drop a zombie down your chimney?
More Dakka: A typical lawn once you get all your plants set up. The Gattling Pea in particular embodies this. Combine two Gattling Peas with a Torchwood and nothing will survive (except maybe a Giga-Gargantuar), although of course it's kind of expensive.
New Game Plus: Once you beat Dr. Zomboss, you can start all over again with the seeds you've gathered so far — only Crazy Dave gets to pick three of them, the second playthrough. You also unlock new mini-games, more items from Crazy Dave's shop, and the Yeti Zombie.
Night of the Living Mooks: Every single enemy that your plants fight is a zombie. Well, except for Zomboni, who's an alien that often hangs out with zombies and is frequently confused with them. Also, robots aren't zombies. But the guy piloting it is definitely one.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The zombies have not only mastered many professions such as deep sea diving, pole vaulting, and football, but there's an actual giant zombie bot at the end. A zombie in a robot. With a doctorate in Thanatology, no less.
No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted in the "I, Zombie" minigame, where you control what zombies to spawn against (paper cutout) plants in order to reach the delicious brains they're guarding. The Excuse Plot of the "I, Zombie" minigame is also a gold mine. Basically, Crazy Dave agreed to train the zombies on how to break into lawns and eat brains better, but he can't. So he gets you to train the zombies. You know, the zombies that are trying to eat your brains.
"Any resemblance between Dancing Zombie and persons living or dead is purely coincidental."
Nonsense Classification: The "suburban almanac" that describes all the different plants and zombies in the game. This encyclopedia, not taking itself very seriously, keeps mixing up the concept of "individual" with the concept of "species". As in, every plant is an individual character, with its own backstory, but there are several (a whole species worth) of them. We also have the Zomboni who is not a zombie but an alien who likes to hang out with zombies and the Zombie Yeti, who we don't know anything about... except for his name, birth date, social security number, educational history, past work experience and sandwich preference (roast beef and Swiss).
Not Good with People: Crazy Dave demonstrates this in "I, Zombie," in which he agrees to let zombies practice attacking your house, as long as no plants are harmed. Thanks, neighbor.
One-Hit Kill: Some of your plants, namely the Cherry Bomb, Potato Mine, Squash, Doom Shroom, Tangle Kelp, Jalapeno Pepper, Chomper and Cob Cannon are capable of killing almost all types of enemies in one hit. But mind you: some of the enemies, most notably the Final Boss, the Zombonis, the Jack-in-the-Box zombies, the Bungee Zombies and Gargantuar are also able to do this to your plants! In terms of resistance, the Gargantuar takes 2 normal One-Hit Kill plants to die (or 3 for the Giga-Gargantuar which appears only in Survival mode), and Spikerocks can take 9 hits from a Gargantuar or vehicles.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Cabbage-pult. Once you have the corn-a-pult you probably won't ever use cabbages anymore, as the butter corn-a-pult sometimes throws is much more useful than the cabbage-pult's higher damage (it freezes zombies in their tracks), and shortly afterwards you get melon-pults which have Splash Damage. Cabbage-pult, with no special abilities, simply can't match the other plants for utility. Corn and melon-pults also have upgrades to more powerful forms (which you won't be able to afford outside of survival mode) while cabbage does not.
Perfectly Cromulent Word: No, the Cherry Bombs will not explode, nor will they detonate. They decided to explodonate. Powie!
Perpetual Frowner: Ice-shroom, although it is because of a childhood injury that left his facial nerves paralyzed.
Pop the Tires: You can pop the tires of the vehicle based Zomboni and the Catapult Zombie by planting a Spikeweed/Spikerock in its track. For some reason, this does not only pop the tires, but also make the entire vehicle blow up.
Portal Network: The minigame "Portal Combat" has you fighting zombies while a somewhat confusing system of portals (Zombies ready to stumble into the gateways are fired upon by plants in front of the corresponding portal, for example) shifts around the field.
Power Floats: It's more obvious in the zen garden, but the Coffee Bean floats above the soil.
Rake Take: You can buy a rake for your lawn that kills the first zombie that it encounters; it lasts three levels, after which you can buy a new one.
Game-Breaking Bug, though a mild one: make sure the rake upgrade isn't active when you play "Portal Combat". The rake spawns in a random row, and the first zombie to appear will appear in that row. "Portal Combat" won't spawn zombies in rows where they could immediately walk into a portal and appear in the back of your lawn... but the rake overrides that mercy.
Happens literally during the Final Boss — if his eyes glow red, you better hope you have an empty pot and an Ice-Shroom on hand...
Doom-Shroom also has these. Not surprising, considering whathedoes...
Giga-Gargantuars. As if the resident Mighty Glaciers couldn't get any worse, these guys can take a lot more damage than a regular Gargantuar.
The Newspaper zombie's eyes will glow red when you push his Berserk Button.
Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Averted. Zombies can be destroyed independently of where the attacks hit them (in the torso for peas, in the feet for Spikeweeds or Spikerocks... only the catapult plants hit the head). Zombies get decapitated at zero "hit point", but don't instantly die; they either take a couple hits before falling apart, or step a few more times before falling down (essentially acting as a weak, temporary shield for intact zombies).
Rule Of Cool: You are a homeowner with an insane neighbor and all you have is vegetable-based ordnance to defend your home from waves of the walking dead. Why? Who cares?!
Rule of Fun: Similarly, who cares where all these genetically modified war-plants came from? (Answer: Bloom & Doom Seed Co.) If it kills zombies, then all is well and good.
Self-Imposed Challenge: The survival modes naturally lends themselves to these. Only night plants, only night plants during the day (except for air defense), as few rows as possible, no plants that shoot, etc.
One of the Minigames on the Xbox360 version is called "Heavy Weapon", the name of another Pop Cap game. You play as a pea-shooting lawnmower that moves back and forth while aiming, in a similar fashion. The power-ups your lawnmower could get are also very similar to the original game.
Situational Sword: Several types of plant are only really useful in a certain situation — Split Peas can be helpful against Diggers and Imps, Cacti and Blovers take out balloon zombies (and, for the latter, fog), Coffee Beans are primarily used to wake up Magnet Shrooms (which are in turn only useful when zombies have metal objects with them), etc. — being less cost-effective than other plants most of the time.
Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: A few of the more potentially dangerous zombies give off a sound cue before they enter the screen, or when they are on the screen (Zombonis, Dolphin riders, Jack-in-the-box, Balloons, Diggers, Pogos).
Speaking Simlish: A variant; Crazy Dave is crazy enough that he's no longer actually speaking anything but gibberish, but you've known him long enough that you can translate. Also likely done deliberately to save on disk space. The whole game only takes up 25 MB.*
Unless you have the GOTY edition, which takes up 50 MB due to the extra features it comes with, or the PS3 edition, which takes up a whopping 100MB due to all the support libraries being self-contained.
And ease up localization in other languages. The French version has every text dutifully translated, but the audio (mostly "Braaaains") and the final song stay in English.
Spread Shot: Threepeaters and Starfruit are able to do this. It's also what makes a field full of Threepeaters and Starfruit particularly dangerous to zombies. Not to mention those two plants can easily screw up your zombies, especially Imps, in "I, Zombie".
Stealth Pun: The Lily Pad is a plant that basically acts as a water platform for plants that can't live in water. It's a support class.
The Tall-nut is also this. Wall-nut starts out smiling, but it turns into a pained-looking frown as its "skull" is slowly chewed away. But the Tall-nut's stoic glower is marred, no matter the damage taken, by no more than a single tear.
This Banana Is Armed: The game is based on the premise that you defend your home during a Zombie Apocalypse with assorted vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and other plants that can do massive damage to endless hordes of invading zombies.
Translated Cover Version: Laura Shigihara has written the original English theme tune and a Japanese version (with her father taking over as the zombie voices). There is also a Spanish version.
Not to be mistaken for a ZamboniŽ brand ice resurfacing machine. ZamboniŽ and the image of the ice resurfacing machine are registerd trademarks of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc., and "Zomboni" is used with permission. For all your non-zombie-related ice resurfacing needs, visit www.zamboni.com!
You All Look Familiar: Pretty much all the zombies have similar face designs. However, realizing that this game only takes up 25 MB and was made to be available online, it's easier to take in than most examples.
You Require More Vespene Gas: Sun is the form of currency for your plants, dropped from the sky on day levels and produced by Sunflowers and Sun-shrooms. In Survivor Endless, upgradable plants keep costing more and more Sun as you plant them. This makes those Game Breaker plants prohibitively expensive. For whatever reason, Zombies in "I, Zombie" require sunlight as well.
Zerg Rush: The main tactic of the zombies; especially true in Survival Mode.
Zombie Gait: Most of the zombies are slow, quite thankfully, or else you'd have no chance to built a proper defense. There are, however several notable exceptions, especially the football zombies (which are full-on Lightning Bruisers), the polevault zombies (before jumping), the newspaper zombies (after the newspaper is destroyed), the imps and those goddamned pogo zombies.