Plants vs. Zombies is an incredibly addicting Tower Defense game from PopCap Games. 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: It's About Time was officially announced by Popcap for 2013, giving players a whole new reason to soil their plants. In it, the player gets dragged by Crazy Dave on a voyage through time, facing zombies initially in ancient Egypt, the era of piracy, and The Wild West. Subsequent updates introduced The Future and The Dark Ages. It attracted generally positive responses, but there was some hostility due to the switch from a one-off purchase to a microtransaction-based funding model.Also available is Plants vs. Zombies Pinball, a Pinball Spinoff for the Zen Pinball and Pinball FX platforms.A Third-Person Shooter named Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare has been announced for Spring 2014. It has been released on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles on February 25, 2014, with a PC port coming on June 30, 2014 and PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 versions coming on August 19, 2014.There's also Plants vs. Zombies Adventures, a Facebook tower defense game. Crazy Dave has tasked you with slowly restoring the town from the zombies. You must grow your plants, construct and repair homes and buildings, place plants along the paths leading to the buildings, and defend the town against zombies. After a certain amount of progress into the game, you WILL be required to find friends to assist you or pay with real money to advance further.There is also a six issue comic available from Dark Horse.
Airborne Mook: Balloon Zombies in the first game and Seagull Zombies, Parrot Zombies, Jetpack Zombies, and Disco Jetpack Zombies in the second.
Allegedly Free Game: The second game got some accusations of this simply because it was free to download with microtransations, but the February 2014 update really brought justified allegations of this:
You no longer have lawnmowers in the challenge levels, which doesn't just make them harder but also halves your coin reward for winning a level (this one was dropped after protests).
The Pinch power-up was replaced with a very expensive and relatively ineffective Snowball power-up.
The Yeti appears much less frequently, and tends to appear on conveyor-belt or Lock And Load levels where you can't just use a one-hit kill plant to kill it instantly.
The Pinata Party levels, which used to be an accessible way of getting a coin bonus, began to regularly be so hard that they're impossible to win without using power-ups, and playing them a second time costs coins.
The game badgers you to spam your Facebook friends in exchange for a coin bonus.
Anachronism Stew: The Ancient Egypt level in the sequel introduces mummies, stone slab workers and pharaohs... and modern pyramid explorer zombies. Likewise, the Zombie Bull in the Wild West is actually a robot.
The game constantly gives you plants that make 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.
If you inadvertently forget to select a certain plant (such as sun-producers, flowerpots on a roof level, aquatic plants on a pool level, etc.) during seed selection, once you hit "Let's Rock", the game will ask if you're sure you want to start the level without them.
Anti-Vehicle: Spikeweed and Spikerocks deal Damage Over Time against non-vehicle zombies, but are a One-Hit Kill against the Zomboni and Pianist Zombie. In the second game's Future levels, the EM Peach can paralyse zombie mechas.
Aquatic Mook: Some zombies have tubes to help them cross the pool, another snorkels, and the last one is in a wetsuit riding a dolphin (which is also a zombie, by the way).
Arbitrary Minimum Range: The game has the Scaredy-Shroom, which can fire at pretty far compared to the normal mushrooms, but if a zombie gets too close, it'll hide into the ground and become useless as a weapon.
Ash Face: The zombies after being blasted by an explosive plant — just before crumbling to dust (the head falling last). In the sequel, though, this only happens when they get zapped by Lightning Reed, hit by a Cherry Bomb or a Jalapeno, or eat a Plant Food-boosted Sun Bean.
Attack Reflector: The Jester Zombie can reflect all projectiles, making it incredibly deadly and necessitating the use of Shrooms.
The Chinese version of Plants Vs Zombies 2 has the Hammer Zombie, who spins around to deflect plant shots back at your plants.
Autosave: The game saves your progress every time you complete an action - be it completing a level, buying something from the store, or watering your garden.
Most of the "upgraded" plants from the first game 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.
They come back around in the Endless modes, though, where their cost increases for every one you use, which catches up quickly.
VIP Plants in the Facebook game as well. They usually have better range and damage, but require real money or hard work to obtain, unless you still have spare Gems.
The Citron can OHKO most zombies, and even make short work of Gargantuar. It's tempting to just have a row of them... except that since they only hit one enemy at a time, if their shot hits a weak enemy that shot's a waste. They thus need to be used in conjunction with another plant that helps to take down the small fry.
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.
Baleful Polymorph: The Wizard Zombie can turn plants into harmless sheep, making them unable to do anything. They turn back if the wizard is killed.
Ballistic Bone: In the Egypt levels of the second game, Tomb Raiser zombies throw bones that turn into tombstones.
Bungee Zombies in the original game will steal your plants.
Ra Zombies in the Egypt levels of the second game can draw in the power of the sun via their sceptre. By this, we mean "steal all the sun resources lying around". Fortunately, when defeated, it releases all the sun it gathered.
Captain Zombies in the pirate levels of the second game have a pet parrot that will steal your plants.
The Kernel-pults have a random chance to fling, not a bit of corn, but a butter patty that temporarily halts its victim. It can fling them several times in a row, effectively stun-locking said victim. It's a "lobbed" plant and works as Anti-Air. Using Plant Food causes it to butter every zombie onscreen, stunning any it doesn't outright kill. It costs the same as the basic lobber, the Cabbage-pult, and all but obsoletes that plant. Its only weakness is that its corn pellets are the weakest attack in the game, with the butter patty up to "Normal" damage levels.
Spikeweeds and Spikerocks — impossible to destroy for almost any zombie (only the Zombonis, Catapult Zombies, Gargantuar, Jack-in-the-Box Zombie and (in the sequel) Barrel Zombie can, and it takes the Zomboni with it)note 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.
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.
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.
In the sequel, Bonk Choy. They punch zombies that come within about a square and a half of them, and that's it. But they're relatively cheap, can kill a normal zombie before it gets close enough to eat the Bonk Choy, and most importantly, damage all zombies in range, which is incredibly important when you're being mobbed by hordes too big to be killed one at a time. Just make sure to stick a Wall / Tall / Infini-Nut in front of them.
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.
Breath Weapon: Snapdragon and Laser Bean when using Plant Food on it.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: Plants vs. Zombies 2 has optional plants and bonuses that must be paid with real money to unlock, but aren't necessary to complete the game. Also, if you are impatient about finding keys and gathering stars to unlock gates, you can pay real money to unlock them.
Adventures has the Beet, which beets um... beats nearby zombies hard for big damage.
It's About Time introduces the Bonk Choy, who literally punches the zombies when they get close enough from either side. It's so good that a regular zombie won't be able to advance a single block without getting its limbs torn off, and even the mighty Pharaoh Zombie and its solid sarcophagus won't be able to fully eat a Wall-Nut if the Choy is behind it.
In the same vein, we also have Puff-Shroom and Sea-Shroom (attacks a zombie starting from 3 squares away) Gloom-Shroom (which attacks in a 3x3 area around it) and Chomper (eats a zombie in front of it). In the sequel, there's also the Snapdragon (breathes fire 3x2 squares wide) and the Spring Bean (flings away any zombie who steps on it).
Clown-Car Grave: Averted and played straight. While night levels do have graves, each one only summons one zombie per level. Played straight in "Whack-a-Zombie". Also played straight in the "Dark Ages" night levels in the second game, in which the graves will summon zombies repeatedly.
The Coconut Effect: Played with in the trailer for the sequel's Dark Ages trailer. A Knight Zombie pretends to ride a horse while an Imp Monk bangs two coconut shells together.
Cooldown: Plants have cooldowns inbetween each planting. Some plants have more cooldown than others, especially the single use One-Hit Kill ones. Having Imitater can help you alleviate the cooldown time (by allowing you to have another same plant to plant).
Some plants also have cooldown after action; Chompers digesting a zombie whole, Cob Cannons and Coconut Cannons reloading after fire, and Spring Beans sleeping after each flinging.
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.
Cut Scene: Crazy Dave will often interject advice in the form of bad jokes at the beginning of a level. These are usually pretty short, but they repeat every time you restart the level, which can get annoying in the sequel when he and Penny (the time machine) repeat the same two or three lines of dialogue each time.
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 and that he wouldn't have a hard time doing so.
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 Ice-shrooms 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.
Deflector Shields: Using Plant Food on an Infi-nut creates this. The Shield Zombie can create these to protect fellow zombies on adjacent lanes.
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. Averted in the sequel, though.
Determinator: The zombies will never give up, not even after you defeat Zomboss and listen to the sweet music video that you get for doing so. Crazy Dave even lampshades this:
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.
Digging to China: Scroll down on the achievement screen in the Game of the Year edition, and, after encountering a few Shout Outs to other Pop Cap games, you'll emerge on the other side of the Earth in China. Apparently, they have a zombie problem too…
Disco Dan: The Dancing Zombie and his backup crew, as of the Game of the Year Edition. The sequel has Disco-tron 3000 and Disco Jetpack Zombies.
Double Meaning Title: The sequel is called "Plants Vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time". This refers to the wait in between both games, as well as the fact that you go through different time periods.
The Dung Ages: The second new era added to the game are the Dark Ages, a time of plague, mistrust and peasants (of which the standard zombie variants are). It's also a pun, as it's the only time set at night, thus allowing the use of mushrooms and no sun from the sky.
EMP: The E.M.Peach can be used to disable machines used by zombies.
Early Game Hell: In Endless Zone, it's possible for some of the Demonic Spiders in the first level, when your best offense is a Peashooter. And depending on the Random Number God, you may not get any of the "necessary" plants until well after you need them.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Plants with fire attacks are incompatible with those with freeze attacks, as they will thaw the zombies out and allow them to move at normal speed.
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.
In the sequel, Spring Bean and Chili Bean. The former isn't single use, but like Chomper they're vulnerable for a moment after each action; they're good to fend off zombies at the beginning, but they'll need some cover in the end. The latter, meanwhile, is good as not-emergency weapon too in that it helps stunning zombies behind the victim.
Energy Being: The Infi-nut is a Hard Light Wall-Nut spawned from a projector. It's weaker than a regular Wall-Nut, but regenerates itself every now and then.
Everything's Better with Plushies: A set of plushies with voice chips in them have been released. They include the normal mook zombie, Squash, Peashooter, and Sunflower.
There's also several sets of vinyl figures. Some come with the Game of the Year boxed sets of the game, some can be bought in sets of several figurines. There is also a collection of larger Funko POP! figures.
Inverted in Garden Warfare's Gardens and Graveyards mode- the zombies have to capture multiple areas in succession, and if the plants manage to defend past the time limit even once, the zombies lose.
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.
Eye Beams: Laser Bean has these. On the zombie side, Gargantua Prime also has them, and can absolutely lay waste to your garden if not killed fast enough.
"But honey, [joining the military] is dangerous!" "LIFE is dangerous."
Fartillery: The sequel has the Chili Bean, which delivers a deadly amount of gastrointestinal distress to any zombie that eats it. In the act of dissolving, the dying zombie releases a cloud of stench that will stun any other zombies in its wake.
Fastball Special: Gargantuar will hurl smaller zombies at your plants. Thankfully, they're extremely weak and tend to be hurled into thick concentrations of peas.
Featureless Protagonist: You never see the homeowner because it's, well, you. At the very least, the scream you give off during a game over is male.
Final Exam Boss: In the last level, you have to remember what plants do what kind of damage to fend off the final boss' attacks.
Finishing Move: In the sequel, Bonk Choy punches out any zombies within reach, and will finish them off with an upper cut.
Fire, Ice, Lightning: In the sequel, the three elements that new plants can have. Snapdragon (fire), Iceberg Lettuce (ice), Lightning Reed (electricity). Fire and Ice attacks were available in the first game, however.
Fog of War: During the 4th wave of levels, fog creeps into your garden.
Defog of War: Blover blows away the fog for a short of amount of time, and Plantern clears five lanes of fog as long as it's up.
Forged Message: The Zombies at one point send you (the home owner) a forged letter claiming to be your mother inviting you over for meatloaf, asking you to leave your front door open and your lawn unguarded. It is signed as "mom (not the zombies)".
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.
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.
Certain updates render the Android version borderline unplayable and unable to start. All updates of it are prone to crashing, as well.
Gatling Good: The "four at a time" Gatling Pea. Any Peashooter-type plant (except the Pea Pod) in the sequel will do this when powered-up with Plant Food.
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.
Healing Factor: The Infi-Nut can regenerate itself back to full health after a some time.
And the sequel also grants a stricter line to hold in some levels. Namely, don't let the zombies trample a line of flowers.
Holiday Mode: When the second game was first released in the UK, around Halloween, the Sunflower, Peashooter and Wall-Nut were wearing Halloween costumes (respectively as a witch, a Frankenstein's Monster and a Mummy). The first update removed this. Christmas 2013 saw the release of "Feastivus" bonus levels, with zombies dressed as elves.
Humongous Mecha: The final level has a giant zombie mecha that shoots fire and ice balls. And it's awesome.
The Gargantuar flattens your plants with a lamppost, a street sign, a broken-off telephone pole, or another zombie. In the sequel, they can also use electric posts, sarcophagi, sharks, giant candy canes, and a giant branding iron.
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 Zomboni 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 Jaywalking Dead: Inverted. Dr. Zomboss (in his Zombot, naturally) throws a winnebago onto six of your plants, instantly flattening them.
Jet Pack: Jetpack and Disco Jetpack Zombies in the sequel.
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.
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."
Lampshade Wearing: The traffic cone variant is used by some zombies. And in the sequel, the Lightning Reed's unlockable costume is for it to wear a lampshade.
Last Stand: The mini-game "Last Stand", where you have 5000 in resources and must spend it wisely to get to the next level.
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. The Giga-Football Zombie in the flash version's Survival: Endless Mode is 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.
Limit Break: Plant Food in the sequel gives each plant a unique and devastating special attack.
Long-Range Fighter: The Aspearagus in Adventures, where your plants have a maximum range. This plant has a very long range and can snipe zombies from afar.
The Scaredy Shroom is also one, being able to shoot from far away unlike Puff Shrooms, but will cower down when a zombie comes too close.
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.
October 12, 2014 is when Plants vs. Zombies Adventures on Facebook will be closing down for good.
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 (probably) 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 Poncho Zombie from the sequel may or may not be wearing a metal grate under his poncho. If he isn't, he goes down fast. If he is, he's as tough as a Buckethead. Better hope you have plant food/instakills if many grate-wearing ones appear in a wave.
In the second game, two of the challenge levels are like this. "Big Bad Butte" will kill you after ten levels if you don't have a multiple-attack plant to deal with Chickens and a backwards-firing plant to deal with Prospectors, and "Terror From Tomorrow" will kill you as soon as you reach a level that hits you with more than one Gargantua Prime at once, if you don't have an EM Peach to paralyse them and an Imitater to halve its recharge time.
Magikarp Power: The Spring Bean. Pathetically weak normally, but if it's Boosted it turns into a Game Breaker that will instakill almost everything on the screen for only 50 sun.
Man-Eating Plant: No men, but Chompers chew up and swallow a fair bit of zombies. They look suspiciously like purple piranha plants from Super Mario. Or Audrey, who the Chomper auditioned to play.
Manly Tears: The Tall-nut. Garlic also gets them after being chewed on long enough.
Mercy Invincibility: If one of your lawnmowers/pool/roof cleaners gets used, no zombies will attack that row for the next minute or two, giving you time to set up your defenses again.
Meta Power-Up: The Twin Sunflower, Torchwood, Pumpkin and Coffee Bean. Also Power Lily in the sequel.
Metal Slime: Yeti Zombie. He only appears after you beat the game once and only shows up on one level. When he takes significant damage, he'll try to flee, but will drop three diamonds if killed.
In PvZ 2, Yeti Zombie appears slightly more often in a random level. If he's killed, he will drop a lunchbox that will contain a either a diamond or a key. As of the latest update however, which did away with the keys, this can contain a few thousand coins.
Mighty Glacier: Gargantuars are very, very slow but they can take and dish out some major damage.
The robot zombies in the Far Future have obscene amounts of health and can dish out damage pretty quickly, but they're also very slow.
Also could go for Cat-tail, although it's more of her not wanting to be pigeonholed more than anything.
Mini-Mecha: The Robo-Cone, Disco-Tron 3000, Mecha Football and Gargantuar Prime zombies in the Far Future. They all can take massive amounts of damage. Dr Zomboss' vehicles in the sequel also count.
Mini Mook: The minigame "Big Trouble Little Zombie" features these.
Crazy Dave: Defend your shins!
And the Imps, of course.
Monogender Monsters: There are no female zombies in this game (or there might be some and it's just impossible to tell, when using the Zombatar feature many of the hair and clothing options appear feminine).
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. Same problem for Prospector Zombie in the sequel.
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.
The sequel has the Pea Pod, which can be planted on the same tile multiple times for up to five shots per volley. Also, many of the projectile-shooting plants will launch a barrage of projectiles when powered-up with Plant Food.
Using Plant Food on a Puff-shroom will cause all other Puff-shrooms on screen to use their Limit Break at once, allowing a huge amount of shots to be fired. It also resets their temporal lifespan.
Multiple Head Case: Split Pea and Threepeater play with this trope. According to the Almanac, Split Pea's second "head" is actually a large, head-like growth on the back of his own; and Threepeater, despite having three heads, is implied to have only one brain, and has little if anything else in his nature to do with the number "3". The Pea Pod in the sequel can have up to five heads. When fed Plant Food, it reveals a giant sixth head hidden underground.
Multishot: The Threepeater can shoot three shots at once, though it is a plant that has three heads.
Mundane Utility: In the sequel, Crazy Dave attempts to use a time machine to Time Travel to a few minutes back so he can eat the taco he just ate, one more time. Can't he just buy another taco?
Maybe the place he got it closed?
Why are you attempting to rationalise the logic of a character called "Crazy Dave"? He's crazy!
Certain zombie types in the second game are significantly nerfed compared to their equivalents in the first (the most glaring examples are the Prospector Zombie compared to the Digger Zombie, as it can fairly easily be destroyed before it jumps to the last column, and the Jetpack Zombie compared to the Pogo Zombie, as it is much slower-moving, weaker, and can be blown away by Blovers) because of the lack of an equivalent of the Magnet Shroom that neutralises zombies' special abilities, and because of the lack of a true survival mode that allows you to carry plants over between levels.
The Coconut Cannon and Spikerock are also severely nerfed in terms of, respectively, destructive power and durability compared to the Cob Cannon and Spikerock in the first game, for similar reasons.
The Puff Shroom is severely nerfed by giving it a short, finite lifespan, and much less health that it dies in two bites. A single Puff Shroom can't even destroy a single tombstone before it disappears. However, it does get a nice Plant Food ability where all Puff-shrooms on screen use their Limit Break at the same time, and this also resets the lifespan.
New Game+: 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 a space ogre 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.
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.
Plants vs. Zombies 2 has mummy zombies, pirate zombies, and cowboy zombies. As well as a yeti robot zombie, bull robot zombie, and zombies driving mechas, one of which is a Gargantuar Mecha.
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 space ogre 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).
Non-Standard Game Over: The "Endangered Plants" missions in the sequel introduces one, where the screen goes black, you hear the same Big "NO!" scream, but the screen says "The zombies have eaten your plant!" instead. (And no picture of a brain.) If you fail to reach the target score in the Seagull Zombie shooting gallery missions, there's a Big "NO!" with a caption saying "Penny is not impressed with your score".
No Sell: Save your Snapdragons and Torchwood, for the Imp Dragon zombie is completely immune to all fire-based attacks.
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.
Grave Busters are only useful in night levels in the first game, and Egypt or Dark Ages levels in the sequel. Likewise Spring Bean can fling zombies who step on it into nearby water - which only Pirate levels have. EM Peach is only useful against mecha, which only appear in the Far Future levels.
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.
The Citron from the sequel has a Plant Food power that can even destroy a Gargantuar in one hit! The Sun Bean's Plant Food upgrade will also kill any zombie that eats it and make them drop 15 sun per hit points remaining.
In the sequel, the Explorer Zombie can burn any plants with his torch (including Wall-Nuts! unless they're armored) and walk right through. If not killed in time, the pirate zombie's parrot can also carry plants up to the ceiling never to be seen again, just like the Bungee Zombies. The Barrel Zombie can also crush plants beneath its barrel, and Pianist Zombie does the same with his piano. The Mecha-football zombie can push all your plants in a row backward, killing any of those pushed offscreen, and the Gargantuar Prime can incinerate back-row plants with its Eye Beams.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Cabbage-pult. Once you have the Kernel-pult you probably won't ever use cabbages anymore, as the butter that Kernel-pult sometimes throws is much more useful than the cabbage-pult's higher damage (it freezes zombies in their tracks). Kernel 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.
Well, it does do 2 peas worth of more damage more consistantly than Kernel-pult and cost less than Melon-pult. Other then that, the trope still applies.
Perfectly Cromulent Word: No, the Cherry Bombs will not explode, nor will they detonate. They decided to explodonate. Powie! ("CHA-BOOF" in the sequel.)
Perpetual Frowner: Ice-shroom, although it is because of a childhood injury that left his facial nerves paralyzed.
Pirate Parrot: The Pirate Captain Zombie has one, which can fly towards a plant and take it away.
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.
The sequel introduces zombie chickens and parrots.
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 points", 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).
Revenue Enhancing Devices: The Android version, in particular, was criticised for how much grinding it takes to unlock mini-games without paying extra.
The zombies attack with tools, vehicles and robots... and get taken down by plants.
The Infi-nut can be instantly taken down (projector and all) by a zombie carrying a wooden torch.
Rocket Jump: The Prospector Zombie does this with a stack of TNT strapped to his leg. It launches him to the end of the yard, where he turns around and starts eating your plants from behind.
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?!
So where did Crazy Dave get this time machine? Why are there zombies in Ancient Egypt and the Wild West? How could you even plant on a ship? Who cares if there's not even a flimsy explanation for all of this?
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.
When the zombies come, just sit there and don't do anything. You win the game when the zombies get to your house.
This help section brought to you by the zombies.
Shamu Fu: The Pirate Gargantuar uses a shark (with a zombie's arm hanging out of its mouth) as a club.
Shed Armor, Gain Speed: In the sequel, the Pharaoh Zombie is initially the slowest zombie in the game since it's wearing its sarcophagus, but that makes him one of the toughest with an insane amount of health, immunity to being paralyzed, and the fact it can survive an explosive plant, which are usually a OHKO. Once it takes enough damage, the sarcophagus breaks and while he still has a Zombie Gait, he's one of the fastest zombies in the game.
The Explorer Zombie wields a torch that can instantly burn your plants, and he moves fast. Thankfully, he's about as durable as a common zombie. Using ice-element plants work too and can put out his torch.
Ra Zombies can steal the suns around him if you're not quick to retrieve them. If you kill him though, he'll give the suns back.
Prospector Zombies, if not taken down fast, can use his dynamite to leap high across your defenses and end up in the last column, then starts eating from the back. Plants that can hit backwards (such as Split Pea) and ice-element plants (which stops the wick) is his perfect counter.
Pianist Zombies can command all the other zombies to dance and switch lanes, screwing with your strategy. Kill him and the zombies will continue walking normally.
Tomb Raiser Zombie will periodically stop and throw a bone onto a random tile, and a tomb will raise from it, blocking your frontal shots. There's an achievement for killing him before he does so.
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.
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.note 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.
Spider Tank: Dr Zomboss uses one matching the theme of the world in his levels in the sequel.
Splash Damage: Melon-pult and Winter Melon. Flaming peas too, but on a very short radius.
Spontaneous Choreography: Pianist Zombies in the sequel can command all the other zombies into dancing and randomly switch lanes.
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". When powered-up with Plant Food in the sequel, the Threepeater fires a rapid barrage of peas in a waving fan pattern that can cover most of the level.
Snapdragons in the sequel can cover 2x3 columns at once per fire breath. Basically a cross of Fume-Shroom and Threepeaters.
Starting Units: In the first game, your very first plant is a Peashooter. Every 2 levels you'll be given a new plant to use.
In the second game, the Peashooter, Sunflower, Wall-nut and Potato Mine are this, given in the tutorial stage. All of them (minus Potato Mine) are also your starting units in each of the time period's "survival" levels.
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.
The Wall-nut and Tall-nut serve no purpose other than defending your easily-killed attackers by taking damage for them. And they sure can take LOTS of it. Even more in the sequel if you give them Plant Food.
Pumpkins turn any plant into these. Including the Nuts.
Super Strength: The Gargantuar uses telephone poles, animal crossing signs and other zombies to smash your plants with. Plus, he wields them with only 1 hand.
When you fail to find any brains during a "Brain Ball" challenge, the newspaper clearly shows a Gargantuar holding a house up.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Laser Bean is the second game's equivalent of the much-missed Fume Shroom. Although it has a different appearance and theme, it has the same very useful ability to damage all zombies in a row simultaneously. (In particular, seriously reducing the threat of Imp Cannons.)
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.
Time Travel: The second game starts because Crazy Dave wants to eat the taco he got in the first game, again.
Dr. Zomboss subverts this big time. Not only does he have perfect hand writing and grammar, he is also smart enough to build a Humongous Mecha for your fight with him. Also according to his almanac entry, he earned his Doctorate in Thanatology in only two years.
Transformation Is a Free Action: Averted in the first game, as the Imitater can be eaten by zombies during its transformation sequence, making it often impractical to use to copy a one-hit-kill plant. In the second game, this is not such a problem.
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.
Turns Red: Destroying the Newspaper Zombie's, well, newspaper causes him to run and hit as fast as Football Zombies! Thankfully, he doesn't get as tough too.
Not to be mistaken for a Zamboni® brand ice resurfacing machine. Zamboni® 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!
X-Ray Sparks: Happens in the sequel when attacks from Lightning Reeds or Power Zaps kill zombies.
Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The publicity and the internal content shows this in the "Dark Ages" levels, with different forms of "thou" thrown around randomly and "eth" added to the end of verbs regardless of proper conjugation.
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.
The main tactic of the zombies; especially true in Survival Mode.
The Chicken Wrangler Zombie in It's About Time. After taking enough damage, it releases a flock of weak but fast-moving Zombie Chickens across up to three lanes. If you haven't set up adequate defenses, the chickens can quickly overwhelm them.
Zombie Gait: Most of the zombies are slow, quite thankfully, or else you'd have no chance to build a proper defense. There are, however several notable exceptions, especially the Football Zombies (which are full-on Lightning Bruisers), the Pole Vaulter zombies and Dolphin Riders (before jumping), the Newspaper Zombies (after the newspaper is destroyed), the Imps and those goddamned Pogo Zombies.
The sequel makes the gait more varied, at least among different zombies. Even basic Mummy and Cowboy Zombies have different walking and eating animations.