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Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time, commonly shortened to Plants vs. Zombies 2, is a tower defense game released by PopCap Games. This game is a sequel to Plants vs. Zombies. It was released for iOS devices on Thursday, August 15, 2013. In this version, the player battles new zombies in a time travel motif.
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After the events of Plants vs. Zombies, zombies once again attack the front yard. After the zombies are all defeated, the player gets the hot sauce and gives it to Crazy Dave for his taco. After eating it, Crazy Dave laments about wanting to eat the taco again. Enter his partner, Penny, a time traveling trailer. Unfortunately, Penny ends up warping Crazy Dave (and you) deep into Ancient Egypt, revealing that they time traveled 4000 years in the past. Oh, and there's more zombies.

The player is dragged through time, initially arriving in Ancient Egypt, Pirate Seas, and Wild West. Subsequent updates introduced Far Future, Dark Ages, Big Wave Beach, Frostbite Caves, Lost City, Neon Mixtape Tour, Jurassic Marsh, and Modern Day. 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.

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Go here for general tropes introduced in the original game.


The Trope-ies are Coming, and they have the have Dinosaurs, Disco, and Droids.

  • 108: Referenced in one of Crazy Dave's quotes in the extra Far Future levels, where your lawnmowers are now gone.
    Crazy Dave: Either way, things just got 108% craaaaaazier around here!
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 10 or 20 may not seem like much by most video game standards, but it takes a lot of grinding (or money) to get a plant there, way longer than it takes to simply finish the single-player campaign. At that point, most max level plants will completely trivialize any Adventure challenge anyway. However, the developers added in a Player Versus Player mode, Battlez, which does take advantage of the overleveled plants. A later update raised the level cap even further by adding Mastery levels which increase their damage output by a certain percentage, capping out at M200. The vast majority of players will never get to that point, let alone see Mastery, due to the astronomical amount of Level Grinding required.
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  • Action Bomb: A variation for Chili Bean, which turns the zombie eating it into an Action Bomb.
  • Action Girl: Magnifying Grass is one of the few plants referred to as female, and instead of being a Support Party Member she launches powerful sunbeam attacks that can One-Hit Kill a regular zombie. And later, the game introduced Fire Peashooter, who can shoot peas and is immune to frost. More examples include Rotobaga, which shoots seeds diagonally, Toadstool, which can OHKO zombies, Ghost Pepper, which heavily damages zombies around it before exploding, Electric Blueberry, which instantly electrocutes a random enemy on screen, even Gargantuars, Dusk Lobber, who attacks in three directions when powered by a Moonflower and deals great splash damage, Bombegranate, who explodes like a Cherry Bomb while leaving multiple seeds which explode on contact, Witch Hazel, who turns zombies into Puff-Shrooms, and Missile Toe, who launches chilling blasts into the air that explode and chill zombies in an area.
    • On the zombies side, there's Weasel Hoarder, who releases vicious Ice Weasels into the battlefield when she's taken enough damage, Parasol Zombie, whose parasol can deflect lobbed shots, and Glitter Zombie, who can make rainbow trails to protect zombies behind her.
  • Airborne Mook: Any mook that is airborne will fly over ground-based plants like Potato Mines and Spikeweeds, and some of them can even fly over defences not called Tall-Nut.
    • For enemies that are always airborne, there are Seagull Zombies, Pelican Zombies, Zombie Parrot, Jetpack Zombies, Disco Jetpack Zombies, Blastronaut Zombies, Balloon Zombies, and any zombie carried by the Bug Zombie.
    • The Dodo Rider Zombie is an interesting situation. It's normally a grounded mook, but when it encounters an ice floe or certain plants, it will become an airborne mook to fly over said obstacle.
    • Any zombie that is affected by Knock Back/knock-forward temporarily becomes one, meaning that they become vulnerable to the Blover as long as they're airborne.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Chomper, Guacodile, and the Tyrannosaurus rex from Jurassic Marsh.
  • Allegedly Free Game: The game got some accusations of this simply because it was free to download with microtransactions, but the February 2014 update really brought justified allegations of this:
    • For a short time, Endless Zones lacked lawnmowers, which didn't just make them harder but also halves your coin reward for winning a level.
    • The cheap and effective Pinch power-up was replaced with a very expensive and not as effective 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.
    • Fortunately the volume of complaint led to all of these being dropped, except for the Pinch replacement.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The final world, Modern Day, introduces zombies from every time period, coming in via portals.
  • Anachronism Stew: Ancient Egypt introduces mummies, stone slab workers and pharaohs... and modern pyramid explorer zombies. Likewise, the Zombie Bull in the Wild West is actually a robot, and the Lost City, supposedly placed during the Exploration Era, has aeroplane pilots. However all of these anachronisms can be easily explained by Dr. Zomboss' use of time travel to introduce zombies and robots to various time periods.
    • Jurassic Marsh features dinosaurs (Raptor, Stegosaurus, T-Rex, Ankylosaurus and Pterodactyl, despite the last one not being a dinosaur) during the, you guessed it, Jurassic Era. However, only Stegosaurus and Pteros existed in that period, while all the others originated from the Cretaceous Era. And also, dinosaurs existed before humans (and zombies).
    • Taken up to eleven and beyond with Modern Day. Pretty much everything you've seen thus far is put against you.
  • And That's Terrible: The text for one zombie-killing quest reads "They're not pleasant, they're peasant! And that's terrible!".
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Clearing specific levels (and getting lucky in Pinata Parties) will yield new costumes or accessories for your plants.
  • Anti-Air: Kernel-pult can instantly kill Seagull Zombies, Zombie Parrots, Swashbuckler Zombies while they are swinging on their ropes and Bug Zombies if they lob butter on them. Hurrikale will blow away any flying enemies in that lane. Blover is the ultimate example, as it instantly kills any zombies that are in the air, including those who are normally landwalking, but are in the middle of a jump.
  • Anti Debuff: The Hot Potato can be used to thaw plants that got frozen in the Frostbite Cave levels. In addition, some plants are inherently resistant to freezing such as Pepper-pult or Cold Snapdragon, and some of them can also slowly thaw nearby plants if they're frozen.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • For all the frustration the game can bring, if you repeatedly lose levels you do get some free powerups every now and then at least. Plus you can always save up some Zen-Garden plant boosts and your coins for a particularly hard level.
    • In levels where you can't let zombies trample the flowers:
      • It's ok to let the fast-moving Airborne Mooks move over them, as they don't trample the flowers due to flight.
      • If there's a plant behind the flower line, the zombies will need to eat it before they can trample the flowers.
      • If the flower line is in the middle of a column instead of between two of them, planting a grounded plant such as Spikeweed, Spikerock, Cactus or Celery Stalker on it will prevent Zombies from trampling the flowers if they walk over the plant.
    • Previously, in the "Don't have more than X plants" levels, one would automatically fail if they planted over the limit. An update changed it such that it prevented the player from planting, and a message "You are at your planting limit. Shovel a plant to plant more." pops up instead of automatically failing the level.note 
    • La Brainsa Tarpits, the Endless Zone of Jurassic Marsh, gives you the Perfume-Shroom as a starting plant. A godsend considering how the Dinosaurs are able to greatly benefit the zombies otherwise.
  • Anti-Vehicle: In Far Future, the E.M.Peach can paralyse zombie mechas. A godsend considering the robotic zombies and the Gargantuar Prime's eye-beams.
  • Aquatic Mook: Pretty much all the enemies in Big Wave Beach. They start out in/on the water and attempt to reach shore (with the exception of the Fisherman Zombie).
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range:
    • Inverted with the Guacodile. When not submerged in water, it fires avocado pits at zombies from afar with the same strength as regular Peashooters. However, when a zombie gets too close, he'll rush off chomping all zombies on his lane, which can kill regular zombies and Conehead Zombies.
    • Played with by the Red Stinger. When it's nearer the front of the lane, it becomes more defensive and shoots less often (or even closes up entirely in the first few rows), while if it's at the back, it becomes full-on offense and shoots much more often.
  • Arbitrary Mission Restriction:
    • The "Save Our Seeds" Brain Busters start the player with several pre-placed plants that will fight like normal. The mission is, as always, to defend the left side of the screen, except that if any of the pre-placed plants die, that will also result in a loss.
    • "Locked and Loaded" Brain Busters that require the player to complete the stage using specific plants. Conveyor belt stages return and some of the stage-specific special missions are even more restrictive. On the bright side, some of these allow you to use plants that you need to unlock with gems or cash otherwise.
    • Certain levels force additional restrictions: How many plants you can use, how many plants you can lose, how much sun you need to produce, how long you must last for without planting (pre-1.7 version), how many zombies killed within a period of time, where you can or cannot plant (mould colonies; before the objective description change), and how far the zombies can walk, which is marked by a row of flowers. If you fail any of these restrictions, the player will lose the level and force to restart just like if the zombies ate your brains (after the 1.7 update) or not get a star (1.6 and below).
    • Don't forget the world exclusive plants. Lily Pad, Tangle Kelp, Hot Potato, Gold Leaf, Thyme Warp, and Perfume Shroom are only usable in their home world (with 1 exception for thyme warp). The former 2 are understandable due to the lack of water in other worlds, but the others don't have that excuse, especially in modern day where most of the other worlds' gimmick return such as Hunter Zombie, gold tiles, and dinosaurs. At least E. M. Peach and Tile Turnip don't suffer this problem.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: The Bloomerang, Snapdragon, Laser Bean and Fume-shroom can pierce through the Shield Zombie's Deflector Shields.
    • Shadow Shroom bypasses any armor the Zombie is wearing and kills Cone, Bucket, and Knight/Iceblock/Fossilhead Zombies as fast as if they were just plain ol' zombies, ignoring their armor entirely. They don't kill special zombies as fast, though, so it counts.
  • Artistic License – Biology: When a Bug Zombie is killed by the Lightning Reed, it shows the bug's internal skeleton. Bugs don't have any internal skeleton.
    • The Infi-nut isn't technically a plant, as he's a hologram of Wall-nut.
  • Attack Reflector: The Jester Zombie can reflect all projectiles, making it incredibly deadly and necessitating the use of non-projectile offensive plants or instant-kill plants.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • 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.
    • The Sun Bean, when eaten by a zombie, makes the zombie drop sun when its damaged. Sounds cool, right? Well, it is! However, it's not a plant you'd use viably due to the fact that it has a slow recharge and basic zombies won't give much sun for it anyway, and you'd be better off planting a sunflower. However, it's quite viable when used on a metal-using zombie while a Magnet-shroom is on field. As of the Plant Leveling System, it's become better yet worse- it can give way good amounts of extra sun, but now there is a cap on the maximum sun it can give from a Zombie. This also means that it'll give a paltry 300 or so even when fed to a Robo-Cone or Knight.
    • A maxed-out Pea Pod deals 5 times as much damage as a Peashooter, probably the highest single target damage in the game among the normal-shooting plants. It also costs a whooping 625 Sun, making planting it impractical in most stages. And in stages that are long enough to plant it, usually there are too many zombies for single-target plants to be useful.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • The Wizard Zombie can turn plants into harmless sheep, making them unable to do anything (and also become unable to be uprooted). They turn back if the wizard is killed.
    • The Witch Hazel turns zombies into Puff-Shrooms, effectively killing them. If fed Plant Food, it turns them into Toadstools. Amusingly enough, its preferred target is the Wizard Zombie.
  • Ballistic Bone: In Ancient Egypt, Tomb Raiser zombies can throw bones that turn into tombstones.
  • Bandit Mook:
    • Ra Zombies in Ancient Egypt 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.
    • Pirate Captain Zombies in Pirate Seas have a pet parrot that will steal your plants.
    • Fisherman Zombies in Big Wave Beach will drag your plants into the water to drown.
    • Turquoise Skull Zombies steal sun, then attack with a One-Hit Kill beam from their turquoise skull. And yes, the sun is lost when that happens.
  • Band Land: Neon Mixtape Tour takes place in The '80s where different music genres are all the rage, and the level gimmick is the music-based Jams that affect the zombies' speed as well as giving certain zombies special abilities when their Jam plays.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: The Ghost Pepper resembles one of these. Apparently it's her Halloween party costume, but she likes it too much.
  • BFG: Coconut Cannon and Banana Launcher. Pea Pod can also reveal one when given Plant Food.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Zomboss, again.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: The Treasure Yeti, who sporadically appears in random levels and Yeti Imps which appears in Frostbite Caves.
  • Big Head Mode: The "Big Brainz" Pinata Party events makes the regular zombies and Gargantuars' heads comically oversized.
  • Blatant Lies: The note before the Gargantuar battle on Pirate Seas says "Treasure! (not zombies)" at the X. However, defeating the zombies in the stage afterward does result in finding a treasure chest.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Besides Jalapeno, there are a few more fire plants based on spicy plants.
    • The Pepper-Pult deals fire Splash Damage alongside warming other plants up. Leveling it up will also increase its warming radius.
    • The Wasabi Whip is a Close-Range Combatant that deals fast and heavy damage forwards and backwards. Leveling it up will also increase the number of targets it hits.
  • Blush Sticker: The Chili Bean, although the Almanac states that he's trying to hold [his gas] in.
    • Although it's subtle, Hot Potato has these too.
  • Bold Explorer: In Lost City, it's the zombies who are these, attempting to explore and invade the plants' City of Gold (and brains).
  • Book-Ends: The prologue and Modern Day both take place on your front lawn.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • 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. Just make sure to stick a Wall / Tall / Infi-Nut in front of them.
    • Primal Wall-nuts also apply. They're pretty much the same thing as normal Wall-nuts, but cost slightly more, recharge much, much faster, and can survive up to three Gargantuar attacks. The fast recharge effectively helps for stalling zombies, and the slight price increase makes the recharge completely worth it. Furthermore, they're a good counter to Dinosaurs as dinosaurs can only affect zombies that have moved past the last column, so placing a Primal Wall-Nut to block them on the last column is a valid strategy. Leveling them up gives them more health and subsequently the ability to survive more gargantuar smashes.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • The Snapdragon breathes fire to attack zombies in a 2x3 area in front of it. When given Plant Food, it breathes more fire, instantly killing all zombies in a 3x3 radius. The same applies to the Cold Snapdragon, only with ice instead.
    • The Stunion uses its bad breath to stun all zombies in a small area. Leveling this up to Level 5 also causes him to poison them ala Shadow-Shroom.
    • Garlic's plant food effect unleashes a stinky cloud from his mouth, making all zombies in front of him to switch lanes
    • The Zombot Dark Dragon boss has an attack where it breathes fire at two lanes, temporarily scorching the lanes and making them unplantable.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Using a Plant Food on Hypno-Shroom will make it brainwash the afflicted zombie... and also turn them into a Gargantuar!
    • The Caulipower targets a random zombie and brainwashes them. This even affects Zombies that don't eat such as Gargantuars, Mecha-Footballs, Excavators, etc.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: There are 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.
  • Brutal Bonus Level:
    • Pinata Parties. They're entirely optional, but can reward sweet loot. However, many of them test you to your limits on the knowledge of plants, zombies and layouts, trying again costs 1000 coins and beating them 5 days in a row gives a bonus reward. Thankfully, leveled-up plants can and will take out a lot of their difficulty, unless they're Vasebreaker Pinata Parties where all your plants are set to level one.
    • The "Boosted Zombie Bash" Epic Quest. All your plants are set to level one, and all upgrades are locked meaning that you start with 50 sun, 6 seed packet slots, a maximum of three Plant Food slots, no Wall-Nut First Aid or Mower Launch or using Plant Food to refresh cooldown. Furthermore, for each stage in the quest, the zombies gain an additional 100% of their base HP. At level 10 the basic zombies are able to even resist the damage from a Cherry Bomb!
    • The post-Zomboss levels, added in lieu of new worlds after Modern Day was released as the final world. Penny warns the player that they will need stronger plants to survive, and indeed, they are much harder than the levels before them and will push the players' tactics and reflexes to the limit without Level Grinding. After several levels, they become even more brutal as the mowers that previously served as a safety net disappear.
  • Cast from Money: The Magnifying Grass uses sun to attack.
  • Call-Back: Modern Day features call-backs from the first game, from the level music, their world-exclusive Brain Buster note , and zombies.
  • Character Select Forcing:
    • In Frostbite Caves, one must select thawing plants or plants that can instantly destroy ice, otherwise all their plants will eventually get frozen over by the cold wind/snowballs.
    • Lily Pads in Big Wave Beach, especially on levels where the tide can affect the whole field.
    • Whenever there are Jester Zombies around, the player would need to use penetrating plants or have an instant or stun plant on hand, since they reflect almost all projectiles.
    • In levels with MC Zom-Bs, one MUST use long distance plants or spikes, because they will destroy all plants around them, making short-ranged plants useless.
    • Lost City levels tend to require either a straight+lobbed shot combo, or a penetrating plant, so that you will be able to affect both Excavator Zombies and Parasol Zombies.
  • Chain Lightning: The Lightning Reed, which is especially useful against the hordes of Zombie Chickens that get released by the Chicken Wrangler zombie.
  • Character Level: Starting from a patch, you can level up your plants by giving them seed packs. By leveling them up you can increase their damage, their lifespan, rate of fire and other effects, making them more effective.
  • Charged Attack: The Citron's attack takes a long time to charge, but when it's ready, it fires out a very powerful shot at the enemy.
  • City of Gold: The Lost City. In an interesting twist, you start out in it, and are trying to prevent the jungle expedition-based zombies from invading it.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Certain plants have a limited attack range, and they make up for it by dealing greater amounts of damage per second compared to ranged plants:
    • The Bonk Choy, who 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.
    • Bonk Choy's fiery counterpart, Wasabi Whip, works in a similar manner, except that affects two squares in front and behind it instead of just one.
    • There are also the Snapdragon (breathes fire 3x2 squares wide), its icy counterpart Cold Snapdragon, and the Spring Bean (flings away any zombie who steps on it).
    • The Endurian takes it to the extreme, being a Wall-nut like defensive plant that damages zombies close enough to attack it.
    • Also, there's Phat Beet. It only attacks in a 3x3 radius around him, but he can take out a Basic Zombie before he gets eaten.
    • The Jack O'Lantern produces a very powerful stream of flame that hits the three squares in front. At full charge, it can even take out Knights and Blockheads. It stops being this when it levels up enough, however, since its range actually increases when it does so.
    • When unpowered, the Night Shade will attack nearby zombie with its petals for a great amount of damage, more than its ranged attack. It can only perform this three times, however.
    • The Parsnip will snap at zombies two squares in front for very heavy damage. This is enough to kill a regular zombie in three hits at level one, and at level two it destroys them in just two. Furthermore, if it takes enough damage, it performs a rushing attack down the lane.
    • The Kiwibeast initially attacks zombies on the same square it's on. When it takes enough damage, however, it grows and its attack radius turns into a 3x3 area thump similar to Phat Beet's. If it takes even more damage, it grows again, and the radius and damage of its shockwave increases yet again.
  • Clown-Car Grave: The Dark Ages, in which the graves will summon zombies repeatedly.
  • Clucking Funny: Zombie Chickens in the Wild West.
  • The Coconut Effect: Played with in the trailer for Dark Ages. A Knight Zombie pretends to ride a horse while an Imp Monk bangs two coconut shells together.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Many players have noticed that the AI enemy score in Battlez is rigged. When you're at lower league and have lower win streak, the AI often score barely anything while you rack up a lot of points. As your streak grows, the AI starts to reliably score higher than you, or worse, trail behind you throughout the match before suddenly gaining a score spike to overtake you at the very last second, and worst of all, all these can happen when the AI clearly has inferior plants than you (as in, you have your high-leveled Game-Breaker plants and the AI has level 1 or 2 early-game plants).
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted in the Frostbite Caves. Flaming plants will actually warm up all plants around it, and the hotter the flame (via Torchwood's Plant Food), the faster they thaw. Lava Guava takes it further, when it erupts and leaves a lava tile behind, the tile can still warm the plants around it.
  • Cool Car: Penny, Crazy Dave's time machine is a cool trailer van. And it has a talking computer voice which engages in Boke and Tsukkomi Routines with Crazy Dave.
  • Cooldown Manipulation:
    • The Plant Food item can be given to seed packs that are still in cooldown to quickly reset the cooldown. Best used for those plants with long cooldown times such as Wall-Nut or Cherry Bomb.
    • The Plant Food effect on plants themselves tend to effectively override the action cooldown as well, and sometimes otherwise behave in a way that bascially counteracts the planting cooldown (healing and reinforcing nuts, spawning additional plants of the same type, etc).
    • The Imitater allows you to take two of the same plants, effectively halving its cooldown.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: The Octo Zombie is this to octopi. Even his bio lampshades the fact that he's "the undersea equivalent of a cat lady". The Weasel Hoarder is presumably this as well.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • Grave Buster, Lily Pad/Tangle Kelp and Hot Potato are only useful in the worlds where there are graves, water, and frost respectively. In fact, Lily Pad, Tangle Kelp and Hot Potato can't be taken out of their respective worlds.
    • Lightning Reed exists to counter Chicken Zombies, and that's it. While it can attack multiple enemies through Chain Lightning. Its damage is so pitifully weak it won't be able to kill anything tougher than basic zombies. It can't even properly counter the Ice Weasels, which are basically tougher version of the Chickens.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted with the Pea-Nut. The Pea-Nut has high health and does damage, but will do half damage when it is halfway eaten.
  • Critical Hit: Every fifth attack of Phat Beet sends out a larger shockwave that deals 2.25 normal damage shots, the rest deal 0.75.
  • Damage Discrimination: Taken even further, as plants will fire at ice and octopi covering other plants without ever hurting the plant underneath.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Shadow Plants. Despite some of them having rather dark powers such as poison (Shadow-Shroom) and darkness (Grimrose, Shadow Peashooter), they're still the good guys.
  • Death from Above: Lost Pilot Zombies fall down from trees and stay in the air while eating plants, acting as shields for other zombies.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: If you don't mind watching ads, when you lose in an endless zone, you may watch an ad to continue your run instead of starting over. You do get penalized by losing all your plant foods, but if you have gone far and even unlocked every single plant you have for the endless zone, such a cost is relatively negligible compared to having to slog though a hundred levels or so to regain all your plants. Also, if you just cannot afford to lose any lawnmower, resetting your run this way also resets all your lawnmowers, so that you don't have to spend the next few levels trying to roll for them.
  • Death Trap: Present in certain levels of Lost City, which are triggered by a plant or zombie touching a rather obvious switch. There are two kinds- boulder traps that destroy 2 columns of plants and zombies, and flame traps that destroy a row.
  • Deflector Shields:
    • Using Plant Food on an Infi-nut creates this. It's able to protect an entire column from zombies and Fisherman Zombie's hooks, and is durable enough to withstand a few Gargantuar smashes.
    • The Shield Zombie can create these to protect fellow zombies on adjacent lanes. It also protects against Splash Damage, meaning that Winter Melons that hit the shield won't harm the zombies behind it.
  • Demon Head: The Ghost Pepper when it attacks, and even more so when given plant food.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Jurassic Rockpuncher isn't able to remove the rocks tied to his hands... because someone tied rocks to his hands.
  • Depower: Cold attacks can extinguish the abilities of Explorer and Prospector Zombies, whose powers are dependent on fire.
    • Shrinking Violet disables Gargantuar's and Zombie Bull's Imp throwing, Arcade's and Troglobite's object pushing, MC Zom-B microphone radius, and Chicken Wrangler's and Weasel Hoarder's animal Zerg Rush.
  • Disco Dan: Disco-tron 3000 and Disco Jetpack Zombies.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: A very odd zig-zagging example with Iceberg Lettuce, Stunion, and Stallia.
    • Iceberg Lettuce and Stunion initially have very similar abilities, being low cost plants that freeze/stun zombies within a small area. However, as they level up, their abilities become more distinct. Iceberg Lettuce eventually gains an area freeze as well as increased freeze time, while Stunion eventually gets the ability to poison and deal armor-piercing damage over time to zombies affected by it.
    • When Iceberg Lettuce reaches level 16, its gains a 3x3 area of effect similar to Stallia, except it freezes zombies instead of slowing them. Stallia however gains the ability to also Knock Back zombies in its 3x3 area of effect at level 5, giving it a distinct use over Iceberg Lettuce (particularly if followed up with Blover for a One-Hit Kill).
  • 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.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Gargantuar in Dark Ages uses big hammer to crush your plants.
  • Draw Aggro: This is Sweet Potato's ability. She attracts nearby zombies in the lane above and below into her own lane. When given Plant Food, she attracts zombies in a large area, even behind her. Inverted with Garlic's ability which repels zombies off his lane.
  • Dual Mode Unit: Some plants in the game serve dual purposes:
    • Pea-Nut being both a defensive and pea-shooting plant.
    • Red Stinger can serve as offense and defense depending on how far it is placed on the lawn.
    • Cactus acts as both as a Spike Shooter (when the zombies are far away) or Spikes of Doom (when they come close).
    • Night Shade is a Close-Range Combatant when near, but can fire its petals when powered by a Moonflower.
  • Dumb Dodo Bird: Frostbite Caves has imps riding dodos, which can with great effort fly over barriers. They're actually not all that dumb considering that they could be trained as a mount and taught to fly.
  • 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 reintroducing the use of mushrooms and no sun from the sky.
  • Dungeon Bypass: The Swashbuckler Zombie and the Relic Hunter Zombie will drop deep into your defences while Breakdancer Zombies can kick others zombies further into the lawn. There are also ambushes, which will also drop zombies midway into your lawn.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: It actually exists. The difficulty of the game changes depending on player actions.
  • EMP: The E.M.Peach can be used to disable machines used by zombies.
  • Elemental Powers: A good number of the plants have elemental abilities, some of which can affect zombies differently. Fire attacks tend to burn zombies, Ice attacks can slow or even freeze, Lightning attacks usually fry zombies, etc. A quick listing of them (note: not directly related to game mechanics):
    • Fire: Snapdragon, Pepper-pult, Fire Peashooter, Lava Guava, Torchwood, Jalapeño, Jack O'Lantern, Wasabi Whip
    • Ice: Iceberg Lettuce, Winter Melon, Hurrikale, Snow Pea, Cold Snapdragon
    • Lightning: Lightning Reed, Laser Bean, EM Peach (doesn't do damage though), Cactus (with Plant Food only), Electric Blueberry, Electric Currant
    • Plasma/Light: Citron, Starfruit, Red Stinger (with plant food only), Magnifying Grass
    • Sound: Phat Beet, Ghost Pepper
    • Poison/Psychotropic: Chili Bean (flatulence), Fume-Shroom (acid vapor), Hypno-Shroom (hallucinogen), Stallia (knockout gas), Stunion (tear gas), Garlic
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Freezing plants counter fire-using zombies, and fire-based plants are very useful in Frostbite Caves, keeping nearby plants warm against the cold wind and Hunter Zombies.
  • Emergency Weapon: 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 over time.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Jurassic Marsh contains dinosaurs and pterosaurs. Subverted initially as they greatly benefit the zombies by transporting zombies into your defences, but they play it straight once they're charmed by the Perfume-Shroom, killing any zombies they encounter.
  • Excuse Plot: The sequel simply adds in gratuitous Time Travel that could've all been avoided.
  • Eye Beams: Laser Bean has these. On the zombie side, Gargantuar Prime also has them, and can absolutely lay waste to your garden if not killed fast enough.
  • Fartillery: 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.
  • Finishing Move: Bonk Choy punches out any zombies within reach, and will finish them off with an upper cut.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning:
    • The three elements that new plants can have. Snapdragon, Pepper-Pult, Fire Peashooter, Lava Guava, Jack O'Lantern, Wasabi Whip (fire), Iceberg Lettuce, Hurrikale, Cold Snapdragon (ice), Lightning Reed, Laser Bean, EMPeach, Cactus, Electric Blueberry, Electric Currant and Electric Peashooter (electricity). Fire and Ice attacks were available in the first game, however.
    • With the arrival of Electric Peashooter, the pea family now has a trio of Fire Peashooter, Snow Pea and Electric Peashooter.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: Frostbite Caves introduces fire-based warming plants as well as Power Flame (replacing Power Snow exclusive to this world) against freezing winds and Hunter Zombies.
  • Floating Clocks: One is seen the first time the player travels back in time to Ancient Egypt.
  • Fragile Speedster: Zombie Chickens and Ice Weasels. The former has 1/4 HP (meaning that even a Chain Lightning from a Lightning Reed will kill them) while the latter has 2 HP. They're also the fastest enemies in the game, moving fast AND eating fast.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Laser Bean and Magnifying Glass when plant food is used on it.
  • Fun with Acronyms: A.K.E.E.note , who's based off of the Ackee plant.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The Troglobite glitch, which occurs if a Troglobite is killed before it can push any of frozen Yeti Imps onto the lawn. If this happens, the level will not end unless the frozen Yeti Imps are released from their icy prison via projectiles- the trouble is that plants won't attack offscreen iceblocks, which means that plant food/Magnifying Grass attacks will be needed or the player has to reset the level. The main issue is when this occurs during Icebound Battleground- there's no way to reset the level normally, making the player stuck forever.
    • The Blooming Heart plant originally had a bug where, upon striking a zombie, it could possibly grant the zombie a ridiculous amount of health due to an oversight in its programming. Thus, the level would become Unwinnable by Mistake as there's no possible way to kill the zombie before it reaches your house. Fortunately, this bug was later fixed.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In this Kung-Fu World trailer, a Chili Bean was crushed by a Tall-Nut, causing the Chili Bean to release gas. This does not happen in actual gameplay (i.e. Getting smashed by a Gargantuar); it's only when it's eaten entirely.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • The description for the Zombot War Wagon.
      Dr. Zomboss normally doesn't take any bull, but this time he made an exception.note 
    • In the Zen Garden, one of Bernie's animations for pollen drops shows it apparently scratching its backside.
    • Pirate Seas and Wild West's Endless Zones are called "Dead Man's Booty" and "Big Bad Butte". To introduce the former level, Crazy Dave says "I'd plunder that."
    • Before the battle against Zomboss in Big Wave Beach, he mentions that Chomper has "getting ultra cozy" with Bikini Zombie.
  • Ghost Pirate: The theme of Pirate Seas.
  • Giant Mook: Particularly in the Far Future with Robo-Cone zombie, the Mecha-Football zombie, and the Disco-Tron 3000. Every era also has its own version of Gargantuars.
  • Gimmick Level: Each of the worlds has their own gimmick to them:
    • Ancient Egypt: Tombstones litter the lawn and cannot be planted on, requiring plant attacks or the Grave Buster to remove them.
    • Pirate Seas: Plankless rows prevent any plants from being placed there, but also prevents zombies from walking on them.
    • Wild West: Minecarts allow the player to move plants on top from lane to lane.
    • Far Future: Power Tiles on the lawn allow plants on similar tiles to share Plant Food effects.
    • Dark Ages: No sun falls down thanks to the night time, while gravestones that cannot be planted on litter the lawn and can spawn zombies from them.
    • Big Wave Beach: A tide line marks the highest level where the tide will come in, drowning plants that aren't on lily pads.
    • Frostbite Caves: Ice Floes will redirect most zombies to another lane, while the freezing winds will chill your plants until they freeze over.
    • Lost City: Gold tiles on the lawn produce sun like a Sunflower when a plant is on them.
    • Neon Mixtape Tour: The different background music alters the speed of zombies, as well as giving certain zombies special abilities.
    • Jurassic Marsh: Dinosaurs will enter the lawn and linger a while helping the zombie horde, but can be turned against the zombies with the Perfume-Shroom.
    • Modern Day: Portals from every world (minus Modern Day) can spawn certain zombies in the middle of the battlefield.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Explorer Zombies have only two hit points more than the standard zombie, but can one-hit-kill your plants with their torch if they get close. Freezing can put out the torch.
    • Zombie Chickens and Ice Weasels. Ridiculously weak but ridiculously fast-moving and fast-eating, especially since they come in packs.
    • Turquoise Skull Zombie has the same health as an Explorer Zombie, yet has the most powerful attack in the game. To give you an idea, it can kill an Hypnotized Gargantuar with just one shot. However, it can't One-Hit Kill armored Wall/Tall Nuts or Endurians.
    • MC Zom-B. When his Rap Jam plays he gains an "Instant Death" Radius microphone spin that hits a 3x3 area around him and deals enough damage to kill a Wall-Nut in two hits and anything weaker in one. However, he does have low health- equal to that of the Explorer and Turquoise skull.
    • Most of the stronger plants like Winter Melon, Banana Launcher, Coconut Cannon are these, but the Strawburst and Electric Blueberry are the best examples. The former can deal incredible area splash damage, but if a zombie attacks it when it has a berry, it self-destructs. The latter is as durable as a normal plant (which isn't much), but its attack is powerful enough to fry a Gargantuar in one hit.
  • Gone Horribly Right: What Laser Bean's laser eye surgery was described to be.
  • Hard Light: The Infi-Nut and the 8-bit Zombies are made of this.
  • Harmless Freezing: The Hunter Zombie will throw snowballs at your plants, causing them to be slowly encased in ice until they're frozen solid. Cold winds have the same effect. Many stages in Frostbite Caves also have zombies encased in ice, and there's Troglobite, a type of zombie based on the tactic of pushing frozen Imps across the battlefield, crushing plants with the iceblocks.
  • Healing Factor: The Infi-Nut can regenerate itself back to full health after a while, unless the projector is destroyed (many zombies will just ignore it).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the Neon Mixtape Tour, allowing Punk zombies to kick your vulnerable plants will make the game easier, as it pushes them back across the screen without killing them and makes it easier to defend them.
  • Hold the Line: The sequel grants a stricter line to hold in some levels. Namely, don't let the zombies trample a line of flowers, or the level is automatically failed. Note that this only applies to zombies that walk- it's fine to let Airborne Mooks pass over them without any penalty.
  • 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.
  • Human Popsicle: Some levels of Frostbite Caves and its Endless Zone Icebound Battleground have frozen zombies that are gradually released as the level progresses.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball:
    • The A.K.E.E. fires lobbed shots that bounce off zombies and hit other zombies behind them.
    • Bowling Bulb's bulbs as well.
  • An Ice Plant: The sequel introduces Iceberg Lettuce, Hurrikale, and Cold Snapdragon along with returning plants Snow Pea and Winter Melon.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • The Gargantuars are the master of this trope. They use electric posts, sarcophagi, sharks, giant candy canes, a giant branding iron, giant hammers, and giant electric guitars.
    • The Surfer Zombie can smash a single plant in one hit with his surfboard, even if they are buffed with Plant Food!
    • Octo Zombie uses... well, octopi.
    • MC Zom-B spins his microphone to perform a powerful "Instant Death" Radius attack.
    • Arcade Zombie pushes arcade machines to crush your plants.
  • Improvised Armor: Poncho Zombies. They may or may not be wearing a metal grate under his poncho. He's about as tough as a regular zombie if he isn't, but is as tough as a Buckethead if he is.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: The Zombot Dark Dragon, a great departure from his Zomboss' Spider Tank machines. And also, Snapdragon and his icy counterpart Cold Snapdragon.
  • "Instant Death" Radius: When MC Zom-B's Rap Jam plays, he gains the ability to spins his microphone, dealing very heavy damage to all plants around him in a 3x3 radius, enough to take out a Wall-Nut in just two hits and instantly killing anything weaker.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The dinosaurs in Jurassic Marsh cannot be damaged or harmed by the plants, and have abilities that benefit the zombies. The only way to affect them is via the Perfume-Shroom, which makes the dinosaurs hinder the zombies for a while.
  • Jet Pack: Jetpack and Disco Jetpack Zombies, obviously.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Explorer Zombies can burn your plants with his torch, instantly killing them. However, you can put the fire out with an iceberg lettuce.
    • The sequel also introduces the Snapdragon, which shoots a wall of fire wide enough to cover three lanes, the Lightning Reed, which will burn zombies to a crisp after enough exposure, and the Pepper Pult, which deals AOE fire damage as well as thawing plants around it.
    • Zombot Dark Dragon can use a fire breath on two lanes, instantly destroying any plants on them and rendering them unplantable for a short while. It can also spit fireballs into the air that rain on the lawn, which can also spawn Imp Dragon zombies.
  • Knock Back:
    • The Chard Guard uses this to hit groups of zombies backwards. It can only use this three times, however.
    • The Mecha-Football Zombie does this to your entire row of plants, pushing them all backwards and flinging those closest to the lawn off.
    • When the Punk Jam plays, the Punk Zombie gains the ability to kick the plant in front of them back to the closest space (or off the lawn if there isn't one)
    • The Primal Peashooter shoots boulder-like peas that sometimes knock back zombies.
  • Lampshade Wearing: The Lightning Reed's unlockable costume is for it to wear a lampshade. The modern Conehead Zombie even parodies this:
    "After a wild night, Conehead Zombie woke up holding a mysterious receipt for a cone and industrial strength adhesive."
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • The Surfer Zombie is a mild example. He's faster than a normal zombie (on water anyway), tougher, and has a One-Hit Kill attack (that incidentally also becomes an obstacle blocking your plants from attacking anything behind it until it's destroyed).
    • Excavator Zombies. They're exceptionally fast, have a good amount of health for a mook with this speed, are completely damn invulnerable to non-piercing straight shots thanks to their shovel, and while their "attack" doesn't kill plants, it does screw over your defensive/offensive layout very quickly, throwing plants behind them and making attackers much more vulnerable and unable to hurt it, and defenders more susceptible to attacks.
    • Newspaper Zombies. While slow at first, once you destroy his newspaper (which requires a fair amount of damage), they gain chicken-like speed while eating plants in less than a second. These guys can destroy a defense by themselves in the blink of an eye.
    • Any Buckethead Zombie carried by a Bug Zombie is this.
    • Gargantuars count too (with the exceptions of Gargantuar Prime, Vase Gargantuar, and Jurassic Gargantuar), because they're faster.
  • Limit Break / Power-Up Food: Plant Food in the sequel gives each plant (except those with instant effects) a unique and devastating special attack, a defensive boost, instant sun production or dublication.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The Boombox Zombie's power ballad track goes on for slightly more than a minute before it loops, but in-game, each individual zombie only plays it for 8 seconds at most. The only way to extend the track is to have multiple Boombox Zombies continually activating it in sequence, which most players will be reluctant to let happen because of its devastating plant stunning effect.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Big Wave Beach, you are unable to plant Potato Mines on Lily Pads, but there's nothing stopping you from putting Lily Pads on Potato Mines.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The Poncho Zombie 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.
    • Two of the Endless Zones 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 Gargantuar Prime at once, if you don't have an E.M.Peach to paralyse them and an Imitater to halve its recharge time.
  • Magikarp Power: Some normally-weak plants have very powerful Plant Food or Boost powers.
    • The Iceberg Lettuce, if boosted, will freeze every single zombie on the screen for zero sun expenditure.
    • 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 on the pirate levels. In other stages a quick followup Blover will have the same effect.
    • Several weak or otherwise outclassed plants get much better as they level up. Plants with 20 maximum level like Peashooter, Bonk Choy, Bloomerang, and Repeater gain levels very quickly compared to most other plants, and their damage increases at a respectable rate.
    • A Level 7 Peashooter will kill a regular zombie in just four shots, compared to a level 1 Peashooter which kills in ten. The same goes for Puff-Shroom.
    • A Level 1 Bonk Choy takes 13 rapid punches to kill a regular zombie. A Level 8 Bonk Choy kills a Conehead in 12.
    • A Level 7 Bloomerang will kill a zombie in just two attacks.
    • A Level 7 Cabbage-Pult kills zombies in two attacks as well.
    • At Level 3, Bowling Bulb will recharge its blue bulb first instead of the green bulb. This increases its damage by a factor of 3 if there are zombies constantly in its lane.
    • A Level 3 Spikeweed deals just as much damage as a Level 1 Spikerock, and costs less than three times that.
  • Magma Plant: The Lava Guava, which erupts in an area then leaves a patch of lava that deals heavy Damage Over Time on the spot it was planted in.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout:
    • Phat Beet essentially shakes zombies to death with sound waves.
    • When his Metal Jam is playing, Hair Metal Gargantuar's guitar sends out a sonic shockwave that travels towards the house, dealing 40 bites of damage to the first plant it hits.
  • Marathon Boss: The Zombot Aerostatic Gondola in the Lost City world. The zombies it sends aren't especially strong, but your plants are fairly weak and you don't get any long-range multiple-attack plant, meaning that you can only wear the Gondola down slowly.
  • Master of None: General opinion of the Pea-Nut. It has the same damage of a basic Peashooter while having the toughness of a Wall-Nut, and it costs 150 Sun, a combination of the two plants' costs. Unfortunately, Peashooter quickly gets overshadowed by other offensive plants, and it also holds for the Pea-Nut. Its damage is too lacklustre to be useful, making it just a more expensive Wall-Nut. Making matters worse, after it takes enough damage, its rate of fire got halved, making it one of the weakest offensive plants in the game.
  • Meta Power Up: Power Lily which gives you one Plant Food.
  • Metal Slime: The Yeti Zombie. This time, it appears slightly more often (once per day) 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:
    • The Gargantuar Prime, which moves slower than most Gargantuars, but deals twice the damage and has Eye Beams to attack faraway plants.
    • The Jurassic Gargantuar moves slowly, but it still can One-Hit Kill plants. It also can take 50% more damage than a regular Gargantuar too!
    • Pharaoh Zombies. Its sarcophagus makes it one of the toughest zombies in the game, and one of the few that can survive an instant-kill. Once its sarcophagus breaks, however, it turns into a Fragile Speedster.
    • Citron on the plant side. Its attack take a long time to charge, but once it's released, it can take down most zombies in one hit, and massively damage the tougher ones. It isn't any tougher than the average plant, however.
    • The Electric Blueberry on the plant side. Like Citron, its attack takes a long time to charge, but once it releases its thundercloud, it will zap zombies for a One-Hit Kill, including Gargantuars. The only things that can survive are the Pharaoh and Jurassic Gargantuar... which are zapped again immediately to finish them off.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: When a dinosaur gets charmed by the Perfume-Shroom, their pupils are replaced by hearts.
  • 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' Zombots also count.
  • Monogender Monsters: All zombies seen are all males, until Big Wave Beach finally averting it by introducing Bikini Zombies and Mermaid Imps. From there on, the next worlds feature one female zombie each (Weasel Hoarders in Frostbite Caves, Parasol Zombies in Lost City, and Glitter Zombies in Neon Mixtape Tour).
  • Mook Commander:
    • Lesser example with the Pianist Zombies in Wild West; with their piano they can command other zombies to dance and switch the lanes they're walking on, potentially screwing with your strategy. Kill them and the zombies will stop moving around. Only Cowboy Zombies will actually be affected by the music, however.
    • Later, the game introduces Zombie Kings for Dark Ages. When they're present, they can turn Peasant Zombies into durable Knight Zombies. The kings themselves don't fight; when there are no other zombies aside from themselves, they'll instantly die.
  • Mook Maker:
    • The Disco-Tron 3000, which summons Jetpack Disco Zombies in a similar manner to the Dancing Zombie. It also has much more health than a Dancing Zombie.
    • The Troglobite pushes ice blocks with Yeti Imps across the lawn. Once the blocks are destroyed, the imps are released.
    • The Imp Porter will attempt to set up a tent on the first Gold Tile it encounters, and zombies will then start spawning from said tent.
    • During an 8-bit Jam, Arcade Zombie's arcade machine will spawn 8-bit Zombies.
  • More Dakka:
    • 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.
  • Multiform Balance: The Red Stinger. If it's placed near the back of the lawn, it gains high offense but has low defence. It closes up a bit if it's near the middle, resulting in average offense and better defence. And if it's near the front it closes up entirely, giving it no attack but good defence. It's rather bad in the defensive department, however, having a low toughness as compared to other defensive plants.
  • 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. Of course, it's pointless trying to rationalise the logic of Crazy Dave.
  • Nerf:
    • 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.
    • The Banana Launcher excited players who missed the Cob Cannon until they realised how nerfed it was. Whereas Cob Cannon missiles have the destructive power of a Cherry Bomb, the Bananas will not even destroy a Buckethead Zombie at full health, even with a direct hit. It does cost 200 sun less than the Cob Cannon and takes up only one space, however.
    • The Magnet-Shroom is not directly nerfed, but there are less zombies that depend on metal objects for their special abilities, making the Magnet-Shroom less useful.
    • Inverted with the new zombie types in the second half of Frostbite Caves - the Troglobite and the Weasel Hoarder Zombie are virtually identical to the Barrel and Chicken Wrangler Zombie respectively, but tougher and with more destructive power.
    • However, the Hunter Zombie in Frostbite Caves is a nerfed version of the Octo Zombie, as it takes three snowballs to freeze a plant, it will only freeze the plant closest to it and not continue to freeze plants further down the row, and frozen plants are easier to unlock than ones with octopi stuck on them.
    • An example with a zombie being nerfed the straight way: Before the 3.1 update, Gargantuar Prime was able to fire Eye Beams from offscreen at a rather fast rate. The community deemed it such a dangerous enemy that PopCap eventually nerfed its rate of fire and also made it unable to do so while offscreen.
    • The Wizard Zombie had also been nerfed, now being unable to turn plants into sheep if the zombie is offscreen. Many players were pleased with this.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Mummy zombies, pirate zombies, cowboy zombies, Red Shirt zombies, peasant zombies, beach zombies, caveman zombies, Bold Explorer zombies, music fan zombies and Jurassic zombies. As well as a yeti robot zombie, bull robot zombie, and zombies driving mechas, one of which is a Gargantuar mecha.
  • No Fair Cheating: Replacing the internal pp.dat file with a hacked version of the said file using an external program will prevent you from playing Piñata Party anymore, connected to the internet or not. However, a hacked pp.dat file that allows you to play Piñata Parties can exist.
  • Non-Standard Game Over:
    • The "Save Our Seeds" Brain Busters introduces one if the zombies kill any endangered plants (including one when they stepped on the fire tile, as long as it is the same lane as the plant needed to protect) or by only player's intent (i.e. digging them up before the 1.9 update and planting any plants on a fire tile), where the screen goes black, you hear the same Big "NO!" scream as well as the game over music from the world it is that follows, but the screen says "THE ZOMBIES ATE YOUR PLANT!" instead. (A brain still appears as if the zombie ate your brains).
    • In "Cannons Away", finishing without reaching the target score will display the message "PENNY IS NOT IMPRESSED WITH YOUR SCORE!" and below it (where the brain image is normally displayed) is the current score and target score of a level (however, tapping this part of the screen will still hear a squish sound of the brain).
    • On any Save Our Seeds level with Puff-shrooms, failing to save an endangered Puff-shroom from expiring will show the text "PUFF-SHROOM DID NOT SURVIVE!".
    • Since the 1.7 update of the game, failing some objectives that was once used on a star challenge level will make the objective description (in green text) appear at the top of the screen and it will become lower as the screen goes black. The game over screen that involves not losing any lawn mowers was removed in the 1.9 update, not planting on Dave's mold colonies when the objective description was changed, and not having more than the certain amount of plants in the lawn on later updates.
    • On Piñata Party that involves reaching a target score (much like Cannons Away), the situation mentioned above will happen if one does not meet the target score. The game over message will say "You missed the target score: current score/target score" in green text but the font is the same as the objective description.
  • No-Sell: Save your Snapdragons and Torchwood, for the Imp Dragon zombie is completely immune to all fire-based attacks.
    • Better load up on non-projectile fruits like Laser Beans, Snapdragons and 'Shrooms, because the Jester Zombie is not only immune to projectiles, he'll send them flying right back at your front line! (And yes, that includes Citrons!)
    • Most robotic zombies are immune to stinking gas clouds created by the aftermath of a Chili Bean or the Stunion's breath.
    • You cannot instantly kill Deep-Sea Gargantuars with Tangle Kelp.
    • Surfer Zombies are immune to damage from plants with a "Lobbed" range while they're on land since they're holding up their surfboards- their surfboard takes the damage instead. On the plus side, if the surfboard is destroyed, the surfer won't drop it if killed.
    • Fire-based plants (Pepper-pult, Torchwood, Fire Peashooter) are immune to getting frozen, making them extremely useful in Icebound Battleground.
    • All zombies in the Frostbite Caves are immune to complete freezing via sources like the Iceberg Lettuce, only getting chilled and slowed instead.
    • The Excavator Zombie's shovel blocks straight shots, while the Parasol Zombie's parasol bounces lobbed shots off. Hope you have the Redstinger and Akee... or a penetration plant on hand.
    • When Glitter Zombie's Pop Jam plays, every zombie within 3 squares behind her becomes completely immune to damage and slowing effects.
  • No Zombie Cannibals: Averted again as long as the zombie that eats a Hypno-Shroom is fed Plant Food.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Crazy Dave has a Big "NO!" when he hears that Dr. Zomboss might stop Past Crazy Dave from eating the taco, and by extension, eliminating him, Penny and you upon first entering Modern Day.
    • Penny has one when she's told that she and Crazy Dave are destroying the time-space continuum because of their search for the taco.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The Citron Plant Food power that can even destroy a Gargantuar in one hit, including Jurassic Gargantuars! 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. The Toadstool can eat a zombie from 3 squares away but is vulnerable while chewing, and produces sun right after it finishes.
    • Electric Blueberry's attack is so powerful, it can even zap a Gargantuar to death in one hit note . Unfortunately, it targets a random zombie on the lawn.
    • 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, the Surfer Zombie can crush them with his surfboard (while also creating an obstruction), the Troglobite can push frozen plants/zombies into plants to instantly kill them (including spikerocks!), the Turquoise Skull Zombie can fry up to four plants with his beamnote , the Punk Zombie during a Punk Jam can kick plants off the lawn if there's no space behind, the Glitter Zombie during a Pop Jam can instantly crush plants in front of her, MC Zom-B during a Rap Jam can spin his microphone to kill all non-defensive plants around him (and defensive ones dosn't fare better, they are dead in two swings, except Tall-Nut who takes four), the Arcade Zombie can push arcade machines to crush your plants just like the Troglobite, and the Hair Metal Gargantuar during a Metal Jam can send a traveling shockwave from his guitar that deals the same amount of damage as MC Zom-B's microphone.
    • In the Pirate levels, any zombie will instantly die if they are knocked into the water. How does one get a zombie into the water, you ask? With a Spring Bean, of course! Granted, it will only bounce the first one that steps on it (unless you use its plant food power), and it falls asleep after use and you have to wait until it recharges, but placed correctly, it's one of the few things that can reliably one-hit-kill Gargantuars (and using plant food on it may even result in a Gargantuar polykill!).
    • The Death Traps in Lost City. One boulder is enough to defeat a Gargantuar in a single hit.
    • The Grapeshot is like the Cherry Bomb, but it launches 8 bouncing grape projectiles in 8 directions when it explodes. The initial explosion can incinerate most zombies, while the grapes will instantly kill any zombies they hit if they have at least 10 health. If both sources of damage hit, this plant can destroy a Gargantuar (besides the Jurassic variant) in one hit.
    • When charmed by the Perfume-shroom, the dinosaurs inflict this on the zombies. Raptor kicks zombies out of the lawn (including the Jurassic Gargantuar, which is so strong that even the aforementioned Electric Blueberry has to strike it twice to kill it), Stegosaurus hits groups of them upside the head with its tail, Pteranodon carries them away off the screen, Ankylosaurus flings them off the lawn with his tail, and T-Rexes chomps them.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Zombie Chickens. So weak, even a 1/4 damage shot (from a Lightning Reed's Chain Lightning) is enough to kill them. However, they are extremely fast and come in huge groups.
  • One Hit Poly Kill: Bloomerang, Laser Bean, Fume-shroom and Cactus. Laser Bean can hit all targets on the lane, while Bloomerang and Cactus can hit up to three (five for boosted Cactus). Fume Shroom has a limited range but can hit all targets within that.* Parasol of Prettiness: The Parasol Zombie dons a Victorian dress and a parasol to match. The parasol also serves as a shield to block lobbed attacks.
  • Pirate Parrot: The Pirate Captain Zombie has one, which can fly towards a plant and take it away.
  • Planimal: The Snapdragon and its Cold counterpart, the Guacodile and Toadstool (technically, a fungimal), and the Parsnip (based on a crab).
  • Plasma Cannon: Citron's attack.
  • Player Versus Player: The new "Battlez" mode is this. Two players compete against each other to see how many points they can score from killing zombies further from the house.
  • Piñata Enemy: Señor Piñata, literally. Well, because it's shaped like a zombie's head. The Yeti acts as a more traditional example.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: The Electric Blueberry is one of the smallest plants in the game. It also has a regular attack that's strong enough to instantly destroy a Gargantuar.
  • Poisonous Person:
    • The Shadow-Shroom poisons any zombie that eats it, dealing armor piercingDamageOverTime to them. If fed Plant Food, its poisons ALL the zombies on the screen.
    • Once it gets to level 5, the Stunion upgrades to having its stinky breath poison any zombies stunned by it.
  • Power Creep: Many newer plants, especially premium ones, overshadow the older ones.
    • The Stunion seems to do this to the Iceberg Lettuce, but both have their merits. Stunion stuns all zombies on its square plus the one in front and also affects airborne and Frostbite Caves zombies, while Iceberg Lettuce can only stun one zombie on its square and cannot affect airborne zombies while only slowing Frostbite Caves zombies. However, Stunion cannot affect most robotic zombies, costs 25 sun compared to the free Lettuce, and Lettuce's Plant Food affects the whole screen, while Stunion's only hits a 4x3 area.
    • The Bonk Choy is mostly overshadowed by the Snapdragon. Both cost the same amount of sun, but the Snapdragon can hit adjacent lanes and also penetrates, while the Bonk Choy can only hit one at a time. Their Plant Foods are also similar, killing a 3x3 area, except that the Snapdragon's 3x3 area is one square forwards, allowing it to kill more zombies in front. A column of Snapdragons is more effective against hordes of zombies than a column of Bonk Choy... unless the player is using ice-based plants, or facing Imp Dragons.
    • A similar case can be applied to Bonk Choy and Phat Beet, the latter hits all zombies within a 3x3 radius, a column of Phat Beets would outdamage Bonk Choy when it comes to larger hordes. And unlike Snapdragon, Phat Beet can be used with ice-based plants and affects Imp Dragons.
    • The Cold Snapdragon does this to regular Snapdragon and Bonk Choy, having Snapdragon's sun cost, recharge, and normal damage output while being able to chill enemies instead of defrosting them, while also being able to hurt Imp Dragons. As an added bonus, it's completely immune to the freezing winds in Frostbite Caves. Its only drawback is the slightly smaller range compared to Snapdragon (2x3 instead of 3x3) but that isn't much of a problem.
    • The Bloomerang gets overshadowed by the Cactus, A.K.E.E. and Laser Bean. The Cactus costs the same amount, and also hits three enemies for 1.5 damage, but fires at a much faster rate than Bloomerang. A.K.E.E. also costs the same, but comes with the added benefit of hitting Excavator Zombies. Laser Bean only costs 25 more Sun, but can hit all zombies in a lane, compared to Bloomerang who can only hit 3. Finally, Bloomerang has a rather weak Plant Food Attack, whereas Laser Bean's will do one-hit-kill damage to every zombie in the row and Cactus's permanently buffs it.
      • Then the Laser Bean and Cactus gets mostly overshadowed by Fume-Shroom, which is cheaper and fires faster, but has a shorter range. Finally, Fume-shroom's Plant Food has a similar range and deals around the same damage as Laser Bean's but also pushes the enemies in the lane back. Laser Bean still does have its advantages thanks to range, such as being able to reliably kill Turquoise Skull Zombies and Imp Cannons, which Fume-Shroom cannot.
    • The Fire Peashooter manages to overshadow both the Pepper-pult and the Repeater.
      • Compared to the Pepper-pult, Fire Peashooter deals more damage, is cheaper, and has a fast recharge (Pepper-pult's sluggish recharge is cited as one of its worst aspects by players) while both being warming plants. The only thing Pepper-pult has over Fire Peashooter is its lobbed shot (ignores obstacles) and its tiny splash damage. Also Pepper-pult is free while Fire Peashooter needs to be bought with Gems.
      • Repeater shoots two peas with one damage each, while the Fire Peashooter shoots one flaming pea that deals two damage. Both effectively does the same thing, but the Fire Peashooter is cheaper by 25 Sun.
    • Repeater is also overshadowed by Redstinger, when it comes to back-column attackers. The Redstinger shoots two projectiles at a slightly slower rate to the Repeater, but it costs 50 less sun, and each projectile deals 1.5 damage as compared to the Repeater's 1. However, this only applies to the leftmost three lanes- the repeater has a better damage per second otherwise.
    • Repeater AND Fire Peashooter are made much less useful by Nightshade. The Nightshade, when powered, has a stronger damage per second, shooting half as fast but for 5 NDS each. However, the Nightshade only costs 75 sun compared to Repeater's 200 and Fire Peashooter's 175. The only advantage is that Repeater and Fire Peashooter don't need an adjacent Moonflower to charge them.
    • The Toadstool completely overshadows the Chomper. They both do the same thing, eat a zombie, instantly killing it at the cost of being vulnerable while chewing. Both have the same chewing time. However, the Toadstool has more range, attacks immediately (Chomper's attack animation takes a second or so, and high concentrations of zombies will eat it before it can eat them) and produces Sun after it finishes eating. Using Plant Food on it make it eat 4 random nearby zombies, offsetting its Sun cost. Both Chomper and Toadstool need to be bought with real money, so unlike Pepper-pult, it doesn't even have the excuse of being free. The only things that Chomper has over the Toadstool are its cheaper cost (rendered moot once the Toadstool digests a zombie) and its plant food's ability to push a lane of zombies back.
    • The Grapeshot can do everything the Cherry Bomb can, PLUS explode into an 8-way spread of projectiles that bounce around, hitting zombies for great damage too. Both of them have a similar recharge and sun cost. The only things Cherry Bomb has over it is the fact that Grapeshot's projectiles can be deflected by Jesters, and that Grapeshot is extremely expensive, requiring real-life money to buy (7 bucks, to be exact). Can be subverted, however, as Grapeshot and Cherry Bomb can be used together in conjunction with an Imitater, providing a greatly reduced cooldown for extremely powerful instants.
    • The Primal Wall-Nut pretty much outclasses the Wall-Nut in every way except sun cost. For 25 extra sun, you get a wall of the same toughness that has a much faster recharge time, and can also survive two Gargantuar smashes.
    • The same can apply for Primal Potato Mine compared to its modern counterpart. In exchange for an even slower recharge time and 25 extra sun, it takes significantly less time to be primed and has a larger blast radius.
    • The Dusk Lobber makes the Dandelion obsolete. At a much lower cost (including cost for adjacent Moonflower), it attacks all three lanes at a similar rate (instead of one lane at a time) for a much bigger area of splash damage (3x3 instead of 1x1) at around half the damage (1.25 instead of 2.5).
  • Powerup Letdown: The Gold Leaf. For 50 Sun, you can turn any tile on the lawn into a Gold Tile that generates sun if a plant is placed on it. On its own merits, it's like a basic Sunflower, but with an extremely slow recharge time and unable to get Plant Food bonuses. These negative traits outweigh the intended benefits of it being inedible and not taking up space. So far, it looks like just another weak gimmick plant, but what truly makes it this trope is that it's world-restricted to Lost City, is obtained so late that you won't get to use it much anyway, and it feels unrewarding as the last plant unlocked for that region.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: The Pompadour Zombies and Bikini Zombies (and their conehead and buckethead variants) in Big Wave Beach are functionally identical to each other. The only difference is how they look.
  • The Quincy Punk: The Punk Zombie has so many piercings that his head can be torn off by a Magnet-shroom.
  • Raising the Steaks: The sequel introduces zombie chickens, parrots, weasels and dragonflies.
  • Raptor Attack: On of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Marsh is a Velociraptor that wanders back and forth on the lawn. Thankfully, it doesn't attack plants, but if it encounters a zombie it will kick that zombie 3 squares forward towards your lawn. If he's charmed, the zombies get to be on the receiving end, except more deadly- he kicks them outta the lawn for a One-Hit Kill.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The Bonk Choy. Taken Up to Eleven if given Plant Food.
  • Remixed Level: The final three levels of Modern Day contain the Zombots from the previous worlds, with a catch- you're using a different world's plants. For example, you'd be using plants obtained from Pirate Seas to fight the Sphinx-Inator, Dark Ages plants to fight the Tomorrow-Tron, Jurassic Marsh Plants to fight the Multi-Stage Masher, etc.
  • Required Party Member: The Locked and Loaded stages give you a full preset loadout, some other stages also have some plants preset. And of course the Conveyor Belt stages (which includes all the boss fights) don't give you any choice but to use the plants given to you. On the bright side, these often let you use plants before you can unlock them normally and even plants you'd otherwise need to pay real money for.
  • Robotic Reveal: The Treasure Yeti and the Zombie Bulls.
  • Rock Beats Laser: The Infi-nut can be instantly taken down (projector and all) by a zombie carrying a wooden torchnote , a caveman pushing ice blocksnote , a girl with roller skatesnote , and in the most literal sense of the trope, a caveman with rocks tied to his handsnote .
  • 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: 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 Funny: How else can the Seagull Zombie be carried by a single tiny seagull?
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Not only is it far harder than the first game with waves of demonic spider coming quite early in the game, very difficult levels and bosses, and high prices on powerups and plants within a typical game. Its so hard its possibly the hardest game Popcap Games ever released.
  • Shamu Fu: The Gargantuar Pirate uses a shark (with a zombie's arm hanging out of its mouth) as a club.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: The Pharaoh Zombie is initially one of 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.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The Zombot Tuskmaster 10,000 BC. It doesn't even move at all, but it creates ice blocks that can absorb damage and spawn zombies when destroyed to guard itself. Once the ice blocks are removed the player can deal damage to it before it re-builds the icy layer.
  • Shock and Awe: The Lightning Reed, the Electric Blueberry and the Electric Currant. The Laser Bean and EMPeach are also classified as electrical plants (as they can get seed packets via an Electric Plants Pinata), although they do not make zombies show X-Ray Sparks on a kill.
  • Shoot the Mage First: Especially with your manual targeting plants or single use massive damage plants.
    • 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 can put out his torch. And if a fire-based plant like a Snapdragon hits the Explorer zombie, the torch will be reignited.
    • 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.
    • Ra Zombies can steal the suns around them 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 their dynamite to leap high across your defenses and end up in the last column, then start eating from the back. Plants that can hit backwards (such as Split Pea) and ice-element plants (which stops the wick) are 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.
    • Shield Zombies will create high-durability Deflector Shields to protect other zombies behind it in their lane and adjacent ones. Thankfully the Laser Bean will penetrate his shield.
    • Completely literal with Wizard Zombies, which turn increasing numbers of your plants into useless, harmless sheep if not taken down fast. They can really screw your strategy up if you don't one-hit-kill them quickly. And unfortunately, they're not (quite) squishy, having almost as much health as a Conehead.
    • Like Wizard Zombies, Octo Zombies can render increasing numbers of your plants useless by throwing octopi on them, but they're even worse because they have more health, and the octopi (which have a good bit of health each) have to be killed in order to remove them.
    • Turquoise Skull Zombies can steal the suns around them ala Ra Zombie (which will NOT be returned if he's killed), then fire out a beam that incinerates up to four plants in front of him and can even destroy Infi-nut's barrier in one shot. Thankfully he has low health.
    • Breakdancer Zombies can kick other zombies when their rap jam plays, making them VERY dangerous when teaming with Bucketheads, MC Zom-Bs (who their abilities are also activated during the same jam) or Gargantuars. They also can kick others Breakdancers, creating a chain of destruction in the lawn.
  • Shoot the Medic First:
    • In the Dark Ages, the King Zombie will magically "knight" basic zombies by adding armor to their heads, effectively increasing their health due to the much higher amount of damage they can now take. Rather than hacking your way through a sea of knighted zombies that take forever to kill, it's often better to use One-Hit Kill type weapons and/or powerups on the kings behind them, so that they don't keep gaining new armor.
    • Enforced with Glitter Zombies in Neon Mixtape Tour. When their Pop Jam plays, they turn all zombies behind them Nigh Invulnerable as well as removing any slow/stun status from them. Thus, you have to attack her if she's the one in front as all those behind her are protected.
  • Shovel Strike: Used by Excavator Zombies, but only if they encounter an Infi-Nut forcefield. They prefer to dig up plants and throw them behind otherwise.
  • Shrinking Violet: Quite literally the Shrinking Violet- it's a violet that shrinks zombies. Her almanac entry has the trope initially played straight then subverted once she found her ability to shrink zombies.
  • The Smurfette Principle: While the Big Wave Beach introduces several female zombies (Bikini Zombies and its Conehead and Buckethead variants), the worlds after it only has one female zombies each:
    • Frostbite Caverns has the Weasel Hoarder as its female zombie.
    • Lost City has the Parasol Zombie.
    • Neon Mixtape Tour has the Glitter Zombie.
  • Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: The Magnifying Grass. It uses Sun to fire out powerful solar projectiles, and its Plant Food upgrade invokes the trope by firing a concentrated beam to fry zombies.
  • Spider Tank: Dr. Zomboss uses one matching the theme of the world for Ancient Egypt, Pirate Seas, Wild West and Far Future. Later zones have him use different contraptions.
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Pianist Zombies can command all the other zombies into dancing and randomly switch lanes.
  • Spread Shot:
    • Snapdragons can cover 2x3 columns at once per fire breath. Basically a cross of Fume-Shroom and Threepeaters.
    • Rotobaga can fire in the four diagonal directions, and when it is fed Plant Food it fires a flurry of shots in all four of those directions.
    • Dandelion will fire a good amount of exploding seeds down three lanes when affected by Blover or Hurrikale.
    • Dusk Lobber will throw exploding buds into adjacent lanes in a matter similar to Threepeater, but only when powered by Moonflower.
    • Apple Mortar lobs stunning projectiles down three lanes.
  • Starting Units: 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 except for the Dark Ages, which replaces all but the Wall-Nut with the shrooms, and Jurassic Marsh, which uses their Primal counterparts instead along with Perfume-Shroom.
  • Stationary Boss: The Zombot Tuskmaster 10,000 BC doesn't move at all. However, it regularly spawns ice blocks to defend itself from incoming plant attacks.
  • Sticky Situation: The Sap-Fling flings a ball of sticky sap onto a tile, which makes all zombies walking on it slowed down by half speed.
  • Stone Wall:
    • The sequel adds in Infi-nut, which is weaker than a Wall-nut but can regenerate over time.
    • The Knight, Blockhead and Fossilhead Zombies move and eat as fast as a regular zombie, but their armor give them a huge amount of health.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: The Disco-Tron 3000's ability.
  • Surfer Dude: Surfer Zombies. They travel very fast on water and can't be blocked, and when they get on land they can plonk their surfboard on a plant to kill it and create an obstruction at the same time.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Laser Bean is 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.) Though the Fume-shroom did get added later.
    • Homing Thistle for the Cattail.
    • Coconut Cannon (and the Banana Launcher) for the Cob Cannon.
    • Rotobaga for the Starfruit, though the original can be unlocked for money.
    • Phat Beet for the Gloom-Shroom, attacking in a 3x3 radius around him.
    • Iceberg Lettuce's Plant Food Effect for the Ice Shroom.
    • Bowling Bulbs for the Wall-Nut Bowling minigame, though they are also available as a regular plant.
    • Most defensive plants like Wall Nuts get an additional layer of defense from their Plant Food, effectively acting as a substitute for the Pumpkin.
  • invokedTastes Like Diabetes: Invoked by the Sweet Potato.
    "Sweet Potato really is as sweet as she looks. Her favorite animal is the unicorn. Her favorite color is (and this is a direct quote) "all the colors in the rainbow." When she writes the letter "i", she draws a little heart where the dot belongs. Frankly, if it were anyone else, this amount of syrup would be sickening. But on her, well, it just seems right."
  • Technicolor Fire: Using plant food on a Torchwood, its flame turns blue and greatly increases the damage of peas passing through it.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Jams, the world gimmick of Neon Mixtape Tour. Whenever a certain Jam plays, an associated Zombie gains a special ability: Punk Zombies during a Punk Jam gain the ability to knock your plants back to the nearest empty space (or off the lawn), Glitter Zombies during a Pop Jam can instakill plants and produce a rainbow trail that protects/removes status from zombies in it, MC Zom-Bs during a Rap Jam can spin their microphone to kill most plants in a 3x3 area around him while Breakdancer Zombies during the same Jam can kick other zombies forwards, Arcade Zombie's Arcade Game machine spawns 8-bit zombies during an 8-bit Jam, and Hair Metal Gargantuar during a Metal Jam can send a deadly shockwave projectile whenever he smashes.
  • Threatening Shark: Zomboss' machine in Big Wave Beach is a mechanical shark that can use a vacuum to suck in your plants.
  • This Banana is Armed: Literal example with Banana Launcher.
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: Dodo Rider Zombie's Almanac states that he believes that dodos are the future of transportation, while everybody else says that there's no future in dodos. Considering the dodos' extinction in the future, they were right.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Fire attacks have no inherent advantage (even the Splash Damage from the first game has been removed) and in fact are more of a detriment since it neutralizes the very useful slowing effect of Ice plants. Frostbite Caves is the only World that makes them useful since they are the only things that can thaw frozen plants.
  • Time Crash: If Dr. Zomboss were to be believed, Crazy Dave's quest to eat the same taco he ate could cause the complete breakdown of all time.
  • Time Rewind Mechanic: The Thyme Warp plant will "rewind time" when planted on the field, causing your existing plants and the zombies to get restored to full health and put all zombies at the front-most column. This plant can only be used in the Neon Mixtape Tour levels, however.
  • Time Travel: The second game starts because Crazy Dave wants to eat the taco he got in the first game, again.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Thyme Warp.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • Take one guess what happens when zombies eat a Chili Bean. Hint: the zombie doesn't explode.
    • Also, at one point in Pirate Seas, Penny makes a remark about hoping Crazy Dave doesn't create a "poop deck".
  • Totally Radical: The level description as well as Zomboss' dialogue in Neon Mixtape Tour. Justified as the world takes place in The '80s.
  • Turbine Blender: Used by the Zombot Sharktronic Sub to suck your plants in and kill them.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: One of the Dinosaurs in Mesozoic Marsh. It will use a Mighty Roar to scare all zombies in its lane, making them move and eat faster. If Charmed, it eats zombies for a One-Hit Kill. Strangely enough, it acts very similar to a dog, sticking its tongue out and panting while wagging its tail.
  • Underground Monkey: The variations on the standard, conehead, and buckethead zombies in the different time zones, as well as Imps and Gargantuars (although those tend to be different in gameplay terms depending on the zone, not just visually).
  • Vacuum Mouth:
    • Used by the Zombot Sharktronic Sub to suck in two rows of your plants for a One-Hit Kill. Good thing the fan is easy to clog via a Tangle Kelp...
    • Chomper's Plantfood ability has him inhale Zombies.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: How Zombie Parrots steal your plants.
  • Villainous Harlequin: The Jester Zombie.
  • The Virus: A rare heroic version with the Spore-Shroom. Any zombie killed by it becomes another Spore-shroom on that square.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: The description for Bonk Choy's costume, black belt. No, really!
  • Weather of War: The freezing winds in Frostbite Caves, which will start chilling plants and eventually freeze them over.
  • Where It All Began: The final level, Modern Day, takes place in the present, just before Crazy Dave has his Taco.
  • Wizard Duel: The Witch Hazel will prioritize transforming Wizard Zombies.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Happens when electric attacks kill zombies.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The publicity and the internal content shows this in Dark Ages levels, with different forms of "thou" thrown around randomly and "eth" added to the end of verbs regardless of proper conjugation.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: While zombies affected by the Stunion's bad breath don't say anything, it's safe to say that their stunned reaction speaks for this trope.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: The Fisherman Zombie will use its line to pull plants closer to the zombies' attacking range. Unless they're behind Infi-Nut's Deflector Shields.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • The Chicken Wrangler Zombie. 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.
    • The Weasel Hoarder is similar to the Chicken Wrangler- she releases a bunch of snow weasels when her health drops low enough, except the weasels have 2 HP as compared to a chicken's 1/4.
    • Ironically, a rush of hypnotized Chickens and Weasels are good at taking down Gargantuars, since unlike most zombies which eat and kill them quickly, the Gargantuar can only kill one at a time at a slow rate due to smashing instead.
  • Zombie Gait: This game makes the gait more varied, at least among different zombies. Even basic Mummy and Cowboy Zombies have different walking and eating animations.

Alternative Title(s): Plants Vs Zombies 2

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