Apps for Kids 42: Plants Vs. Zombies 2


One thing NOT mentioned is the “Pay or grind (and grind, and grind)” monetization model. After you defeat the first world, you need 15 stars OR $5 to get to the second world, with those 15 stars requiring defeating another 12-13 challenge levels. After the second world, you need 30, yet only have 2! at that point.

Unlocking a lot of the plants/bonuses and puzzle levels requires collecting randomly dropping keys OR paying $2.

There are also several plants and bonuses that can ONLY be bought with money, and money can be used to buy in-level powerups which are otherwise exceedingly expensive.

Its not as bad as some “free” games which hide a transition from ‘skill’ to ‘pay to win’, but it is still quite obnoxious.

As a consequence, while I would have paid the $10 I spent on the original PVZ on iPad, the insane nickle-and-diming means that I have a choice: Spend a fortune, or grind, or just give up.

And it also makes me recommend the WOPR rule: “The best move is not to play”. Don’t install PVZ2.

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I did not mind the first 15 stars, but 30 stars on world 2 is starting to feel a little grind-y. I happily paid for coins in the game because I love PvZ but I don’t understand the connection between coins and keys?

The first review I read (I’m not sure where it is) suggested that there is exactly one plant that can only be bought with money. Reviews for this game are just all over the place. I hope everything gets sorted out when it finally comes to Steam.

As far as I can tell, several plants (including the classic snow peas, Jallapeno, and torchwood) are only purchasable unless they are on the 3rd world…

I really enjoyed the first PVZ, and I was looking forward to the sequel. I have decided to pass, however, because of the freemium model. I would have preferred a game that I could buy for a reasonable fee and then just play.

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I’d love to try it out and be able to judge how good/fair (or not) PopCap’s implementation of freemium is. Alas, as an owner of a 1st Gen iPad, the game is not available to me (“A front facing camera is required”). I’ll have to continue to wait for the PC version, and hope that has no camera requirements…

It is amazing how quickly the iPad 1 became obsolete. Risk of being an early adopter, I suppose!

And @nweaver the jalapeno is not pay only, I have it, and I haven’t bought any plants yet, just coins. From what I read only one plant is pay only.

My daughter was really looking forward to this, even doing extra chores so I would download it as soon as it came out. She has been seeing the ads for it all over her other games.

But alas we are an Android household and now I have to explain to her something about exclusivity and walled gardens that I am sure makes as little sense to her as it does to me.

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Count me out, then. Loved PVZ, I’ll happily pay good money for games that are worth it. I won’t bother with FTP games that are designed to be grindfests/pay to win. That monetary model simply holds no interest for me.

I don’t know… I mean, the point of PvZ2 is to beat the challenge levels. It’s not like it’s any more repetitive than the original. Heck, people played the original PvZ on an endless grind.

For the uninitiated, there are three currencies in the game:

  1. Stars, used to unlock new chapters, are earned by grinding through challenge levels. You can bypass the stars requirements by buying your way to the next chapter with real money

  2. Keys, used to unlock sets of challenges and attendant bonuses (including plants), are rare random drops from enemies. You can unlock these challenges by paying real money. Most of the plants you get in this way are useful. Grinding for keys is the most annoying part of the game, but this is a real random factor. Keys found in a chapter can only be used to unlock challenges within that chapter.

  3. Coins, used to buy power-ups, are also random drops from enemies. If you are skilled in the game, you will rapidly end up with more coins than you know what to do with because you can beat everything without paying for power ups. However, I’m only on Chapter 2, so maybe there are more uses for coins in Chapter 3. If you’re short on coins, you can either pay real money them or grind levels to earn them. Some challenge levels drop large amounts of coin if you want to grind them.

There is a direct connection between coins and stars because you can use your coins to finish challenge levels; it’s a lot easier to kill 8 zombies in 10 seconds when you can pinch their heads off.

I’m only on the second chapter, so I can’t speak for what gets unlocked in the third (and so far, final) chapter, but right now, there are 6 plants that can only be unlocked using real money, most of which are familiar to people who played the original game. You can also purchase some permanent character power ups (plant slots, starting sun, etc).


Great, that’s what I was looking for. I bought a bunch of coins to support the game early on, then I was bewildered that I still had to grind through stars. This makes sense.

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