2013 is rapidly drawing to a close, and you know what that means: tons of “Best Of” lists! In fact, the App Store has just released its picks for the year. We even have our own list (we like to call it the Best App Ever Awards) that you can vote on. Everybody loves lists!
For the iPhone, language learning app Duolingo takes the top top spot, with the rather pretty and useful VSCO CAM and super-cute monster alphabet app Endless Alphabet as runners up. On the games side of things, Ridiculous Fishing gets some very well-deserved recognition, while surreal and clever puzzler Device 6 and the much maligned/celebrated Plants vs. Zombies 2 are close behind. That, my friends, is a pretty solid group.
The iPad has its own list of awesome, of course. The remarkably slick and gorgeous Disney Animated has managed edge-out Traktor DJ‘s remixes and WWF Together‘s cuddly animals. Meanwhile, super-atmospheric pseudo-platformer Badland has been selected as 2013′ iPad game of the year, with the shockingly well-made port of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the infuriating but addictive Impossible Road right on its heels. All fine choices, although my own personal love/bias would probably have put XCOM at the top of the list.
Posted by Andrew Stevens on December 12th, 2013 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Plants vs. Zombies 2 has been updated with a new layout and navigation setup that makes the three worlds more linear. They’ve eliminated the key gates and star gates which should allow players to make their way through the game more quickly. The update also includes new “Gargantuar” levels to each world where players face zombies from the original Plants vs. Zombies, and there is now a new turbo setting that doubles the gameplay speed while playing.
There is a dirty little secret that some are too busy worrying about Plants vs. Zombies 2’s microtransactions to acknowledge: It can be played for free, FOREVER. In the final installment of our pro-tips series we will discuss exactly how to do so. Penny pinching has never been so simple.
Free-to-Play or Free Forever?
Yes, there are certainly more than a few opportunities to shell out real cash monies to the talented folks at PopCap Games. It could even be argued that a few of the purchase exclusive items might be of benefit to the player; but they are far from critical. In fact, later on in the base campaign these seeds could prove to be weaker than the core suite of spores unlocked through the game’s natural progression.
Another major complaint is the fact that players must spend earned in-game currency in order to utilize one-time-use power-ups, much like the ones we discussed yesterday. The fact of the matter is that while the currency can be refilled using actual dollars, it’s just as easy to replay/grind early stages again in order to earn cash. Could this be considered tedious? Probably. But if it were easy, why would anyone ever trade real cash for “funny money?”
Unlocking worlds utilizes a similar concept of iterating on a stage several times, only with a different gameplay wrinkle for each session. These stars are then used to turn around and unlock new worlds. The base set of worlds were easy to reveal, as long as the player has enough patience to play through stages a couple of times. Honestly, what fan of the series wouldn’t be doing this already? Each world had a low enough bar of entry that the minimal star counts were trivial at worst. Hopefully PopCap will continue with that trend in whatever additional content that awaits players in the pipeline.
At the end of the day PopCap may have made their game almost too devoid of the necessity to spend money. Plants vs. Zombies 2 may not be a free will offering, but with the way it’s designed it might as well be. For this reason it is worth imploring players to actually consider buying an item or two, all in the name of supporting a developer that consistently gives fans more game for next to nothing in return. Remember, just because you can always play for free doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do. With great replayability comes a great responsibility.
So for the last time, never forget that there is no shame in having a green thumb if keeps the blood off of your hands! Thanks for a fantastic week and please continue to return to 148Apps for all of mobile gaming needs.
Pull up a chair and listen to the tale of a Plants vs. Zombies 2 round gone horribly awry. Not only can this happen to anybody, but there is little that can be done once the cogs of fate have started rolling against the player. Unless, of course, there are a few power-ups left in the satchel. Then all bets are off.
Power to the Plants
There comes a time in every player’s game when they decide whether to pack it in and take a loss or dig deep and try for a miracle win. For the non-wussies in the population there are power-ups, which help to level the playing field – for a cost. These specific perks take four different forms and can vary in levels of usefulness.
As far as generic pay-per-use perks go, there are three different ways to dispatch undead using gestural controls: pinching, flicking, or sliding. The one thousand coin lightning bolt is used by sliding a finger between zombie adversaries, which links them in a chain of electric obliteration. A throw costs a bit more, clocking in at twelve hundred, and consists of a flick of the finger that will send the troops reeling. Arguably the most viscerally appealing is the pinch, which simply pops the head off of every reanimated abomination and oddly happens to be the cheapest at only eight hundred coppers.
The last, and easily most useful of the quintet of amplifications, would be the overcharge leaf. This game-changer allows any one plant to cause an absurdly augmented amount of destruction. Every plant is effected by this item differently, but the result is always the same: tons of re-dead corpses. While these normally cost a thousand apiece to unlock, frequently they can be collected off of dispatched plants.
But when are these items right to use? Most times they should be saved for the last or middle wave of zombies, unless the fate of a mower is in question. If a match can be won using less than three perks, then it’s normally worth it. The reason for this is that between two to three uneventful stages, these losses can be recouped without necessitating the spending of a penny of actual cash.
Most critical of the decisions is which power-up will be most effective for a given scenario. As far as bang for the buck goes, the pinch is the most effective in clearing a map while not draining the bank. If undead are bunched together, a couple of double flicks can go a long way towards cleaning house. Heavily armored brutes are best to be left for the electric bolt. They may not end up completely drained by the end of the attack, but all of the weaker enemies in the area will be singed beyond repair, leaving all the defenses with a single target.
It may seem like a no-brainer to purchase as many overcharge leafs as possible, but they’re abundant enough through death drops that it should almost never need to be done. This power will be the one that is used the most abundantly, but should also be reserved for worst case scenarios. Juicing up a Bloomerang may be the very best use in early worlds, simply due to its combined horizontal and vertical attack, but be sure to experiment with each plant when the stakes are lower.
Be sure to keep it locked here for tomorrow’s final lesson: How to play Plants vs. Zombies 2 forever, without spending a dime. Rest assured, it is not to be missed. So until next time, remember that there is no shame in having a green thumb if keeps the blood off of your hands!
Another day, another sweet dose of high fructose Plants vs. Zombies 2 tippage. In today’s lesson, the goal is to make stage replays as painless as possible. So sit back and relax while we let the knowledge flow.
Déjà Vu All Over Again
Once a stage has been cleared as part of the main campaign, players have only seen the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to what it has to offer. In order to clear whole worlds, they’ll need to re-visit any given area as many as three more times, all in the name of grinding out stars.
One type of mission that’s used heavily early on is the limitation of how many plants can be in used at one time. Thankfully there are seeds that are destructible! Be sure to make heavy use of the potato bombs, and this will help keep the plant count down while still maintaining a high level of protection. Additionally, it is also extremely useful to combine cocoanuts, placed as far to the right of the map as possible, with an evolved Peashooter or Bloomerang behind it. The nut will eventually be gnawed through, but not before heavy damage has been unloaded on the troops barricaded behind it.
Another pesky permutation are the “non-trample” assignments, where a line of moss will exist somewhere on the map and the player’s job is to prevent the hallowed ground from being decimated by undead feet. Once again, the cocoanut is the player’s best friend when laid two rows in front of the “no-step zone.” Behind the roadblock, plant some Bonk Chow. This will help deliver a strong one-two punch, as the strikes can hammer away on any zombie feasting on a nut. Thankfully this method will also allow for quick plant replacement should the brain munchers manage to breach the perimeter.
Probably the most irritating of all the challenges involves use of a sun power cap and plant limit, simultaneously. Right out of the gate the key should be using as few sunflowers as possible to race to the power cap, while making use of the low cost bombs as a cheap form of early defense. Once the sun cap has been reached destroy all of the sunflowers, because they are no longer useful and take away from the plants available for productive use. Next is to focus on collections of Bonk Choy, backed by Bloomerangs. This combination will help to pick away at the defense long before the troops ever reach the front lines. Bonks are more than up to the task of cleaning up the riff-raff.
Also, don’t be afraid to make use of a power-up in a pinch. The trick is to pick the correct time to deploy these special abilities. Tune in tomorrow to see just what scenarios best necessitate paying for a little help from the deities of the greenhouse. Until then, remember that there is no shame in having a green thumb if keeps blood off of your hands!
It’s all about Plants vs. Zombies 2 as Carter Dotson lets Blake Grundman and Brett Nolan gab away about PopCap’s hotly-anticipated sequel, and if it’s something that can truly be enjoyed for free. Mercifully not recorded and included on the program: talk about babies.
A new week is finally upon us, which can only mean one thing: a fresh new dose of Plants vs. Zombies 2 pro-tips. So without further ado, it is time to ring the bell and start class. Everyone, please take your seats.
Seed Selecting Secrets
As players venture deeper into the fertile soils of Plants vs. Zombies 2, it becomes immediately evident that there are WAY too many different seed varieties! Unfortunately, there is also a fairly limited number of active seed slots available per round. This makes the selection of the proper plant varieties absolutely critical. Here are some helpful hints to fend off even the hungriest of zombies.
The main factor to consider are a stage’s hindrances. If this is the first time through a stage, most likely the player will only be dealing with varying waves of outbreak management. For this scenario, be sure to refer to last week’s hint for successfully starting a match. To utilize this strategy, add at least a standard sunflower and pea-shooter (or their upgraded states which are unlocked later), along with a land mine. Additionally, a strong hand-to-hand plant like Bonk Choy will be more than enough to make a significant dent on the front lines, while the pea-shooters chip away at the horde from a distance.
If a stage has obstacles in the way, this is where stratagems become a bit more subjective. In the case of tombstones that appear in a region like Egypt or their numerous facsimiles in other worlds, it is critical to choose between either avoiding the objects altogether or blowing them to kingdom come. Most times, the latter of these options will prove to be more effective. In this circumstance the Bloomerang is by far the player’s best friend. Not only will it chew through multiple obstacles at one time thanks to its multiple projectiles, but also debilitate enemies as well. Nesting these seeds in between a back row of sunflowers and the melee focused Bonk Choys will help ensure their survival and as well as a steady flow of graves being demolished.
Last and certainly not least, NEVER underestimate the value of delay tactics. Having a cocoanut in the arsenal is an extremely effective way to bide time, especially when there is not enough sunshine in the bank to produce a more powerful offensive unit. It may not be the most glamorous slot in the utility belt, but there are times when its quick deploy time and thick skin can genuinely make a difference when an unprotected lawn mower is in the balance.
Now get out there and start making smart lineup decisions! Tune in again tomorrow when we talk about conquering stages for stars and how to tackle their assorted nightmarish objectives. And as always, remember, there is no shame in having a green thumb if keeps blood off of your hands!
In an age where developers are micro-transacting their consumers beyond belief, it is refreshing to hear of the occasional development team willing to take a stand against it. In the most recent example, the financial relief comes from the good folks over PopCap Games. Their most substantial iOS offering to date, Plants vs. Zombies 2, made the unexpected move to free-to-play – much to the chagrin of their audience. Oddly enough, that shift may have actually been the best thing to happen to cash-strapped gamers in recent memory. So how can studios go against the monetization grain and still manage to sustain a profit? A simple change of perspective can go a long way.
Traditionally in-app purchases within free games were viewed under the microscope of paying a cost in order to either continue playing, or unlock an item that will make an unbeatable adversary more manageable. Essentially it boils down to being a pay-to-win structure. In either scenario there is a wide spread negative connotation associated with purchases, drowning in a bubbling cauldron of frustration and anger. When the main motivation behind opening a wallet is to make something that is undesirable cease happening, it feels more like being held hostage than acquiring something beneficial. It might even be fair to say that this is likely the reason that so many folks look down their nose at free-to-play titles.
While working on Plants vs. Zombies 2, the team over at PopCap hit on the discovery that purchases could actually be driven by positivity instead. For example: certain special crops are made available exclusively for purchase with cash through the in-game store. These seeds may be overpowered for a short period, and slightly flashier in terms of presentation, but over time the items that are unlocked simply by continuing to progress through the campaign will end up being just as useful, if not more so. Also, players have the chance to pay to unlock new worlds if they are uninterested in playing through the additional stage permutations in order to clear obstacles the “good old fashioned way.”
The main differentiation is that these acquisitions are completely unnecessary in order to move through the game. In reality they act as more a shortcut for those that don’t have the fortitude of the multitude. Under most circumstances there are only positive underlying motivations associated these purchases; primarily consisting of the desire to play more of a game that they already love, which most will gladly do with a smile. After all, people are far more willing to part with their precious greenbacks when they feel like there’s a tangible reward on the other side of a transaction.
PopCap, along with a select handful of other developers, may have finally cracked the nut that the industry has been trying to shell for years. Here’s to hoping that more will pay close attention and make efforts to follow suit. Who knew that future of mobile gaming could be forever transformed, all thanks to a slight shift of perspective?
On the heels of Plants vs. Zombies 2’s release for iOS, we decided it might be fun to pass along a few tips and tricks we’ve learned over the last month; starting with some helpful strategies for setting up a solid foundation. Keep an eye out all next week for even more zombie-stopping strategies!
Start With Sun and Spuds
Anyone worth their salt knows that nothing happens in the conflict between zombie and zucchini without the assistance of plenty of sunlight. This is why it is key to make planting sunflowers the early emphasis of almost every match. But that’s a no-brainer, right? What might not be so obvious is how easy it can be to get an entire row of sun production in the ground before ever needing to plant a single pea shooter.
But what about the zombies bent on munching the marigolds? It turns out that the lowly land mine, which is available from the start, can prove to be crucial in tackling the issue while simultaneously helping a player lay the groundwork for victory.
At the start of every match begin by planting sunflower seeds across the entire back row as quickly as possible. On most maps, by the time the second plant has sprouted the first zombie will begin meandering down the aisle. Carefully note the location of the creature and plant a land mine in that row, the third column from the rear. The standard walkers that start nearly every match will take long enough to saunter that the entire back row of sunflowers should be able to be seeded before the first brain-chomper goes boom.
Follow suit for the second critter that appears, making sure to observer the same buffer of two squares from the back. This buys time that can be used to either plant an entire second row of sunflowers (my personal preference) or layout the first layers of protection. After the first two to three undead, this will have allowed for a free chance to stockpile energy or shore up defenses for whatever onslaught the hoard has in store. Fortunately this setup will work in almost every scenario and can help set the stage for a swift conquest.
Be sure to let us know in the comments if you have any Plants vs. Zombies 2 topics you would like to hear about. We will be taking requests all next week. And remember, there is no shame in having a green thumb if keeps blood off of your hands!
It’s almost here, again. Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time is set to launch tomorrow, August 15th, after originally being planned for a July 18th release. Mac Rumors reports that PopCap delayed the game to provide improvements and tweaks to its in-app purchase system. I guess that’s what happens when you go the freemium route!
Prepare yourself for all the defensive action tomorrow, and keep an eye out for our review in the morning!
In the sequel to PopCap’s hit lane-based defense game, Plants vs Zombies 2 takes players through three different times and places, including Ancient Egypt, The Wild West, and the Pirate Seas, bringing a whole host of new mechanics to the game, including Plant Food power ups and special destructive power buttons.
You’ll also see a whole new way of seeing your progression in the game with the big over world map, themed per time and world. THe game is looking great, and we got to play through a couple of levels of time-traveling fun.
New details and a trailer have been released for the upcoming tower defense title, Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time. Pocket Gamer reports that the game will initially be available to download exclusively on the App Store beginning July 18th and will also be available as a free-to-play title. While you wait for the PvZ 2 action, check out the new trailer below.
It’s been announced that Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time will launch this July, though still no decision on what exact day. Pocket Gamer also mentions, while there isn’t a lot of detail, that Plants vs Zombies 2 will feature a “bevy of new features, settings, and situations” for gamers to experience.
Solitaire Blitz has taken Facebook by storm with vintage Popcap charm and now it’s shuffling its way onto iOS.
After sampling it at Gamescom, I came to a simple conclusion: It’s portable Solitaire Blitz with the ease of touch, and that makes for a dangerously brilliant concoction.
Players are tasked with clearing their screen of cards by putting them into three separate piles, two of which need to be unlocked during play. Power-ups help players along the way and silver is uncovered as their screen starts to empty, adding to their overall points at the end of each hand.
The translation is spot-on. All power-ups are in place including the time boost and bomb. The squeaking worm still shuffles awkwardly when players are about to run out of time. Most importantly, the core gameplay remains as engaging as ever.
It’s simple, fast-paced fun, and a perfect fit for iOS. Solitaire Blitz launches this fall.
Plants vs Zombies: Talking Zombatar
To get us ready for next year’s brain-chomping sequel, Popcap bring us the more light-hearted Talking Zombatar.
The idea is to kit your Zombie out in the most imaginative way possible, be it cool, crazy or flat-out creepy. Beach shorts and shades for the hot weather? Why not. Menacing faces and mutilated bodies? Ripe for a reaping. Over-sized wigs and glittery suits for a night of karaoke? Time to tune up the vocals. Talking Zombatar allows for such stupidity, and even lets players have their favourite phrases repeated in Zombish.
While I only saw a limited range of costumes, I was assured by Popcap that there will be rewards for checking on the app daily and purchasable items that can be paid for with in-game or real currency. Talking Zombatar will be totally free, presenting a new direction for the gaming giant, but this was a lot more fun than I was expecting. It’s out this fall!