If you can see this post, that means it is May 20th (or later) and I can finally talk about Plants vs Zombies Adventures on Facebook because the closed beta is over!!
I snuck into the beta early on from one of those “the first 200 people to click a link at 6pm Pacific” posts from the fan page and, as of writing this (on May 14th), I am the number one zombie bopper on the leaderboard. Which may just be further proof that I am addicted to Plants vs Zombies in any way/shape/form PopCap gives it to me, but I am definitely OK with that.
First things first, your Town. At first your town will consist of only one lot featuring your house, a path and some planter boxes. In order to defend your home you will need to collect coins from your home in order to purchase seeds for the planter boxes. Starting with the familiar Peashooter and Sunflower, you plant and grow what plants you need up to an inventory max of 15. Since Peashooters and Sunflowers are the most used and cheapest plants, these take 1 and 2 minutes respectfully to grow. Once grown, you collect them (gaining varied XP for each plant) and you are ready to head into battle.
You’ve probably noticed from my screencaps that there are some new plants. While I have barely scratched the surface, I have discovered four. First off, there is the Aspearagus, a wide range attacker who does low damage and has a 10 minute grow time. Then there is the Beet, a tough punching bag sort of a guy with a very small attack range but two hits is all it takes to take out a standard zombie. He is a grow-able plant who takes a long time to mature. The other two new plants I found are considered VIP plants. You can bring one of these types into battle with you and are given 5 freebies when you unlock them. Once you run out, you can purchase more with the game’s paid gem currency. Beeshooters are like Peashooters but yellow and black and shoot bees stinger first. The other is the Power Flower, which drops not one but three sun at a time. Super handy in battles where you find yourself frequently using Cherry Bombs.
Zombies will attack your house and when that is about to happen the game gives you a 30 second countdown in which you can plant along your pathways to defend your buildings. Just like the original game, you will lose if a zombie makes it to the building (or buildings if you have multiple and branching paths). Choose your plants and their locations wisely; each plant has a different area of effect so try not to plant two Peashooters right next to one another if you see a part of your pathway will be undefended.
As you complete quests for Crazy Dave and the other townspeople you will open up more lots, some of which generate battle boosts like lawnmowers, zappers and gardening gloves. This typically happens once you’ve completed one of the leveled maps and collect an item at the last level of each.
So let’s talk about those maps. Right now, I am on the fourth map and stuck in a rut since I really need some tougher plants which are currently growing and another reason why I have time to write about the game. Each map has several levels to take on, the amount increasing as you progress through each. At the start of a level, you can chose which plants to take into battle with you. And while you can carry 15 of each in your inventory, only 5 of each comes into the fight with you.
And once you’ve selected your plants, any boosts you have available will pop up for you to bring along if you’d like. Lawnmowers are automatic, but gloves and zappers must be selected if you want them and you can only bring one type with you. As you can see, another pot can be purchased for 3000 Zombucks, increasing the amount of plants you can bring along. Not sure what the maximum will be at this point.
Now that you’ve picked your plants and boosts, it’s time to plant! In the beginning, these levels are very easy: one path leading to your RV to defend. As time goes on, two or three paths that may or may not intersect, all needing to be protected. Oh my God, how I love, love, LOVE tower defense games! =)
PopCap has made a few great improvements with PvZ Adventures, including the ability to boost your plants and freeze zombies for a few seconds in battle. For the low, low price of 25 Sun, you can click on a zombie to freeze it for a few moments so your plants can go to town on it; or you can spend that Sun on a plant and give it a perk up in battle. For the Peashooter and Aspearagus, it increases range on the field. Wallnuts become Tallnuts, Beets grow larger, and Flowers can stun any zombies in their range.
And since you can only bring five of each plant into battle, it would suck if eaten plants were removed them from the field altogether. For only 25 Sun, you can revive any plants that have fallen in battle as soon as their Recovery meter has filled. If you can’t quite click on the plant because zombies are surrounding it, I’ve found clicking on the exclamation point over its head can also bring it back.
Now for the social aspect of the game. Like every other Facebook game, the first thing you can do is send your friends a gift. As of right now, gifts are plants, randomly chosen by the game so you don’t really know which you’ve sent along and added to their inventory when they accept. Next, you can visit your friends’ towns and send some zombies to attack one of their buildings. When you send zombies to attack your neighbours, you must first select from the types you have unlocked and spend the designated Zombucks to do so. Once you’ve decided on a target building, a tombstone pops up and you watch the zombies you’ve unleashed do some damage. Unless your friends have set up their defense well, in which case you could have just wasted a bunch of Zombucks.
The last thing I’ve come across that requires your friends is opening up new maps. So far the game has asked for three friends to help unlock the next area, but you can skip that if you have enough Zombucks. Once you’ve cleared a map, simply click on the police cruiser to ask for help or purchase a ride along.
So you’ve cleared the first map, The Boonies, and can now open up a new lot. A new lot comes with an important building, such as the Plantagon in the image above which provides Lawnmowers. This is another instance which uses those Zombucks up there beside your coin tally. Clearing zombie debris from the lot costs Zombucks, but in doing so you can open up spaces for new buildings. Buildings and lawn beautification baubles will cost Zombucks, but those buildings will in turn give you money and experience. Such is the circle of lawn defense.
And now you can see the hows and whys of which I find myself completely in love with this game. And why I wish my plants would grow faster. Why do Beets and Cherry Bombs have to take so damn long??!?!?! (Yes, I know it’s because they are powerful, but I am impatient!)