PopCap Games has released Plants Vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time in Australia and New Zealand first to test the changes it has made over the previous game. For the most part the game has been well received. This time around the game is going to be free to play and PopCap has devised an in game buying system to make money. Now when most developers come up with such “freemium” concepts it means that to actually progress through the game players will need to spend real money, but PopCap has come up with a remarkable balance to make a truly brilliant gameplay experience, whether you pay for it or not.

PopCap has developed the game with all the basics of free to play games, with in game currency and premium boosts but has none of the drawbacks. For example, plant food is dropped by glowing zombies and players can drag and drop it onto plants to temporarily supercharge plants. Like any free to play game, it can also be bought anytime during a level for a 1000 coins; while this could have forced players to spend money on hard levels; and the game is much harder than its predecessor the drops are actually enough to not force players to spend money. Players get three plant food and that is the maximum that can be carried, so it makes sense to use at least one as soon as possible and since they don’t carry over between levels, use them all during the final wave of Zombies. This adds to the fun of the game because instead of using the same plants like in Plants Vs Zombies players will now want to use all the plants if only to see what they do when supercharged!

Crazy Dave’s time travel experiment is the basic premise of the game and from it stems the biggest change over the previous version. It makes the players battle zombies over three eras; ancient Egypt which has tombstones that block plant fire, the pirate seas that has zombies swinging from one ship to the next to get at your brains and the wild west where players can use mine carts to move plants up and down to tackle zombie waves! The game also has many more side games and puzzles apart from the critical path of the game, encouraging players to players spend more time saving their brains from zombies.

While the game seems really well balanced right now, it is possible that PopCap will actually change its formula before the final worldwide release of the game. Let us hope that they don’t spoil the delicate balance it seems to have achieved right now!