Plants vs. Zombies 2 came out a few weeks ago with a lot of new gameplay mechanics and some in-app purchases. I didn't have a serious issue with most of the monetization in the game, but Pop Cap has just pushed an update that adds a ton of features and does away with a big chunk of the in-app purchase features.

For whatever reason, Pop Cap included a somewhat vague changelog that doesn't fully explain how huge the changes are. Here's what it has to say:

  • We've upgraded the map to make game progression quicker and easier.
  • It's simpler to know how much you've done, where you're going, and what loot you'll get along the way.
  • You can invite your friends and send ‘em gifts.
  • Use the Turbo button to speed up your planting – and speed up the zombies.
  • Be warned: when we were upgrading the map, somebody let in the Gargantuars.

Let's start with that map – when they said "upgraded" they meant "completely scrapped the old one." All the gates in the original maps are gone and there are no more keys. The new maps are completely linear and you can access everything without farming keys or paying money. If you had unused keys saved up, the game will automatically award you coins for them. The stars that control access to new worlds are also gone – when you finish all the stages, you move on to the next world.

2013-10-23 22.57.31 2013-12-12 03.56.26

Left: Old map, Right: New map

While the new maps are much simpler, you will have gaps in the levels if you've played through any of the game. This is because the designers had to integrate all the gated off sections of the maps into a single path. That means some things you unlocked before might need to be earned again, and it might be harder this time. See, some of those side tracks were really difficult, and now you have to go through each stage to advance. The jury's still out on whether or not this was a good idea.

There's also some legitimately new stuff, like the turbo button. Press this to speed up time and get through the boring opening minute of gameplay. Then there are the Gargantuars. These behemoths show up in each world via special levels. As you might be able to gather, they're giant zombies. They look like this:

2013-12-12 03.49.48

There is also a fourth world now, which comes after the wild west one. It's silhouetted in the map selector with a bunch of question marks, but it's pretty obviously a futuristic scifi thing. Neat. Still want more? Okay, it has a winter-themed icon now too.

2013-12-12 04.14.07

2013-12-12 03.43.10 2013-12-12 03.44.46

Just to be clear, this is still a free-to-play game – there is a store with extra coins, power ups, and plants. While it's more straightforward to unlock things, the addition of the Gargantuars and single path might be rough at times.

[Thanks, Jdban101]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • atlouiedog

    Nice. I'll give the game another go. I stopped receiving any key drops in the first world and couldn't unlock any more of the gates without paying. I played a lot of rounds without getting a single one and paying my way out of a bug felt wrong.

    • tz

      Keys were often dropped by doing the Yeti levels

      • atlouiedog

        I played the game quite a bit and got pretty much everything unlocked in the next two areas. It was just that first one where keys didn't drop. There was definitely something wrong.

        • FireHawkX

          definitely... cause after finishing all 3 stars in every locations, i had above 20 unused keys for each of the 3 worlds... i personally hate the new linear version... it feels like a huge step back... and having impossible stages that you MUST complete for moving on is not really nice...

    • kawaii lich king

      Before the update I just farmed keys from the last stand levels

      Plant a good defence then afk

      In wild west I could get keys every 3-4 stands

      Plant 5 tallnuts, 3 snapdragons and 5 melons

  • Alan Cheung

    Downloaded and completed all 3 Gargantuars levels ... where do I use the world keys .... I got 1 - noticed androidpolice has 0 in their screenshots......

    • Yo

      Ya, i also wonder how to use the key...

      • Tim

        It's used to unlock new world.

        • Harper

          Is there only 1 key per player, or is it like the prior extra levels where you need to collect more than one?

          • disqus_q4Cr7wPw3Z

            When I tried to open the new map (future map) using the keys it said i need to done the previous level (because there are still view lvl i haven't done x/24 ) and after I cleared out all level, I still can't access the new map, and the key is useless, no idea about the function

          • Leg_Hunter

            It's because they (EA And Pop Cap) still working on that world, and that world isn't finished, man, it take's forever to create that world, I hope they finished it on January...
            Oh, and the key problem, I don't know what the heck they do.

    • Silverisgold

      Gargantuan levels are fun , but farming keys wAs fun too , It was very remnicent of super Mario 3 even the mini game with memorization , déjàvü

  • http://www.reallyrantic.com/ Matthew

    I'd play it if it weren't for the push notifications.

    • Joey Funk

      you know you can turn those off right?

    • Drew

      Applications -> PvZ2 -> Uncheck "Allow this app to send notifications"

  • Joey Funk

    Thank god! i know what im re downloading later tonight. EA honestly bent this game over so hard, hopefully pop cap was able to get control back from them.

  • JuanTamad

    Update broke the game for me. "Unfortunately, Plants vs. Zombies 2 has stopped." Force closes after the initial PopCap loading screen. :/ Galaxy Nexus, stock 4.2.2. Anyone else?

    • cdlq456

      Just reinstall it. All your progress is stored on your Google Play Games account (only if you logged in sometime while you were playing) and will be restored after the reinstallation.

      • JuanTamad

        Shoot. I don't use Google Play Games.

        • rhai

          use helium to backup your save. it can be found on the play store.

  • cdlq456

    Nice, I was waiting for the AP article because now PvZ 2 looks almost like a new game. I was afraid that this changes bring a much stronger IAP system, but it's almost the opposite (and the game was pretty good at this from the beginning), so good for EA.

    I'm going to try this new version. It's good that they removed the locked paths, because earning keys was pretty difficult. But I think I'm going to miss the star system, i don't know, some objectives were pretty challenging, it were fun to play. Let's see what the new system adds to the game.

    Oh, and the fourth world was always there, I hope it will be available in a short time

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Well, it's a bit late to give this tip now, but the best way to get keys was to just keep repeating the challenge level on each map. Usually rounds 8-11 were almost guaranteed to give a key, and the gameplay was super simple until at least level 20. It meant grinding for keys, it went quickly enough.

    • uberfu

      Yes it is faster (without the turbo function) than it was before teh update.

      Also minor interface elements have been tweaked - such as the dialog boxes for the additional run throughs that tell you not to let a lawn mover die etc...

  • Snacksmane703

    I still don't know how to play the new map yet sim body help please

  • Felix Klein

    Still no immersive mode :(
    Love how Badland implements it!

  • Jon

    The game is still "unavailable for all devices in your country". Not the first time HK gets completely forgotten...

  • SetiroN

    If only people would realise they're the ones being turned into mindless zombies by these non-games.
    Their success reflects today's average person's dumbness.

    • Bluewall

      Why ? It's a pretty cool tower defense.

    • UniBroW


    • Max

      Dumbness? Sounds like the game is too difficult for someone... (SetirnoN)

    • 151826

      It's a game jerk

    • Bls Ela

      It s just a game you can play it or do something else

  • YoHoHo?

    I've finished all three worlds completely and I have a world key, but still can't enter the 4th world...
    am I missing something?!?

    • Z0neG4ming

      It's not released yet...

      • Mandzz

        When will it be released?

  • mrnoll

    I've had this update for 1.5-2 weeks already; maybe they put me in some sort of beta? I was probably about 70% done with the stars but with this update I finished the levels that didn't transfer as completed in a few hours. Without the stars there really isn't any incentive to keep playing. The other changes are very welcome though.

  • sweenish

    Just an FYI, that silhouette's been there a while. Well before this update. Probably since close to launch. Popcap announced it a while ago, too.

  • sam

    Has anyone else noticed that sun is now worth 50 instead of 25?

    • SYSSMouse

      most likely a bug.

      • Caio

        I don't think it's a bug, the first zombies are coming sooner too, I think they made it so the begging of the game doesn't get too boring and so they can send more zombies in the end so it become more challenging

        • uberfu

          I dont think it's a bug. It's cross platform shows up on iOS also. So pretty severe coding glitch if they messed up on dual platforms.

          And the descriptions say "...game progression quicker and easier..." could be pointing to this very thing.

  • Roland Hamburger

    what happened to all my stars? and my 30 keys in each level?

    • Matthew Fry

      They've turned into diamonds.

      • ThisPostIsNowDiamonds


  • ScrillaMane703

    So they updated the game but not forth world yet???? C'mon daaaaawg

  • sunflower

    I also have just one key, can't figure out whether I need more or how to get them. The upgrade automatically gave me the key, maybe because I'd already gotten through all three worlds?

    • ayuz

      Same goes here..

  • Navitron

    And.... still "[X] This app is incompatible with your device." GT-I9505G. Google play edition devices are fucked by EA.

  • ladymoon

    How many new world key u guys already have?
    I've got 1.

  • Luna Ladymoon

    How many world key you guys already have?
    I've got 1.

    • Sergio

      Yes I got world key

  • hongeee

    new monster is good but how are we suppose to defeat Gargantuars in endless mode!?
    (jalapeno or cherry bomb cant instant kill..)

    im on level 147 dead man booty..Gargantuars appear after few zombies
    and it keeps coming.. 20-30 Gargantuars at a same time???? you must be
    joking.. i spent 50,000 coins on 2 levels and hell im not buying anymore

    • garlicman

      I leave (save and exit) the level, go out and earn more coins and come back and use the powerups especially the toss one seems effective to get them all up in the top row. Then I use the jalapeno and cherry bomb on them. The stupid short critters that they throw are annoying so I will try to pre-set a potato land mine so that when they land they get blown up. All in all, not easy but still fun! :) Hope that helps some.

      • Jerry

        Use the corn. Two or three corn stalkswill freeze the gars so you can put thorns under them and dragons next to them

  • uberfu

    The silhouette of the 4th level has been there for quite some time - do not fluff this update as if it's the first time that it has shown up.

  • Brett Turner

    > The jury's still out on whether or not this was a good idea.

    One vote for guilty. Some of the scenarios are quite tough, and with the branching map I liked being able to set aside a tough one for a while, and then come back to it. Don't like the linear map.

    Also the branching map was pretty cool, and the linear map is just ugly.

    • Kevin Edward

      I 100% agree, I finally got a device that can run this properly for Christmas and was very disappointed when I installed it and saw the horrific new map and progress system. Ruined the game, utterly worthless now.

  • Jacob J

    For those Android players out there, do you get anything but blue gems when defeating a yeti? Only have received blue gems after 4 times defeating so far. Just wondering what everyone thinks. Seems pointless to hide them in lunchboxes to heighten the anticipation of something new.

  • Sambo57

    It's not really harder given the extra sun you get now I already had it almost beat before the change. Now it's just easy the ones I had trouble with now get smashed with very little effort. Kinda sucks but I still like the game but they need to finish the other world. I do miss the challenge though still.

  • George

    Updated it, the gameplay is now significantly harder. The economics of sun production has also changed. New progression system is ok. Overall do not want.

  • Fishy

    Ummmm Veteran players....did anyone else have their keys converted into cash......? I think I had around 80 keys altogether...........I now have $98,000 or so after the update.....$31 actual dollars worth of in-game coins....

  • Anonymous

    I dont even know why they gave me 254 world keys. I did not get them from pinata parties or anything. They just appeared.

    • Anonymous

      Same person here. Look⬇️

  • Anonymous

    Why cant i post screenshots?? :( i posted the post below. And attached a screenshot of my pvz2 world keys.

  • Kevin Edward

    The recent update and map changes are terrible... the game looks bland and boring now, the beautifully fully detailed maps are now just gone and the gate, key and star system is gone as well. What is my opinion? There was a problem with the keys in later levels and the developers were either unable to or to lazy to fix it so instead gutted the game and made it simple and bland, they need to update this again to change it back to the way it was because as it is right now I don't want to bother with it. Fairly typical of a product touched and diseased by EA games though.

  • vailismyname

    Ok. So I've actually been out of the loop on this game until the last couple weeks, and I downloaded it JUUUST after the big update. I didn't even realize there was a big update right before except that once I hit Pirate Seas day 14, a last stand level, I've been finding that level just impossible to beat. So I caved and looked to walkthroughs in youtube and have seen that all the videos looked TOTALLY different from my game. I did some googling, and here I am. The people who made the walkthroughs must have either boughten plants that are unbuyable now, or played the basic version of the levels without doing the extra objectives and went back to do the level with the newly aquired plants. However. Completing the extra objectives is madatory now. So I have noooo clue how to beat that level!

    Well, that's my story. Fun fun. Coming to a grinding hault. Weeeeee.

  • Vayda

    Seriously. How do you get to world 4!? I've completed everything and have the key but cannot figure out for the life of me how to use it.

  • B

    I have cleared all 3 worlds. 24/24 each. I have yet to see the Yeti after the new update. I have a key but cant use it.

  • WW_Dagger

    I beat all three worlds without ever using a powerup. I didn't even know they were there. I was wondering what the coins were for all that time.

    • jahari

      There are a new upgrade After the 3 big zimboss level you get the fourth world far future

  • Amanda Clark

    I can't find a damn key to open the Wild West ! It will be level 3 for me and I can't find a key to open it and really don't wanna pay for it when it's free somehow? Plz help me

  • Damian

    I really liked this game when it first came out. It was a nice game,and then they had to make it all messed up. I won't be playing it any more.

  • mi cachete

    I finished 25/25 the 1rst world but world 2 and 3 I can't get the 25 level im just 24/25 why I can't unlock the 25 level in world 2 & 3?

    • kate

      I'm having the same problem, very frustrating!

      • iwko

        me too

        • Marianne Delaney

          And me!

          • ZomBabe

            Same here. Is this a bug? Can,t we ask somebody from EA? Help!

          • gil

            Same here ..

          • Olivia

            Havin the same issue.

        • bessd

          Same here... at one point I had a flashing red Dr Z head over level 25 in worlds 2 & 3, but it went away. Hmmm...

    • Kiki

      Me too same problem has anyone figured out a solution?

      • Kika

        The update states that only the one level has been released.

        • chaboy

          so they spent all that time to release 1 level? Lol do they not expect people to be able to beat that in less than an hour and then be left wanting more? If they are gonna release new lvls they shouldve released them along with the new world...

    • keyush

      Meee toooooo

    • nilesh

      mee too

      • monimom f

        And me!!! Also had the flashing red Dr Z head off and on. Sooooo frustrated!!

        • Pt

          Dr Z has only been released for the first world. Dr Z for world 2 and 3 have not yet been released.

    • yuv

      U must play sm pinata party first.lol

  • rosie

    how come I cant enter final stage for last 2 levels ive completed up to the 24th star on bith but can't access the ladt one

  • shitiscrazy

    So confused with this game now. Ugh It says I've bested 24 out of 25 levels on pirate seas and Wild West.

  • SuperZombie

    Super zombie here...not..super..man...update...not...out..yet...brainz.

  • shajahan

    Add dart time the story will be like this (when craaaazy David and the time machine goes tries to go and get the taco. But then suddenly the dark time viruise (if i spell right) effect the machine and they get stuck on the dark time after thet the machine will say to david ( there is something or someone hacking time ) then david answer ( plants do stuff they care and me taco) the way to escape is kill the zomboss brother called zomierie

  • shajahan

    One question can you add a mode that you will be on zombies side if you wont then no problem

  • CommanderBigMac

    I played a pinata party today with 2 of the new worlds plants. a bean-ish thing that shoots lazers out of it's eyes and hits the entire row, probably the same damage as the lightning reed. then there was an orange. it charges up over a set amount of time, then shoots out a plasma ball that destroys a gravestone in one shot. plantfood: the bean jumps up and shoots its lazer at the ground, then moves it towards the back of the lane, doing damage to everything. the orange shoots out a bigger plasma ball that acts alomst like the coconut cannon in that it pushes through the entire lane. I also got given the bonk-choy for that level but seriously, the future plants seem real awesome /)^3^(

  • Davis Rivas

    The new map system sucks. The levels are not named, good luck if you're looking for a specific level within that linear mess.

  • Empty

    I've completed all 4 world but I can't get to play lvl 25 in the far future world T.T Any help plz?><

  • smiley

    Why I can't play 25/25 in the Far Future World? I have finished all the other levels.

  • Ragnarok

    i have finished the first world how come i cant go on the next world?? T_T

  • Ediz

    i have beaten lvl 8 in world 1 and it didn't drop me a world key (a finished the whole map) and i am stuck in Ancient Egypt...help ?

  • Ediz

    i have beaten lvl 8 in world 1 and it didn't drop me a world key (a finished the whole map) and i am stuck in Ancient Egypt...help ?

  • saville

    i completed world 1 and 2 but now i dont have key to go in world 3 pls help i completed gargantuars levels again and again but still didnt get key

  • Emma Grumbt

    Why has my pvsz2 stopped working.

  • Marc

    I have an issue with wild west. they have removed the stars so the Yee-Haw accomplishment wont' compleate for me even thouh i am 25/25 in the wild west.