Five winning strategies for Plants vs Zombies

Advice on how to cultivate victory

Five winning strategies for Plants vs Zombies

Now that you've started digging into Plants vs Zombies and grasped the basics, it's time to cultivate strategies that will pull you through the toughest stages.

Things may seem easy early in the 50-level Adventure mode, but by the time you're in the backyard and battling on the roof you need to have a good plan. Here are five winning tips that will nurture success on any level, whether it be daytime in the front yard or a tough bout on the roof.

Of course, there's plenty of room for tweaks and alternative approaches, so don't take these strategies as absolute. In fact, share your winning tips by leaving a comment below.

Make sunflowers your top priority

Since sunshine is needed to purchase plants, it's your most wanted, valuable resource. Unsurprisingly, it can be hard to come by if you're not using a strategy that maximises the production of sunshine, particularly during night levels.

As soon as you start any level, your very first act should be planting a sunflower on the farthest column to the left. Use that row exclusively for sunflowers.

You can usually plant two sunflowers before the zombies start ambling toward your house. Don't freak out - remain calm and wait for those first two sunflowers to produce sunshine with which you can build an attack plant to deal with the starting wave.

Plants vs. Zombies

Fill out the column while buying attack plants as needed. Avoid expensive plants until you have five sunflowers.

Sun-shrooms are also effective and cheap, though sunflowers are preferable because they provide a consistent supply of sunshine. Plus, you can upgrade them to twin sunflowers for double the rays.

In later stages, this is great for accumulating enough sunshine to buy the heartiest plants.

Plant evenly

Haphazard planting won't get you very far. To prevent zombies from making it into your house, you need to plant symmetrically on the screen. You never know on what row a zombie may appear, so evenly building your defences is vital to preventing attacks.

Start your front defensive line on the fourth or fifth column in from the left. While you're certainly able to plant beyond that point, this is the optimal start distance at which pea shooters and puff-shrooms can take down a basic zombie without being eaten. Planting them any closer at the start of a level risks them being made into a meal.

As you acquire sunshine, fill out the starting row and then move to creating a second line behind them. Do this as a response to conehead zombies that waltz in, filling out that column before moving to speciality plants and high-powered varietals.

Plants vs. Zombies

Try not to guess where you think zombies appear because if you plant and then a zombies appears on a different row, you may not have that plant available in time to prevent its attack. Instead, wait before planting a speciality until the zombie you're after appears, then plunk it down in the appropriate row.

Always equip an emergency variety

Along with your standard stationary defences, there's an array of single-use plants that can be lifesavers during a heated battle. Cherry bombs, for example, are great to stock because they are relatively inexpensive and destroy all zombies within a reasonable radius. Jalapenos are even more powerful, taking out an entire row.

Squash are also an excellent option, squishing any zombie that tries to take a bite. For aquatic zombies, you ought to take note of tangle kelp. These extraordinarily helpful plants entangle zombies and dunk them underwater for a drowning death (at least, a second death).

While you won't use them frequently (and perhaps not at all if you're really skilled), it's a good idea to have one of these types stocked for every level to deal with emergency situations. When all of your plants in a row have been bypassed and there are no more defences, these are your last resort.

Trip on as many shrooms as possible

Free is a pretty good price for defences, so take advantage of puff-shrooms and sea-shrooms. In night stages, always stock these because you can effortlessly fill the screen with them without spending a single ray of sunshine. Be wary of a couple of potential pitfalls, though.

First, puff-shrooms have an extremely short range. In order for them to be effective against stronger zombies, you need to double- or even triple-up on them. Fortunately, they regenerate on your build menu quickly and you can put down at least two during any given wave.

Plants vs. Zombies

Next, even if you're content with the defensive line you've established, there's no harm in putting puff-shrooms all the way to the right of the screen. Even if they just get munched on, they're helping you out by delaying zombie advances.

Lastly, sea-shrooms take an extremely long time to recharge on the build menu. Make sure that you plant one as soon as it becomes available, so as to start the recharge period. You don't want to get caught in a situation where a zombie eats a sea-shroom and you can't build a replacement in a hurry because you're waiting to recharge.

Avoid using more than one pea shooter per level

While most of the 49 plants have fundamental differences, there are a lot of pea shooters and you shouldn't waste precious build slots on multiple types of pea shooters.

The basic pea shooter gets the job done in the earliest levels, after which you graduate to the repeater. Now, it's twice the price, so until you unlock the puff-shroom stick with the basic pea shooter.

Once you have access to shrooms at night, ditch the pea shooter in favour of the repeater. You build shrooms for cheap defences and save up for the more expensive repeaters.

Employ the same strategy when you receive the threepeater. Ditch the older two models and use cheap alternatives for your starting defences, which allows you to save up the chunk of change needed to plant the triple-threat variety.

There's also a Gatling pea that you can purchase from Crazy Dave that shoots four peas, but it's slower than the threepeater and so not recommended as a replacement. If you want more power than the threepeater, consider pairing it with a torchwood to add incendiary damage to shots.

Tracy Erickson
Tracy Erickson
Manning our editorial outpost in America, Tracy comes with years of expertise at mashing a keyboard. When he's not out painting the town red, he jets across the home of the brave, covering press events under the Pocket Gamer banner.