Now that classic gardening-and-undead-killing sim Plants vs. Zombies is available on Xbox Live Arcade, that pretty much just leaves PSN and Gizmondo as the only platforms it's not (yet) playable on. And though the iPad variant has to be the definitive version, the XBLA game does offer all new co-op and even versus modes. That's just enough of an excuse for us to hit up elusive PvZ creator George Fan and less-elusive Associate Producer Ty Roberts for their single-player and multiplayer top tips and strategies.
George Fan (pictured right): In single-player I like to go for the big guns, so oftentimes I'll bring in the Potato Mine as a low-cost way to stave off the initial assault while I'm saving for my Threepeaters. I like planting my Threepeaters in rows two and five of the pool levels. Just two rows of those give you a nice coverage of the whole screen. Add in Torchwoods and Tall-Nuts and you're set.
One of the more "out there" strategies I tried was mass-producing Kernel-Pults. It was ALL BUTTER ALL THE TIME.
I'm kind of the same in versus mode in the sense that I like to go for the "big stuff." If I'm playing the zombies, I'll set up a Trashcan Zombie defense, then build the full layout of gravestones. Then I'll send Gargantuars and Flag Zombies (the ones that bring forth the huge waves) non-stop until my opponent is demolished.
In co-op, the key is communicating with your teammate. Usually there will be one player that needs sun more than the other, so I make sure to let my teammate know when I need sun, and let them pick up sun otherwise. When it comes to choosing plants, each player chooses half of the arsenal, so I'll usually let my teammate pick first and then adapt to fill in the gaps of whichever plants we need.
Ty Roberts (pictured right):
Use Potato Mines to buy yourself time to plant Sunflowers. See a zombie coming in your row? No problem. Lay down a Potato Mine for 25 sun and continue to grow your Sunflower economy.
Plant at least two columns of Sunflowers. I generally do three. It will make your life easier.
Plant your Peashooters near the back, next to your Sunflowers. If it’s early, plant them in the column after your last Sunflower.
Don’t forget to use the Right Trigger to collect large amounts of sun at once [Xbox version only].
Don’t be afraid to stall a bunch of zombies with a Wall-Nut. Then set a Cherry Bomb or a Squash on the square behind them. That can take out quite a few at once.
Leave the center lane free of Wall-Nuts, but fortify the other lanes with Wall-Nuts. This gives you a row where you can plant a cherry bomb and take out a bunch of zombies at once.
A combination of Wall-Nuts and Spikeweed is a magic potion.
I love using Threepeaters and Torchwood. You get a screen full of those and nobody stops you. Well, they can still stop you, but they probably won’t.
Increase the number of seed slots as soon as you can.
Plant a row of pots near the bottom headed up by a bulb of Garlic. Plant all Sunflowers behind the Garlic and then you have more columns available for more firepower.
If you can get to a flat part of the roof, don’t be afraid to use Threepeaters and Torchwood to add to your cabbage-launching offense.
Jalapenos are your friends on rooftops.
Annoy your friends by sending down cheap zombies right away. They’ll hate you for it.
Use the Trashcan Zombie for a longer lead time to build your economy.
Build a strong zombie economy. The brainier the better.
Plant players should try to take out one row at a time. Fortifying a row quickly can give you an early advantage.
Get your bang for the buck. Your Bobsled Zombies can stomp down some plants quickly.
Be willing to give up a row or two as the zombies. Then just fortify the other ones.
Get aggressive in Sudden Death. Call in your Flag Zombies, Zomboni Drivers, and Gargantuars liberally.
Don’t be a jerk about winning. Karma is a bitch. The person you beat is either your significant other, your friend, your relative, or your child. Any of them can hit you at any time.
Play more Survival of varying types to get cooler plants for Zen Garden.
Stinky is fine but you don’t necessarily need him. It’s pretty rad to have a snail named Stinky around though.
Instead of using Wall-Nuts or Tall-Nuts, try using Pumpkin shells. This lets you put your Torchwoods up closer to the zombies, which leaves you more room for more firepower. In fact, go for only two columns of Sunflowers and plant Twin Sunflowers when you can. Then start with simple Peashooters and Torchwoods. As you accumulate more sun, start upgrading your Peashooters to Repeaters and Threepeaters when you can. So, ideally, you can get a Spikeweed in the column closest to the hedges, followed by a Torchwood in a pumpkin shell, followed by upgraded Peashooters, followed by two columns of double Sunflowers. Just sayin’.
On any Survival pool levels, get yourselves some Cattails. Those things are great and they’ll hit whatever you miss.
Doesn’t hurt to have Spikeweeds in your first column in case of an OMG ZOMBONI RUSH. They pop those suckers straight away.
Bitmob's Favorite Strategy: Not to belittle Fan and Roberts' love of the Threepeater/Torchwood combo, but sometimes a hail of flaming peas gets a little boring. Our favorite gambit, day or night, pool or backyard (but not so much roof, though it's still possible), revolves around Gloom-Shrooms, which have a powerful area-effect attack, and the most subtly amazing plant in the game, Garlic. Use the Potato Mine early while you ramp up your economy, then lay down Fume-Shrooms in rows two and five. As you upgrade these to Gloom-Shrooms, place Garlic at the beginning of your two Gloom-Shroom rows and that will funnel all the zombies into your Gloom-Shroom death zones. Have some nukes on hand for the big-ticket zombies like Gargantuars, and round out kill rows with Winter Melons in Survival mode.
On the roof, use Garlic to divert zombies from rows one, three, and five (put your Sunflowers in these rows), and then line up Winter Melons in rows two and four. You almost feel sorry for those zombies.