Solitaire Arcade presents:

A Walkthrough and Player's Guide for
Plants vs. Zombies
written by Michael Keller

No Tallnuts in Pogo Party

Plants vs. Zombies is Š2009-2010 by PopCap Games, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Plants vs. Zombies is a trademark of PopCap Games, Inc. which may be registered in some countries.

It's very rare nowadays that I buy casual games at full price, but the first hour of Plants vs. Zombies (I made it through level 2-1) was so good that I didn't want to wait for it to show up on the portals. I bought it directly from PopCap at 10% off within a few days of its May 13th, 2009 release. It was worth every penny of the $17.95 I paid. It has been nominated for a number of awards, including Best PC Game and Best Downloadable Game in the Spike TV 2009 Video Game Awards (though it didn't win either award, as it was competing with hardcore video games). The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences nominated it as Casual Game of the Year. In terms of replay value and how much it offers the player, in play variety and strategy, it is one of the best casual games ever. It is first-rate in its design (George Fan), programming (Tod Semple), music and sound (Laura Shigihara), and art (Rich Werner and company). It's full of humor and loaded with pop culture references to music, movies, and TV. There are no serious bugs and only a few minor flaws. It loads quickly and plays easily in an 800x600 window. The game features 101 different levels, providing an astonishing variety of play which combines strategy with a bit of arcade skill. PopCap also now has an online Flash version, though this only goes up to level 2-4 and has no money. There are versions now for PC (Windows XP/Vista/7), Macintosh, iPhone, iPad, XBox Live Arcade, and Nintendo DS. This player's guide was written for the PC version, but almost all of it should apply to most of the other versions (the iPhone version is a limited version, while the iPad, XBLA, and DS versions have some added features).

The basic idea of the game is that you have moved into a new neighborhood beset by zombies who might attack your house, day or night, in any weather, trying to get into your house across your front yard, back yard, or rooftop, in order to eat your brains. How can you stop these zombies from getting in? By planting a variety of plants in your yard, pool, and on top of your house (to keep them from getting in through the chimney). The plants are powered by sunlight, which falls from the sky (you have to click the yellow balls of sunlight as they fall). In the very first scenario you have only one plant, a Peashooter, which shoots green peas one at a time at the zombies which amble slowly across the screen from right (the street) to left (your house). When a zombie is hit enough times (a basic zombie takes ten hits from a pea), its head falls off and it eventually disappears. When a zombie reaches a plant, it will attempt to eat it (with wonderfully horrible chomping noises), and if the zombie survives long enough the plant will disappear. As you collect sunlight (expressed in points -- generally 25 per ball), you can buy plants with it and place them in the squares of your lawn, which starts as one strip, but quickly expands to 5 (and later 6) lanes of 9 squares. The initial part of the game, the Adventure mode, consists of 50 levels in which new plants are introduced, generally one per level; some of the 49 varieties of plants can only be bought as powerups later in the game. The 26 different kinds of zombies are also introduced gradually. Each level starts slowly, with zombies coming one at a time, but eventually they come in waves, with a huge Final Wave at the end. Each level ends either with a win, by destroying all of the zombies, or a loss, by a zombie reaching your house -- but each lane of your lawn is protected by a lawnmower which is triggered by a zombie breaking through the last (leftmost) plant. A lawnmower destroys every zombie in its lane, but each can only be used once per level -- if another zombie breaks through the same lane, you lose and must repeat that level.

After the first level, you get Sunflowers, which generate extra sunlight. You have to buy these too, but the more sunflowers you plant the faster you collect sunlight to buy zombie-attacking plants. You actually have to manage four resources: sunlight, time, space, and money. Time is important because each kind of plant must recharge, once you have planted one, before you can plant another of the same kind (a few plants also take time to activate after they are planted -- Potato Mines in particular take just a fraction under 16 seconds). Space is important because the game takes place in an area which is 5 by 9 squares (sometimes 6 by 9) and each square usually holds only one plant (with a maximum of three). The first ten levels (Day) take place in your front yard during daytime. Each set of ten levels is punctuated by a variety game at the fifth level and a conveyor belt game (where plants are handed to you at random) at the tenth. After level 1-4 you find a Shovel, which allows you to dig up a plant and plant another one. This is free and you will need it a lot, either to place a different plant in a particular spot, or to replace a badly damaged one. You also meet your neighbor, Crazy Dave, who wears a pot on his head and speaks in gibberish (luckily translated by word balloons). He introduces you to Level 1-5, where Wall-nuts (large walnuts, introduced after 1-3) are rolled towards the attacking zombies. These will ricochet after hitting a zombie, possibly hitting other zombies. Red Explode-o-nuts detonate when they hit a zombie, also destroying nearby zombies. This serves as an easy introduction to two of the later Minigames. The early levels are relatively easy, though you still might find yourself saved by a lawnmower on occasion. Once you have found enough plants, you are also limited to six different kinds of plant in each level, which you select at the beginning of each level starting at 1-8. Later you will be able to buy additional seed slots, allowing you up to ten different plants per level (important for the more difficult games).

A Quick Look at the Plants

The plants can be grouped into six categories: generators, shooters, catapults, explosives, protectors, and specials.

Generators are plants which produce Sun. There are three of these: Sunflowers and Twin Sunflowers, which work at any time, and Sun-shrooms, which are only useful at night. Marigolds could also be grouped with generators, but they produce money instead of Sun.

Shooters shoot either peas (Peashooter, Repeater, Threepeater, Gatling, Split Pea, and Snow Pea), pointed darts (Cactus and Cattails), stars (Starfruit), or poisonous purple fumes (Puff-shroom, Sea-shroom, Fume-shroom, Scaredy-shroom, and Gloom-shroom). The pea, dart, and star shooters (and the Scaredy-shroom) have unlimited range (and are equally effective at any range); the rest of the fume shooters have limited range. None of the shooters are effective on the angled part of the Roof, being limited to one square of range. Most shooters only affect the first zombie they hit, but Fume-shrooms and Gloom-shrooms shoot thicker fumes which affect every zombie in their range.

Catapults fling vegetables with unlimited range (including the whole roof): these are Cabbage-pult, Kernel-pult, Melon-pult, and Winter Melon. Both shooters and catapults destroy zombies by accumulated damage. Snow Peas and Winter Melons have an added effect of slowing down zombies they hit, making all shooters (including themselves) and catapults more effective by giving them more time to inflict damage. Regular green melons and blue Winter melons burst apart when they hit a zombie, and the fragments can also damage zombies in adjacent squares (usually called splash damage).

Explosives are plants which generally destroy one or more zombies in a single attack. Some go off almost as soon as they are planted, with a large area of effect (Cherry Bomb, Jalapeņo, Doom-shroom, Cob Cannon). Others go off on contact with a zombie, destroying either one zombie (Chomper, Tangle Kelp), or everything in one square (Squash, Potato Mine). Not all of them actually explode, but the effect is the same; the Chomper eats a zombie, the Tangle Kelp drags one underwater, and the Squash smashes one or more zombies flat. The Ice-Shroom can also be considered a wide-area explosive, which temporarily freezes zombies rather than destroying them (a special effect shared by the pats of butter flung by Kernel-pults). In general, plant explosives harm only zombies (the converse is true for the few explosive zombies: e.g. Jack-in-the-Boxes only destroy plants).  Explosives (and Garden Rakes) cause about 90 peas' worth of damage, enough to immediately destroy any zombie except a Gargantuar or Giga-Gargantuar.


Protectors block zombies, forcing them to stop and eat (Wall-nuts, Tall-nuts, and Pumpkins), cause damage as zombies cross them (Spikeweed and Spikerock), divert zombies into other lanes (Garlic), or reject aerial attacks (Umbrella Leaf).

Specials are plants with various individual effects. Grave Busters destroy graves in Night scenarios. Hypno-shrooms hypnotize zombies, effectively turning them into plants. Torchwood doubles the effectiveness of peas passing over it by turning them into fireballs. Lily Pads and Flower Pots allow most plants to be planted in Pool lanes or on the Roof, respectively. Planterns and Blovers counteract fog (Planterns continuously, by illuminating a large area, Blovers by blowing the fog away temporarily); Blovers also blow Balloon zombies backwards off the screen. Coffee Beans wake up mushrooms, allowing them to be used during daytime. Magnet-shrooms steal metal objects away from zombies. Marigolds generate money. Gold Magnets collect money.

Each plant has a recharge time. Fast-recharging plants are available as soon as a scenario begins, and can be planted as soon as you have enough Sun. Slow and very slow recharging plants take about 20 and 35 seconds, respectively, from the start of the scenario to be (potentially) available for the first time.

Shooters (peas, stars, darts, fumes) all seem to shoot around 44 times a minute, though this may be two (Repeater, Cattail), three (Threepeater), four (Gatling), or five (Starfruit) at a time.  The exception is Gloom-shroom, which shoots fumes in all eight directions, three bursts at a time, about 32 times a minute.  Catapults lob their fruits or vegetables about 22 times a minute (so that Cabbage-pult, whose cabbages have the same effect as two peas, has about the same firepower as a Peashooter).

Adventure mode

Day scenarios


Level 1-1

On the very first level of the Adventure, your front lawn is only one lane wide. Your only weapon is Peashooters, and you only face plain zombies. It's actually impossible to lose this in tutorial mode, as the game won't send any zombies until you have collected some Sun and planted two Peashooters, which is enough to kill the five plain zombies you see in this level. Even if you plant two Peashooters at the far right, and both get eaten, the Lawnmower will save you by running over the remaining zombies. Each zombie takes ten hits from peas to kill it. Sun falls about every 6 or 7 seconds. You'll only have time to plant three Peashooters. This is the only level without a Final Wave. If you type the word mustache on your keyboard at any time, the zombies will grow mustaches, and you will get the first of 20 achievements. At the end of the level, you will find seeds for Sunflower.

When you play through the Adventure a second time, you still only face plain zombies in Level 1-1, but your lawn will be the normal five lanes wide. You will have a wide range of weapons available, potentially all 49 plants. This is the easiest place to try for the Good Morning achievement. All of the Day levels except 1-10 are a flag longer the second time through.

Level 1-2

Your lawn is now three lanes wide. You will need to plant Sunflowers to earn Sun to plant Peashooters more quickly; plant two or three columns of Sunflowers, and start planting Peashooters in column 3 or 4, getting at least two in each row as quickly as possible. The Flag Zombie appears, but it only marks the start of a new wave of zombies, and you kill it just like a normal zombie. You will find seeds for Cherry Bomb.

Levels 1-1 and 1-2 are so easy, even the second time through, that you can win with Peashooters alone, using only the falling Sun.

Sun planting strategies

The most important principle to follow in planting Sunflowers (and later Sun-shrooms) is to plant one every time it recharges. That is, always make sure you have enough Sun accumulated to plant a Sunflower, until you have planted all the Sunflowers you have room for: generally three full columns of Sunflowers (and perhaps four of Sun-shrooms), though in some scenarios you can place more in some of the grass lanes (e.g. in Bobsled Bonanza, or in scenarios where you are using Threepeaters). For example, in Fog scenarios, you should always have 50 Sun accumulated before you place your first Lily Pad, and 50 again before you plant a Plantern. You can bend this rule slightly when planting something critical: it is important to get your first Cattail down the moment you have 225 Sun, and you might have to plant a Tall-nut or an explosive to deal with an immediate threat. You can also plant extra Sunflowers in spots you know you will eventually want to dig them up and replace them with other plants (e.g, plant them in the pool lanes and later replace them with Cattails).


Level 1-3

You now face some Conehead zombies as well as plain ones. Coneheads take 28 peas to kill. You might need to use Cherry Bombs to kill some of the Coneheads (place them in the same or an adjacent square), though it is possible to win without using any. You should be able to plant three columns of Sunflowers and three or four of Peashooters. You will find seeds for Wall-Nut.

Visual Damage

Conehead Damage Levels

Instead of having a complex system where you would have to mouse over a zombie or plant to see how much damage it had taken, the designers chose to use an approximate system of gradual physical decay, which enables the player at a glance to have a rough idea of how close a zombie or plant is to being destroyed. Above is an example for Coneheads, showing each level of damage and the number of peas at which it is reached. The undamaged Conehead is shown at 0. His cone is bent after getting hit with 7 peas or the equivalent, cracks at 13, falls off at 19, his arm falls off at 24, and he dies (again) at 28. Most zombies have fewer levels than this: a plain zombie loses his arm at 5 and dies at 10. Generally speaking, when a zombie loses his protection (cone, bucket, screen door, etc.) he is at least as weak as an undamaged regular zombie (and should take no more than 10 more peas worth of damage).

Buckethead damage

Another example. The Buckethead's bucket is dented at 19 peas, moves upward at 37, and falls off at 55. His arm falls off at 60 and his head at 65. Screen Door zombie has analogous damage at exactly the same levels.


Level 1-4

Your lawn is now five lanes wide. Use Wall-Nuts to protect each lane, placing them in the seventh or eighth columns in each lane. You will continue to face regular and Conehead zombies throughout the remaining Day levels. Three Peashooters and a Wall-nut in each lane are enough to stop everything, though you have Cherry Bombs if you need them.

You will meet your neighbor Crazy Dave, who shows you how to dig up plants with a Shovel. Just click on the Shovel icon in the upper right, which turns your cursor into a shovel, and then click on the plant you want to dig up (the plant you are about to dig up will light up as you drag the shovel over it; this is important later when you may have multiple plants in the same square).

Level 1-5

Dave then gives you a Wall-nut so you can play an introductory version of Wall-Nut Bowling, one of the Minigames. This is a Conveyor Belt scenario: you do not collect Sun and buy plants with it; the plants you receive (in this case Wall-nuts) randomly appear at about 4 second intervals, moving right to left on a conveyor belt. You may pick them up and use them (in this case, roll them) immediately, or save them up and let them accumulate on the left end of the belt. The belt will hold ten plants; if it fills up, no more Wall-nuts will appear until you start using them again. Roll the Wall-nuts down one of the five lanes to kill a zombie coming up that lane. A rolling Wall-nut will hit the first zombie it reaches, then randomly deflect at about a 45 degree angle into one of the adjacent lanes (or bounce off the side of the lawn and deflect the other way). Plain zombies take one hit from a Wall-nut, Coneheads take two. Explode-o-nuts (which are red) will explode when they hit a zombie, blowing up everything in adjacent squares (like a Cherry Bomb) -- you should save these up until you need them to blow up large groups of zombies which have advanced too far. You shouldn't need to use many Explode-o-nuts, perhaps none. You will face between 45-50 zombies in about 3 minutes, about a third of them Coneheads. You will find seeds for Potato Mine.

On your second time through the Adventure, 1-5 is the full version of Wall-nut Bowling, just like the Minigame -- you will face Newspaper zombies, Bucketheads, and Pole Vaulting zombies.

Level 1-6

You will encounter the Pole Vaulting Zombie (in this and all remaining Day levels), which jumps over the first plant it encounters. It becomes slower after it jumps, so put anything cheap in its path (Potato Mines are good, since they can later blow up something else if they are not eaten too quickly). A double wall of Wall-nuts is very effective, since the second wall will stop Pole Vaulters who clear the first. You may have room to plant four columns of Sunflowers. When your first Potato Mine blows up a zombie, you will get Spudow!, the second of 20 achievements. You will find seeds for Snow Pea.

Elementary Strategies for Daytime Levels

Once you have Potato Mines, you can start practicing a general strategy for building up your defenses which should work on all daytime (Day, Pool, Roof) scenarios. This strategy is enhanced as you gain more plants and powerups (especially Squash and Garden Rake). Let's see how to handle level 1-6. When the level starts, you want to start planting Sunflowers in any and all lanes, starting from the far left and eventually aiming to fill up three whole columns with Sunflowers (the Tree of Wisdom and several other sources suggest only two columns of Sunflowers, but I like having as much Sun as possible). Your shooting weapons will be placed starting in the fourth columns, with blocking plants (Wall-nuts in the early Adventure levels, Tall-nuts as soon as you have them in level 3-9) usually in columns seven and/or eight. Once the first zombie appears you should place a Potato Mine as far left as possible (below left) in whatever lane it is advancing in, and while it is arming, continue to plant Sunflowers. You should be able to pick off the first two or three zombies with Mines. Below right, another mine has been placed in the top lane to get the second zombie, while several more sunflowers have been planted and the first zombie has not even reached its mine:

Tutorial 1 Tutorial 2

When you have accumulated enough Sun (at least 150), you should place a Peashooter in the fourth column of a lane where the next zombie is coming (below left). You might need to switch back to a Mine to get the next zombie, or place a Wall-nut in a lane (in column 6 or 7) without a Peashooter, to hold off an approaching zombie until you can put a Peashooter behind the Wall-nut. Below right, two zombies approach simultaneously, and a Mine has been placed in one lane and another Peashooter has been placed in the other.

Tutorial 3 Tutorial 4

You should be planting Sunflowers steadily, gradually building up Sun, and putting at least a Wall-nut and a Peashooter in every lane. When you have planted a Wall-nut in a lane without a Peashooter, you should get a Peashooter behind it as soon as possible (below left, a Wall-nut was placed in the top lane, and the next Peashooter was placed in that lane rather than in the undefended third lane). When a Pole Vaulting zombie appears, throw something in front of it immediately make it jump. Below right, a Potato Mine was placed in front of a Pole Vaulting zombie, which jumped over it and began walking (blue headband in lane 4):

Tutorial 6 Tutorial 7

When you have plenty of Sun (200 or so), look for opportunities to eliminate two, three, or more zombies with a single Cherry Bomb (below left). Below right shows the successful end of level 1-6, even though only three Wall-nuts were planted. Planting your first Wall-nut early (to allow for
their slow recharge time) may allow you to get an extra Wall-nut or two planted; that isn't necessary here, but may help on later levels, especially when you get Tall-nuts late in the Pool levels.

Tutorial 9 Tutorial 10

Once you have a Wall-nut in every lane, even if they are staggered, you can gradually push your defensive wall forward by putting a Wall-nut in front of another one, digging up the rear Wall-nut and putting a Peashooter there instead. Sometimes the game will throw a curve by sending two early zombies in a row in the same lane; you might have to improvise and throw a Wall-nut or Chomper in front of the second zombie (example from 1-7 below):

Tutorial 11

Later, when you have Squash, you can eliminate the first zombie with a Mine, switch to Squash for the second, and back to a Mine for the third. Once you have a Garden Rake, you should ignore the first zombie and place a mine to blow up the second zombie when it appears. In some levels where we recommend you skip the Mine, you can use Squash (and Rake) on the early zombies. As you get more powerful weapons such as Repeaters, you should use them instead of plain Peashooters; you should also switch from Wall-nuts to Tall-Nuts as soon as they are available.

Level 1-7

This is the first level which is two flags long: there is a heavy wave of zombies in the middle of the scenario and another at the end. Use Snow Peas to slow down the approaching zombies. Try to get one in each lane, in column 4 or 5 if possible. There is no need to plant more than one in a row, as the freezing effect of two is the same as one. Plant the cheaper Peashooters, which have the same killing effect, in front of them. This might be the last time you will want to use the Peashooter, since you need room for new plants, and will shortly get its replacement which fires two peas at a time. You can plant four columns of Sunflowers, eventually replacing one column with additional Peashooters once you have built up plenty of Sun. You will find seeds for Chomper.

Level 1-8

Plant Selection Screen

First plant selection screen, at the start of level 1-8. The zombies are previewed at right. I have selected six plants in the order I'm most likely to use them.

If you are playing on XBox Live Arcade, this is the level to get the Nom Nom Nom achievement. Use only Sunflowers, Chompers, and Wall-nuts to stop the zombies.


This level is only one flag long again: the only heavy wave of zombies is the Final Wave. For the first time, you have too many kinds of plants, and must select 6 out of the 7 available. (The order in which you select them does not matter). You definitely want to start learning how to use Chompers, but probably don't need both the Snow Pea and the Peashooter, so I would suggest skipping the Peashooter. If so, the Snow Pea is your only shooter, and you will have to plant more than one per lane. You encounter the Buckethead zombie for the first time (it also, like the other zombies you have encountered so far, appears in the remaining Day levels); this takes 65 hits from peas to kill it, and it will be tough to do that even with multiple Snow Peas protected by Wall-nuts. You will probably need Cherry Bombs and/or Chompers to kill the Bucketheads. Chompers are very effective when placed behind Wall-nuts, as they will eat the first zombie which reaches the Wall-nut. Then, when a second zombie reaches the Wall-nut, the Chomper might have time to swallow before the second zombie can eat through the Wall-nut. You will find seeds for Repeater.

Level 1-9

Two flags again. You face both Pole Vaulters and Bucketheads. You will need to skip two plants. Peashooter should definitely be one of them (in fact, you probably won't use it again except in Conveyor Belt scenarios and Vasebreaker, since you now have its replacement). You should definitely take the new Repeater, which shoots two peas at a time. You should skip either one of the explosives, or Snow Peas (I'm usually trying not to use Cherry Bombs yet, so I skip them). You will find the first of many notes from the zombies, warning of an impending all-out attack.

Level 1-10

This is the first true Conveyor Belt scenario: plants randomly appear about every 4 seconds, moving right to left on the belt. You may pick them up and plant them immediately, or save them up and let them accumulate on the left end of the belt. As in 1-5, the belt will hold ten plants. You will face plain zombies, Coneheads, Bucketheads, and Pole Vaulters. The plants you will receive are: Peashooters, Repeaters, Snow Peas, Cherry Bombs, Potato Mines, Wall-nuts, and Chompers. Get at least one Snow Pea and one or two Wall-nuts in each lane; use Potato Mines and Chompers to pick off the early zombies and to defend behind Wall-nuts. Save Cherry Bombs for large groups of zombies; make sure you have a few left for the Final Wave. You may be able to get the Explodonator achievement by blowing up a group of 10 or more zombies with a single Cherry Bomb. You will find seeds for Puff-shroom.

Silver and Gold -- Night Scenarios

Level 2-1 is the first of ten Night levels, and money starts to appear sometimes when you kill a zombie. Initially you will only see Silver coins worth $10; click these quickly when they appear, as they disappear after about six seconds. Eventually (usually starting in level 2-5 or 2-6, but sometimes as early as 2-2) you will see Gold coins worth $50, and later (usually starting somewhere between 2-8 and 2-10) Blue diamonds worth $1,000. You want to accumulate $750 as quickly as possible in order, so that Crazy Dave will sell you "something really neat-o", which turns out to be a seventh seed slot. You should be able to do this before you start level 2-4, since you will get a $50 bonus for every lawnmower unused at the end of each level starting with 2-1.

In Night levels, sunlight no longer falls from the sky, and you have to generate all of your sunlight from plants. You can use Sunflowers, or choose the cheaper Sun-shrooms (a special kind of mushroom which generates sunlight), which appear after level 2-1. These only generate 15 units of Sun at a time when they are first planted, but after they swell to full size, they generate 25 units just like regular Sunflowers. There doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference in efficiency between Sunflowers and Sun-shrooms. Sun-shrooms give a little bit more Sun at the very beginning of a scenario, but Sunflowers eventually close that slight gap. Sunflowers are preferable if you intend to upgrade later in the same scenario to Twin Sunflowers (which you don't have yet), but this is rarely useful in Adventure scenarios.

Various kinds of mushrooms are introduced; you will need to use lots of Puff-shrooms, which don't take any sunlight to create, and recharge quickly. These are good for attacking the standard zombies which come out early, until you have accumulated enough sunlight for the more powerful plants. (The first level I failed on my first time through the game was level 2-4, after I forgot to choose Puff-shrooms). A lone Puff-shroom can kill a single zombie before the zombie crosses the Puff-shroom's three-square range, but you will need more in each lane when the zombies start coming in waves. The Night levels are also complicated by gravestones which appear in your yard -- zombies will come out of these in the Final Wave if they have not been destroyed by Grave Buster plants (the only plant which can be placed in a gravestone square; these appear at the end of level 2-3). You want to get at least three Puff-shrooms in each lane as soon as possible, while you build up Sun and gradually crush graves.

The second time through the adventure, you should choose Sun-shrooms (unless Crazy Dave gives you Sunflowers), Puff-shrooms, and Grave Busters in all levels. Magnet-shrooms are a good choice for every level except 2-1 and 2-8 (in every other level you meet some or all of Bucketheads, Screen Doors, and Footballs). Fume-shrooms are a good choice for early levels with Screen Doors (2-3, 2-4); for later levels where the zombies are stronger, they take up a valuable slot and are not powerful enough. Melon-pults are valuable in 2-2 (a long scenario) and from 2-6 onward. Tall-nuts are a useful choice for every level from 2-2 onward (to stop Pole Vaulters, protect Magnets, and slow down the heavier zombies), except perhaps 2-8. Hypno-shrooms and Cherry Bombs are useful in the later levels (2-6 through 2-9) where you face Football and/or Dancer zombies, though in 2-9 you might prefer the more powerful Doom-shrooms to Cherry Bombs.

Level 2-1

Four graves appear at the start of the level (anywhere in columns 7-9), and you cannot destroy these yet. But 2-1 is a short and easy level, and you face only plain and Newspaper zombies. A Newspaper zombie carries a newspaper; after it receives eight hits, it drops the paper and start moving at more than twice normal speed. Choose Sunflowers, Puff-shrooms, Wall-nuts, Cherry Bombs, and Chompers. For your last slot I'd suggest choosing Snow Peas, although 2-1 is so short that you won't get them into play much. Potato Mines are not especially useful in Night scenarios, since you can't afford to plant them early when you normally want to plant Mines, because Sun is at a premium at night. Plant Sunflowers and Puff-shrooms as quickly as possible, trying to get at least three Puff-shrooms in each lane, to hold off the initial slow wave of zombies. Collect Silver coins whenever they appear. Once you have enough Sun accumulated, try to place Wall-nuts to the immediate left of any graves, if possible before the Final Wave begins. Save a Cherry Bomb to place in the center of the largest group of graves, and leave that spot open so you can plant the Cherry Bomb right after the four zombies emerge from their graves during the Final Wave. You will find seeds for Sun-shroom.

If you are playing on Nintendo DS, this is the easiest level to get the Photosensitive achievement. Plant Puff-shrooms as quickly as possible, and eventually one Wall-nut in the lane with the most graves.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Sun-shrooms, Puff-shrooms, Grave Busters, and Scaredy-shrooms. Anything else is overkill; I usually take as many of the rest of the mushrooms as possible. If you did not get it the first time through the Adventure, this is a good place to try for No Fungus Among Us.

Night defense

Typical defensive arrangement in early Night levels. The empty spot in the top lane is being saved for a Cherry Bomb which will destroy three of the four zombies which emerge from the graves during the Final Wave.


Level 2-2

Use the Sun-shroom instead of the Sunflower, and otherwise the same plants as 2-1 (Snow Peas are very useful now). The Coneheads and Bucketheads appear again, and the scenario is longer; once again there are 4 graves at the start. You will need to use Chompers, Cherry Bombs, or Wall-nuts and Snow Peas to stop the Bucketheads. You should have time to plant plenty of Snow Peas; eventually you should dig up and replace every Puff-shroom, filling the lawn with Snow Peas, Chompers, and Wall-nuts. You will find seeds for Fume-shroom. It is possible by the end of the level to have at least $750, and if you do, Crazy Dave will offer to sell you a 7th seed slot for $750. Buy it.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Sun-shrooms, Puff-shrooms, Grave Busters, Magnet-shrooms, Melon-pults, and Tall-nuts. Add Hypno-shrooms, Cherry Bombs or Ice-shrooms if you still have a slot left.

Level 2-3

This is another short scenario, but now you face Screen Door zombies (along with plain and Conehead zombies, and 4 graves), so you will want to select and use Fume-shrooms, along with Sun-shroom, Puff, Cherry, Wall-nut, and Chomper (if you have seven slots, take Snow Pea also). Fume-shrooms shoot toxic purple fumes over a slightly longer distance than Puff-shrooms, and the fumes affect every zombie in range, not just the first one they hit. The fumes also penetrate screen doors, killing Screen Door zombies much more quickly (they are as tough as Bucketheads against normal peashooters and Puff-shrooms). Start to plant Fume-shrooms when the Screen Doors start to appear, or sooner if you have accumulated enough Sun; dig up Puff-shrooms if necessary to make room. It's better to plant Fume-shrooms towards the back (columns 3, 4, and 5) and use Puff-shrooms in front of them as cannon fodder. Use Wall-nuts to block graves, slow down the stronger zombies, and protect lanes containing Fume-shrooms. Use Cherry Bombs as needed for groups of zombies, but try to arrange to have one recharged (and enough Sun saved up) before the Final Wave. You will find seeds for Grave Buster. By the end of the level, if you didn't already buy the 7th seed slot after 2-2, you should have around $900 or so, and you should buy it from Crazy Dave now.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Sun-shrooms, Puff-shrooms, Grave Busters, Fume-shrooms, Magnet-shrooms, and Tall-nuts. Add Hypno-shrooms or Ice-shrooms if you still have a slot left.

Level 2-4

This level starts with seven graves, which can now appear anywhere in the four rightmost columns. You will face Pole Vaulting zombies again (along with plain, Conehead, and Screen Door zombies). You still don't really have any strong weapons (Squash or Tall-nuts) to handle the Pole Vaulters yet. Again we can use the trick of throwing anything right in front of them (Puff-shrooms are ideal since they're cheap; even Sun-shrooms can be used in a pinch), as soon as possible, to make them vault, then attack them with whatever you have once they're walking. You can also blow them up immediately with Cherry Bombs if you can afford the Sun. A double wall of Wall-nuts, or Wall-nuts with Chompers behind them, is once again effective in stopping Pole Vaulters.

Select Grave Busters as one of your plants. You should also be able to select the same plants as 2-3 (except Snow Pea, if you already had seven slots). Once you have planted eight or nine Sun-shrooms, you should have enough Sun accumulated to start planting Grave Busters to crush graves (plant them directly in the grave squares). I would usually suggest starting with graves at the far right of lanes, in order to get rid of these before the flow of zombies gets too heavy (since zombies will eat a Grave Buster before it can finish its job, if they reach it too quickly). But if you have a lane with three or more graves in it, you probably need to start there to give you enough room to plant Puff-shrooms. You should have plenty of time to destroy all seven graves, but I would suggest eliminating as many as possible before starting to plant anything else besides Sun-shrooms and Puffs.

After level 2-4, you find the Suburban Almanac, which is one of the two help files in the game. This is an index of every kind of plant and zombie, with a short description of each, though it only shows the ones you have seen so far (or are about to see in the upcoming level). At this point the Almanac has 12 plants and 7 zombies. New ones are added automatically.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Sun-shrooms, Puff-shrooms, Grave Busters, Fume-shrooms, Magnet-shrooms, and Tall-nuts. Add Squash or Cherry Bombs if you still have a slot left (they can be useful to deal with Pole Vaulters which break through early).

Level 2-5

Crazy Dave returns to introduce the fifth Night level, which is once again a variety level, in this case Whack-a-Zombie. This is exactly what it sounds like: you use a wooden mallet to smash zombies which pop up randomly from gravestones (there are 9 graves at the start). You get Sun at random (three balls of 25 appear occasionally when you smash a zombie), but only three plants: Potato Mines (try to plant these at the far left of each row), Grave Busters (you can destroy graves with these, though more will pop up irregularly, anywhere in the six rightmost columns), and Cherry Bombs. This is also an introduction to the Whack-a-Zombie Minigame, though in the full Minigame you will have Ice-shrooms instead of Cherry Bombs. This one lasts a little over 2-1/2 minutes, though you will have to smash over 100 zombies, including Coneheads (which start showing up at about the midway point, and take two whacks to destroy) and Bucketheads (which appear very late and take three whacks). If you don't crush any graves, there will be 16 at the end, and even a Cherry Bomb may not get you through the Final Wave without losing a lawnmower or two.

Once you start collecting Sun, start using Grave Busters to destroy graves. Start with the ones farthest to the left, but once you have cleared any out of columns 4 and 5, you should look to clear out entire lanes, trying to get down to four or five graves in two adjacent lanes. If you get down to this ideal, you can plant Potato Mines in both of those lanes. Cherry Bombs should be saved for the Final Wave (if you are inundated with zombies), but if you plan carefully and get a reasonable amount of Sun, you can win the level without needing a Cherry Bomb or losing any Mowers. If you don't get enough Sun, you might not ever have enough for a Cherry Bomb anyway.  You might be lucky and collect a $50 gold coin or a $1000 blue diamond (which may allow you to get the eighth seed slot a level early). You will find seeds for Hypno-shroom.

Even on the second time through the Adventure, 2-5 is still the short version with Cherry Bombs, and a maximum of 16 graves.

Level 2-6

This short level starts with seven graves anywhere in the four rightmost columns; try to destroy all of them before the Final Wave. I'd suggest taking the new Hypno-shroom, along with Sun-shrooms, Puffs, Grave Busters, Cherry Bombs, Wall-nuts, and Chompers (you don't face Screen Doors here, so the Fume-shroom is not too useful).  This level is too short for any of the Peashooters to be of much use.  The Hypno-shroom is a fun plant to use: it hypnotizes the first zombie which reaches and eats it, which turns around and advances towards its former allies, attempting to eat any zombies it encounters (which in turn will attempt to eat it). A hypnotized zombie is essentially a moving plant; it is impervious to any effects from plant attacks, and eventually either gets eaten or moves off the right side of the board. You will encounter Football zombies for the first time (along with plains and Coneheads), which can be handled with Hypno-shrooms, Chompers, or Cherry Bombs. Usually you will see one about mid-level, and one during the Final Wave. You will find seeds for Scaredy-shroom.

The second time through the Adventure, Football zombies are the only dangerous adversary. Choose Magnet-shrooms, Tall-nuts, Hypno-shrooms, and Cherry Bombs, and perhaps Melon-pults (though you won't have time to plant a lot of them).

Level 2-7

There are 11 graves during this scenario, anywhere in the five rightmost columns, so you will have to crush graves aggressively. Do not select the Scaredy-shroom; despite requiring only 25 Sun, it is too expensive to use for its modest power; you won't have time to plant enough to make it worth a slot. You will see both Football and Screen Door zombies, so you probably want to drop something (probably Wall-nut or Chomper) and choose Fume-shrooms instead. You will find seeds for Ice-shroom.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Magnet-shrooms, Tall-nuts, and Melon-pults. This is a long scenario and you may find yourself constantly low on Sun; if you can spare two slots you might try taking Sunflowers and Twin Sunflowers instead of Sun-shrooms.

Level 2-8

This is a short level, and since you don't face Screen Door zombies here, I would suggest replacing Fume-shrooms with Ice-shrooms. Ice-shrooms will freeze every zombie on the screen for about 4 seconds, after which they move slowly until the freezing effect wears off (around 16 more seconds). You are back to 7 graves in the four rightmost columns at the start, but you will encounter Dancing zombies and Backup Dancers for the first time (along with plains and Coneheads). You don't really need any shooters except Puff-shrooms; also choose Sun-shrooms, Grave Busters, Cherry Bombs, Ice-shrooms, Hypno-shrooms, and Chompers. When a Dancing Zombie is about to appear, music will play to announce its impending arrival. It will soon spawn four Backup Dancers, one ahead, one behind, and one in each adjacent lane alongside it. None of these zombies are particularly powerful, but are dangerous in quantity. Wall-nuts are not too useful here, since a Dancing zombie can come right up to one and then summon a Backup dancer beyond it. The Dancing zombie can continue to generate new Backups periodically, so destroy it as soon as possible with a Cherry Bomb or Chomper, freeze it with an Ice-shroom, or hypnotize it with a Hypno-shroom. A Hypno-shroom should be placed directly on the Dancer, or it might hypnotize the frontmost Backup by mistake. Hypnotizing a Dancing Zombie gets the Disco is Undead achievement in Steam, and turns the Dancer around, where it can summon new hypnotized Backup Dancers, and all of them will attack oncoming zombies. Any Backup Dancers which have already been summoned are not hypnotized if their Dancer is hypnotized. If you use a Cherry Bomb against a Dancer, wait until its Backup Dancers have fully emerged; if you blow it up too soon, you will destroy the Dancer, but the Backups will still emerge. It may not be possible to plant anything directly on the first Dancer if it stops on a square with a grave in it; you may need to use Ice-shroom or plant a Cherry Bomb in a lane next to it. You will find seeds for Doom-shroom.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Melon-pults, Hypno-shrooms, and Cherry Bombs. You can skip Tall-nuts if you're short of slots, since they don't stop the Backup Dancers, and you'll barely have enough time and Sun to plant even one Melon-pult and one Tall-nut in each lane.

Level 2-9

You will face 11 graves (in the five rightmost columns) and both Screen Door and Dancing zombies (along with the usual plains and Coneheads). Hypno-shrooms and Cherry Bombs are a must; you probably want to choose Ice-Shrooms or Doom-shrooms instead of Chompers. You might even drop Fume-shrooms (which are useful but not essential; you can stop Screen Doors with any of your explosives), and choose both Ice-shrooms and Doom-shrooms. Doom-shrooms immediately blow up every zombie in a 7x7 area, leaving a crater in the square where the Doom-shroom exploded (they are essentially extra-powerful Cherry Bombs). If you choose them, make sure you have one ready for the Final Wave. You will find a note from the zombies warning of another attack.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Melon-pults, Hypno-shrooms, Tall-nuts, and Cherry Bombs. If you have any slots left, choose Doom-shrooms. You may also consider Magnet-shrooms, but you will lose many of them to Backup Dancers, unless you also have room to choose Pumpkins to protect your Magnets (you probably won't have time to build a double wall of Tall-nuts if you're also planting Magnets).

Level 2-10

The last Night level is another Conveyor scenario; you will randomly receive plants about every 4 seconds: Ice-shrooms, Puff-shrooms, Doom-shrooms, Scaredy-shrooms, Hypno-shrooms, Fume-shrooms, and Grave Busters. There are 13 graves at start, in the six rightmost columns; on rare occasions you might not get enough Grave Busters to remove them all. Use Doom-shroom, Ice-shroom, and Hypno-shroom to stop Football zombies, Dancing zombies, and Screen Door zombies (and Fume-shrooms against Screen Doors as well).  If you want to remove a grave with zombies nearby, use a Doom-shroom to clear out the area around it, or freeze the zombies with Ice-shroom, so you can use the Grave Buster without it being eaten. Place Scaredy-shrooms in the far left columns of each lane, and Fumes and Puffs in the middle columns. Don't be shy about leaving craters; use Doom-shrooms as necessary, especially during the Final Wave. A fairly easy scenario. You will find seeds for Lily Pad.

Pool Scenarios


Level 3-1 begins the Pool levels, which are in daytime again, but take place in your backyard. This is six lanes wide instead of five; your swimming pool takes up the two middle lanes. Except for two Aquatic plants you will find later (Sea-shrooms and Tangle Kelp), nothing can be placed in the pool lanes unless a Lily Pad has been placed there first (most plants, except Potato Mines and Spikeweed, can be placed on Lily Pads). You'll need lots of Lily Pads; fortunately they are cheap and recharge quickly. You meet the first Aquatic zombies here, Ducky Tube zombies, which jump into the pool wearing inner tubes; they might be regular, Flag, Conehead, or Buckethead zombies. Aquatic zombies will eat Lily Pads, but they must eat whatever plants are on top of them first. The most powerful weapon in Pool levels, unfortunately, is the Cattail, an expensive powerup ($10,000) which won't be available until the middle of the Fog (4-) levels. In the daytime levels (1-Day, 3-Pool, and 5-Roof), you cannot use mushrooms, which sleep during the day, unless you have Coffee Beans (which don't appear until after level 5-3) to wake them up.

Dealing with the Inferi

One of the nastiest tricks in the zombie arsenal is a trio of Ducky Tube zombies which appear out of nowhere in the two pool lanes during the Final Wave of Pool and Fog scenarios. Presumably they rise up out of the water, as they are covered in seaweed, so I have taken to calling them Inferi. Like regular Ducky Tube zombies, they can be a mixture of regular, Conehead, and Buckethead zombies. They generally appear anywhere from columns 5 through 9, in one or both lanes, usually in a close group. They tend to cause lots of short term damage to whatever is there (for me, Cattails) -- even a regiment of eight Cattails usually doesn't destroy them until they have wiped out one or two Cattails. It's usually a good idea to have at least one of the likely slots empty except for a Lily Pad. Some of the ways of counteracting them include: protecting the Cattails with Pumpkins, removing one with Tangle Kelp, quick attacks with a Jalapeņo or Cherry Bomb (from an open Lily Pad or from the edge of the grass nearest the pool) which should take out two of the three at least, launching a Cob Cannon at the center of the most likely attack area (this depends on where your Tall-nuts are, as the Inferi tend to avoid them), or defending both sides of the pool with Gloom-shrooms. None of these methods are foolproof; luckily the Inferi attacks are rarely fatal the way attacks from Gargantuars, Imps, Jack-in-the-Boxes, Ladders, and Diggers can be. In levels 3-1, 3-2, 4-1, and 4-2 only two Inferi appear during the Final Wave. Inferi also show up in all of the Pool and Fog Minigames except for ZomBotany 2, and in every round of Survival: Pool, Survival: Fog and Survival: Endless.

The second time through the Adventure, you should choose Cattails (along with Sunflowers and Lily Pads) for every level. Provided you have the Rake, you do not need Potato Mine, since you can get a Cattail planted before the second zombie reaches your Sunflowers (you should have between 6 and 8 Sunflowers by the time you have enough Sun for a Cattail). You'll also want Tall-nuts and Melon-pults in most scenarios, since Cattails alone don't provide quite enough firepower.

Level 3-1

This is the only short Pool level. Because none of the mushrooms will work yet, you only have nine plants to choose from to fill your seven slots. You must have Sunflowers, Lily Pads, and Potato Mines. This is a short scenario, and you will not have time to plant too many shooters, so I suggest choosing only one (Snow Pea or Repeater), and choosing Chompers, Wall-nuts, and Cherry Bombs. You will face only regular and Conehead zombies, of both land and Ducky Tube varieties. Plant Sunflowers quickly in the first three columns, using the Mine strategy to kill the first couple of zombies until you have enough Sun to start planting a Snow Pea or Repeater in column 4, eventually getting at least one shooter in all six lanes (grass first). Start planting Lily Pads after you have enough Sun (at least 75, so that you can plant one and still have enough Sun for the next Sunflower), and fill the pool lanes with the same plants (including Sunflowers) as the other lanes. Use Wall-nuts backed up by Chompers to slow up Coneheads. You will find seeds for Squash.

If you have enough money (unlikely unless you already got a blue diamond or two somewhere), Crazy Dave will offer to sell you an eighth seed slot for $5,000. You should buy it.

Level 3-2

You will also face Buckethead, Football, and Newspaper zombies. The Squash is a very useful weapon, and you should choose it. The Squash can be placed ahead of time or used on the spot, to smash one or more zombies in the same square. It recharges more quickly than Potato Mine, so it can be used instead of (or in addition to) Potato Mine to kill early zombies while you build Sunflowers and accumulate Sun.
3-2 is also a good place to try for the Don't Pea in the Pool achievement: don't pick any shooters, and instead choose all of the available explosives; plant lots of Chompers and Wall-nuts, and use Squash, Mines, and Cherry Bombs to blow up the more powerful zombies.

Less than halfway through the level, you will see a wrapped present. Click on this to get a message that Minigames are unlocked. Football zombies usually only appear very late, right before and during the Final Wave. You will find seeds for Threepeater.

When the scenario is finished, the first three of the 20 Minigames are available to play. Unless you already have $5000 (or bought the 8th slot before 3-2), you probably want to play these right away to earn some more money (follow the link to get more details). You should then have more than enough money, and you should buy the 8th slot before you return to the Adventure and level 3-3.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Coffee Beans, Magnet-shrooms, Melon-pults, and Tall-nuts.

Level 3-3
Another short level, where you will face normal and Conehead zombies (including Ducky Tubes), and also a new type, Snorkel zombies. These can swim underwater, avoiding attacks until they encounter an empty or occupied Lily Pad. You should try out the Threepeater, which fires peas into three lanes at a time (the lane it is in and the two adjacent lanes). Presumably you have eight slots now, so you can take all of the other plants besides the other three shooters. Threepeaters are best in the second and fifth lanes, where they can combine to cover the whole backyard with a steady stream of peas. You can also try combining Threepeaters with a Snow Pea in each lane. If possible, fill at least three or four columns in the other four lanes with Sunflowers. Snorkels can be dealt with by blocking them with Wall-nuts on Lily Pads; you should do this in both pool lanes before the Snorkels arrive in the second half of the scenario. You will find seeds for Tangle Kelp.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Tall-nuts (use them to block the Snorkels in the pool lanes) and Melon-pults.

Level 3-4

This is the first long level, running for 3 flags. You face a wide array of zombies, both land and Aquatic, including Conehead, Buckethead, Pole Vaulter, Newspaper, and Snorkel. It's a good idea to choose the inexpensive Tangle Kelp, which acts similarly to Potato Mines, but can be placed directly in the pool lanes. It pulls the first zombie it encounters underwater, and can be placed ahead of time or in a pool square which already contains zombies (it seems to grab one at random if there are more than one). I'd also recommend taking Threepeater again and dropping Chomper. Try to build a double wall of Wall-nuts in as many lanes as possible, particularly the grass lanes (to stop Pole Vaulters).

You will find the Key to Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies Shop
, which is the trunk of his green station wagon. You'll eventually be able to buy all of the powerups here. You should immediately spend $1000 to buy the Pool Cleaners, which protect the two lanes of your pool just as lawnmowers protect grass lanes. [If you don't buy the Pool Cleaners, you have only lawnmowers guarding the two pool lanes, which fall into the water after running over one or two zombies nearby.] You can wait until after 3-5 to buy the Garden Rake; it isn't very useful in 3-5. The Shop is accessible at any time between levels from the main menu, or from the seed selection screen (lower right corner). Save the rest of your money toward the ninth seed slot, which costs $20,000.

The second time through the Adventure, choose Tall-nuts and Melon-pults. This is the first four-flag level.


Funneling

Garlic can be used to divert zombies from one lane into another. This is especially effective in Pool and Fog scenarios, where two Garlic can be used to push all of the land-based zombies into only two lanes. Below is an example from Level 3-4 (third time through), where two long lines of Spikerocks are placed in the grass lanes which the zombies are funneled into. The rightmost squares in each of those two lanes can be left open to allow Cherry Bomb attacks (also attacking clumps of zombies blocked by the Tall-nuts) and Jalapeņo attacks along the full line of Spikerocks. The outer lanes are lined with Starfruit which attack the zombies with sideways star attacks as they walk down the inside grass lanes (In Fog scenarios, they could also be lined with multiple Gloom-shrooms). The Garlic (doubled up to stop Pole Vaulters) will need to be replaced periodically. In scenarios with Zombonis, Spikeweed/Spikerocks are needed to protect Garlic, which would otherwise be run over. Funneling is also a useful way to get the Explodonator achievement.

Funneling

Level 3-5

Crazy Dave introduces the Conveyor scenario Big Trouble Little Zombie (which reappears later as a Minigame). Level 3-5
features tiny zombies,which are similar to their larger counterparts, but easier to kill:
regular and Snorkel minizombies take only 3 peas to kill, Conehead minizombies take 7, and Football minizombies take 20. You must defend against them with Peashooters, Lily Pads, Wall-nuts, and Cherry Bombs. The conveyor gives you a random plant about every 4 seconds. Use Wall-nuts in columns 5 and 6 to slow down and clump the zombies together; get Wall-nuts in the pool lanes as soon as possible to stop Snorkels.  [Putting Wall-nuts in the last three columns is usually unnecessary, as they will only get eaten too quickly, and you won't need room for more than four or five Peashooters per lane.] Use Cherry Bombs as needed to blow up large clusters of zombies (especially Football zombies and Snorkels). Place your Peashooters in the first four or five columns.  Level 3-5 is two flags long (about 3-1/2 minutes). You will find seeds for Jalapeņo.

The second time through the Adventure, BTLZ runs three flags (5 minutes or so), and seems identical to the later Minigame.  You may need to put Wall-nuts in column 7 if you get more than 12,

Return to Portal Combat if you came back here from BTLZ to see the description of 3-5.

Level 3-6

You should now buy the Garden Rake for $200; this is placed at the start of each level in the (random) lane where the first zombie will appear, and destroys that zombie automatically as soon as it steps on the rake. It lasts for three rounds of play, at which point you can buy another.  You can access the Shop from the button at the bottom right of the plant selection screen, even in the middle of the selection process, to see if you need a rake (it will show as Sold Out on the first Shop screen if you have a working rake; otherwise you can buy a new one) and return to exactly where you were.

You face Zombonis for the first time: usually one of them will arrive about mid-level and one during the Final Wave. These lay down a patch of ice and run over almost anything non-explosive in their path. They are followed by Zombie Bobsled Teams if the Zombonis lay down enough ice. Jalapeņos are a must here; they destroy every zombie in their lane and also melt the ice path instantly. The rest of the zombies are pretty light this time (regular, Conehead, and Ducky Tube). Wall-nuts are not needed for the lighter zombies and will get run over by Zombonis, so I would skip them as well as Tangle Kelp, and go with the other four explosives (Chompers, Squash, Potato Mines, and Cherry Bombs), all of which are effective against Zombonis, plus one shooter (your preference from Repeater, Threepeater, or Snow Pea). You will find seeds for Spikeweed.

The second time through the Adventure, you will see a lot more Zombonis. Spikeweed and Spikerock are highly recommended.

Level 3-7

This is another long level (three flags). Snorkels and Bucketheads return, and you will see at least three Zombonis this time; choose Spikeweed as well as Jalapeņo and Wall-nut (to stop the Snorkels). Plant Spikeweed at the far end of each grass lane as early as possible. Ordinary zombies are damaged slightly as they walk over Spikeweed, and the Spikeweed remains intact. Spikeweed will pop the tires of Zombonis (this will also eliminate the Spikeweed too) and prevent them from laying down any ice. Spikeweed works well directly in front of Wall-nuts (zombies eating the Wall-nut are attacked continuously by the Spikeweed).  You should also take Potato Mine or Squash, a shooter, and either Cherry Bomb or Chomper (Tangle Kelp probably isn't valuable enough to take up a slot). You will find seeds for Torchwood.

The second time through the Adventure, you should have Tall-nuts and Spikeweed/Spikerocks (these will stop all of the Zombonis). You don't need much firepower beyond Cattails, but Melon-pults will also be effective in such a long scenario. At least one explosive (Squash or Cherry Bomb) to deal with Bucketheads is useful; there aren't enough to make it worthwhile to use two slots for Coffee Bean and Magnet-shroom. 3-7 now runs about 12 minutes.

Level 3-8

You will face a new zombie, Dolphin Rider, which acts like a Pole Vaulter in the pool lanes, jumping over the first plant it reaches. The rest of the zombies are ordinary (regular, Conehead, and Ducky Tube), so Spikeweed, Cherry Bomb, and Jalapeņo are not needed. You have a powerful new weapon, Torchwood, a flaming stump which turns every pea which passes through it into a fireball which does double damage. If you have been using Snow Peas, switch over to Repeaters or Threepeaters here and choose Torchwood, Potato Mine, Squash, Wall-nut, and Tangle Kelp. Fill the pool lanes with as many Lily Pads and plants as possible to make Dolphin Rider zombies jump early, or eliminate the Dolphin Riders with Tangle Kelp, which can even reach backwards after the Dolphins jump over them. Since Dolphin Riders are your most dangerous adversaries here, try to build a double wall of Wall-nuts in the Pool lanes if you have time. You will find seeds for Tall-nut.

The second time through the Adventure, use Tall-nut to block Dolphin Riders in the pool lanes. Tangle Kelp is helpful too.

Level 3-9

This is the another long level, and the first level where the lack of slots is keenly felt: you only have eight slots, and could easily take 12 very useful plants. Tall-Nuts are one of your most powerful defensive weapons; they can't be leaped by Pole Vaulters or Dolphins (both of which you see in 3-9), and take twice as long to eat as Wall-nuts. Use them in the pool lanes to block Dolphin Rider zombies. Zombonis and Bucketheads both return too, so you should choose Spikeweed and
Jalapeņo again to help against Zombonis and try and prevent the Zombie Bobsled Teams. Once you have also taken Sunflowers, Lily Pads, and one shooter, you have only two slots left. You might want to skip Potato Mine and take the cheap and versatile Squash instead, and then take either Tangle Kelp, Cherry Bomb, or Chomper. (You might even risk skipping Jalapeņo, since you only see a few Zombonis.) Make sure you have a Rake. This is a long (four flag) level. You will find a note from the zombies saying that they are coming to your pool party.

On your second time through the Adventure, you should have seven slots open after Crazy Dave picks three plants for you. You need to take (if they're not among Crazy Dave's choices) Sunflower, Lily Pad, Cattail, Melon-pult, Tall-nut, Spikeweed, and Spikerock. If you have any slots left, you can fill them with Cherry Bomb, Squash, or Winter Melon.

Level 3-10

The last Pool level is a long (nearly 6 minutes) but fairly easy Conveyor scenario (normal 4 second interval) where you face plain zombies, Coneheads, Bucketheads, Ducky Tubes, Snorkels, Dolphin Riders, and Zombonis (and potentially Bobsleds). The conveyor provides you with a random mix of Jalapeņo, Spikeweed, Lily Pad, Threepeater, Torchwood, Tall-nut, Squash, and Tangle Kelp. Try to get Threepeaters in the first five or six columns, Torchwood across the 6th or 7th, Tall-nuts across the 7th or 8th, and Spikeweed across the grass lanes of the 8th or 9th. You should plant Threepeaters in the second and fifth lanes until the first five or six columns are full, then start to fill in the pool lanes. Save extra Spikeweed to replace ones destroyed by Zombonis, and use Squash and Jalapeņo to defend against Zombonis which break through in lanes without Spikeweed. Even Zombonis which break through won't get much further than the Torchwoods due to the heavy barrage of peas from all of your Threepeaters. If you run out of Spikeweed or Torchwood due to an onslaught of Zombonis, continue to defend the four inner lanes and let Zombonis and other zombies come down the two empty outer lanes, where the Threepeaters will eventually take care of most of them. You will find seeds for Sea-shroom.

Fog Scenarios

The Fog levels take place in your backyard at night, with a thick fog initially covering the rightmost three columns of the board (and part of the 4th). The only plant you have to help see through fog at the start of the first level is Torchwood, which can only dispel a small patch of fog (the square it is in and the four squares directly above, below, left, and right of it). For all Fog levels you should choose Sun-shroom, Puff-shroom, and Lily Pad (and Plantern and Tall-nut starting in 4-2).

On your second time through the Adventure, you should have seven slots open after Crazy Dave picks three plants for you. Six of these should be (if they're not among Dave's three choices) Sun-shroom, Puff-shroom, Lily Pad, Cattail, Plantern, and Tall-nut. You will have at least one slot open, which you can fill in the earlier levels with Cherry Bomb, Squash, or Magnet-shroom, depending on what you already have and what you are facing on that level. Eventually you will want more firepower, so you should choose Melon-pult if none of Crazy Dave's choices are shooters or catapults. In many levels from 4-3 onward (when you face Diggers or Balloons), it's a good idea to get your first Cattail planted as soon as possible, even before the first Plantern. You should have enough Sun once you have planted 12 Sun-shrooms, and the first one has swelled to full size. If you face Pogos and not Balloons (as in 4-8), however, the Plantern should go first. Planting multiple Planterns in longer scenarios is a good idea; if you depend on only one or two in the pool lanes you may lose them to Inferi during the Final Wave.

Level 4-1

Luckily, 4-1 is short and easy (most of the zombies are plain, Conehead, and Ducky Tube), and ends before anything particularly dangerous happens. 4-1 does introduce the Jack-in-the-Box zombie, which carries a music box which usually explodes halfway through the fourth repetition of "Pop Goes the Weasel". You'll see two or three of these, starting about mid-level. Use lots of Sun-shrooms and Puff-shrooms. You should also pick Torchwood, if you want to see through any of the fog (though that is not a necessity here). If you pick Torchwood, try to plant it in the eighth column in the second and/or fifth lanes, to dispel as much fog as possible; you might need Tall-nuts, Hypnos, or Squash to protect them. You might not be able to generate enough Sun to get two Torchwoods down. Since you don't have Cattails yet, it's a good idea to pick either Sea-shroom or Threepeater, so that you can cover the pool lanes without having to buy a Lily Pad for every Puff-shroom. Sea-shrooms are free and can be placed directly in the water without a Lily Pad, and work exactly like Puff-shrooms; their only disadvantage is that they recharge slowly (about 30 seconds). Squash and Tangle Kelp might be helpful here, although you only face plain and Conehead Ducky Tubes in the pool lanes. You will find seeds for Plantern.

It's possible, though difficult, to get No Fungus Among Us on this level. Take Sunflower, Lily Pad, Potato Mine, Squash, Peashooter, Wall-nut, Tangle Kelp, and either Chomper or Cherry Bomb. On Nintendo DS, you can instead get Photosensitive (choose Puff-shroom, Seashroom, and Tangle Kelp).

On your second time through the Adventure, Magnet-shroom is a good choice for your last slot, since Jack-in-the-Box is your most dangerous adversary.

Level 4-2

The fog increases, now covering 4-1/2 columns, which is standard for most of the remaining Fog levels (including the later Minigames and Survival mode). You face Football zombies again, in addition to the zombies from 4-1. In every remaining Fog level, you definitely want to choose the Plantern, which gives off light which dispels almost all of the fog in a 5x5 area. Once you have 50 units of Sun, place a Lily Pad in one of the pool lanes in the seventh column, and put a Plantern on it once you get back up to 50 again. Protect the Plantern with Hypno-shrooms (which are also very valuable against Football zombies), and eventually a Tall-nut. Tangle Kelp also help. You can later place Planterns in multiple lanes as insurance against breakthroughs. Two planterns, one above and one below the pool, should be enough for you to see everything -- use Tall-Nuts to protect them too. You will find seeds for Cactus.

On your second time through the Adventure, choose Magnet-shroom again, to stop Jack-in-the-Box and Football zombies.

Level 4-3

You will see the first Balloon Zombies, which float over everything, but it's a short level and you'll probably only see two or three of them, one fairly early and one or two during the Final Wave. Balloons can be popped by a Cactus in the same lane (or a Cattail in any pool lane once you have that valuable powerup). It's advisable to choose Cactus in every Fog level which contains Balloons (until you can buy Cattails); the program will warn you at the end of the seed selection process if you have not chosen any anti-Balloon plants (Cactus, Blover, or Cattails) and give you a chance to re-pick. You will also want Cactus to help protect your Pool lanes, since you may not be able to spare a seed slot for Sea-shroom or Threepeater. The only other way to destroy Balloons in 4-3 is to blow them up with Jalapeņo or Cherry Bomb (I'd choose one or both of these too, along with Tangle Kelp if you still have a slot open). The rest of the zombies are merely plains, Coneheads, and Ducky Tubes. The trickiest part of this level is to build up enough Sun early to get a Plantern down quickly so you can see where the first Balloon is coming from, and still have enough Sun to plant a Cactus quickly. You will find seeds for Blover.

This is actually a very tricky level the second time through the Adventure: if you use Cattails against the Balloons, you will still barely have time to get a Cattail down before the first balloon arrives -- and there are more Balloons the second time through. It is a good idea to hold off putting a Plantern in the pool until you can get your first Cattail planted. At least one or two of your Cattails should be well to the right, in column 5 or 6: Cattails are more likely to shoot down Balloons quickly (and prevent the Balloon zombie from dropping behind your wall of Tall-nuts, possibly attacking Planterns) the farther forward you plant them. Jalapeņo and Cherry Bomb are good choices for your last seed slot or two, as you may need one to destroy an early Balloon.  You can also try choosing both Sun-shroom and Sunflower to generate lots of Sun early.

Level 4-4

The Blover is a three-leaf clover which spins rapidly when planted, producing a gust of wind which temporarily dispels all of the fog as well as blowing away any Balloon zombies. The Blover disappears after one use. The Blover is not a necessity if you use Planterns and Cactus effectively, but you might still want to choose it as a backup -- this is one of the hardest Adventure levels, and an easy one to mess up. Except for Balloons, you face mostly less dangerous zombies (regular, Conehead, and Ducky Tube), but the Dolphin Riders also return here, so you definitely want Tall-Nuts again to stop them. You'll face lots of Balloons and you'll eventually need a Cactus in every lane. You should always have at least one explosive (Squash, Jalapeņo, Cherry Bomb, or Hypno-shroom) in case your defense is not perfect. You can pick two of these if you don't pick Blover. An oddball alternate tactic to try is to use lots of Blovers and forgo Cactus and Planterns entirely (this is more effective against the Balloons than the fog, since you can put a Plantern in the pool, protected by a Tall-nut, for less Sun than two Blovers). I'd suggest Threepeaters if you try this.

You find Crazy Dave's magic Taco, and he gives you a Blue diamond worth $1,000 for it. Gloom-shroom and Cattails are now for sale in Twiddydinkies. Buy the Cattails for $10,000 immediately, if you have enough money. If you're a little short of money after Level 4-5, play one of the three Minigames to reach $10,000: you will want the Cattails before you start 4-6. You can, of course, play the three Minigames (and Puzzles after 4-6) as many times as you want, and in theory could make thousands of dollars and buy all of the upgrades and extra slots now, but I would regard this as gamesmanship and contrary to the spirit of Plants vs. Zombies.

Level 4-5 -- Introducing Vasebreaker

After buying the magic Taco, Crazy Dave returns to introduce Vasebreaker, a three-phase puzzle game without fog. You are presented initially with three columns of (mostly) brown vases, which you break to randomly reveal either zombies or plants. The plants may be put anywhere to defend against the zombies. This is an easy introduction to one of the two series of Puzzles, though you have lawnmowers to save you here and none in the full Vasebreaker puzzles. The 3-column phase is extremely easy: you have 5 Squash and 5 Peashooters to defend against a Buckethead and 4 plain zombies. Get a Peashooter and a Squash into each lane if possible; make sure you get a Squash in front of the Buckethead (otherwise you will lose a mower). The Garden Rake will kill one zombie if you have it, but if you don't have one, wait until 4-6 to buy a fresh Rake, since a Rake will be used on any and all of the 3 phases until its three uses run out. All of the vases are brown. This phase is so easy, in fact, that you would have to try hard to lose: you can even click all 15 vases in rapid succession, and still have time to crush all five zombies with Squash, without even bothering to plant Peashooters. The 4-column phase has 5 Snow Peas, 4 Peashooters, and 4 Squash against a Football, Buckethead, and 5 plain zombies. Two of the vases (randomly placed) are green, and always contain plants (often Squash). Save these until you encounter the Football or Buckethead zombie. The 5-column phase has 5 Snow Peas, 5 Peashooters, and 5 Hypno-shrooms against a Jack-in-the-Box, a Dancer, 2 Bucketheads, and 6 plain zombies. Three of the vases are green. Try to hypnotize the Dancer and the Bucketheads; you will sometimes not be able to do so, and you will be saved by a mower if a Buckethead or mob of Dancers gets through. You will find seeds for Split Pea.

Level 4-6

This is a short level, in which most of the zombies are plain, Conehead, and Ducky Tube. You'll also encounter two or three Digger zombies, which will tunnel under your defenses in the grass lanes. If they reach the far left end of their lane, they emerge from underground, turn right, and start eating plants (probably Sun-shrooms). You have no Magnet-shrooms yet to stop them by stealing their equipment before they start digging. One way to stop Diggers (in general) is with Potato Mines right behind a wall of Tall-nuts, but this takes either very careful planning or good luck (in guessing which lanes the Diggers will come through), and you won't have time to do much in this level (nor are the Potato Mines much use otherwise in Fog levels, since you have Puffs). Cherry Bombs or Jalapeņos can stop some of the Diggers too, but you might not have enough Sun or room to plant them. You can attack Diggers when they emerge with Hypno-shroom or Squash, but you probably have enough seed slots for only one of those, and you're still probably going to lose a few Sun-shrooms anyway. Hypnotizing Diggers is a very effective tactic, since they have a long way to go and lots of time to attack zombies coming the other way. Cattails in your pool lane will also help defend against Diggers when they emerge (the farther left your Cattails are, the more likely they are to shoot at Diggers, rather than zombies advancing from the right).

The new plant, Split Pea, shoots in both directions: one pea at a time forward and two at a time backward. I don't recommend taking it. As always you need Sun-shroom, Puff-shroom, Lily Pad, Plantern, and Tall-nut. Don't forget that you also want Cattails for the four remaining regular levels of Fog, leaving only two slots. I'd also suggest Hypno-shroom (or Squash) and either Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo.

About halfway through 4-6, Puzzle Mode is unlocked, giving you access to the first Puzzle (and the second and third after you win the previous ones) in each series of 10. You will find seeds for Starfruit. If you want to play the first three levels of each Puzzle Mode now, jump ahead to the descriptions of Vasebreaker and I, Zombie.

The second time through the Adventure, use Magnet-shrooms to stop as many Diggers as possible. Plant your first Cattail as quickly as possible. Jalapeņo is a useful choice; you probably need one to stop the first Digger before you can get Magnet-shrooms planted. If you have room, Cherry Bombs also help. Puff-shrooms and Cattails should provide enough firepower to get by.

Level 4-7

The fog becomes still thicker, increasing to 5-1/2 columns. Strangely, this extra-thick fog is only found in the last three non-conveyor levels of Fog, and not in either of the Survival: Fog scenarios. I would not recommend choosing the new plant, Starfruit, which shoots stars in five directions, but stick with the same selection as in 4-6. You will encounter a couple more Diggers here, as well as Buckethead and Jack-in-the-Box. Get a Cattail down as quickly as possible after placing the first Plantern, even before protecting the Plantern with a Hypno-shroom or Tall-nut. Try to have both of your explosives recharged and available when the Final Wave starts, to handle the Inferi and the rest of the FW zombies. You will find seeds for Pumpkin.

The second time through, Magnet-shrooms are a must. Melon-pults help too, since Cattails are barely enough firepower. Plant your first Cattail as soon as possible.

Level 4-8

Pumpkins are a very useful defensive plant, but you probably don't have enough slots for them yet. This is a short level, with mostly light zombies (regular, Conehead, and Ducky Tube). For the first time, you'll see a couple of Pogo zombies (one mid-level and one in the Final Wave), which are very dangerous since you can't see them through the thick fog and they jump over almost everything except Tall-nuts and Squash, both of which are a must for this level. You don't have Magnets yet to take away their pogo sticks, so you'll need to use Tall-nuts to block them or Squash to stop them (after a Pogo leaps over it, a Squash will jump backwards to smash it). Get a Plantern set up as quickly as you can; it might be more effective to put two of them in grass lanes (instead of the pool) and protect them with Tall-nuts, so that the Tall-nuts also do double duty blocking Pogos.  Jalapeņos are effective against Pogos too, since you can play them anywhere in the Pogo's lane. You will find seeds for Magnet-shroom.

The second time through, choose Squash and Tall-nuts, plus Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo if you have slots left. You won't see enough Pogos to make Magnet-shrooms useful, but you'll want to plant Plantern before Cattail anyway so you can see the first Pogo as quickly as possible.

Level 4-9

You will face a number of Buckethead, Pogo, and Balloon zombies, as well as plain, Conehead, and Ducky Tube zombies. Magnet-shrooms are worthwhile here, as a cluster in the pool lanes behind a couple of Tall-nuts do a good job of neutralizing Bucketheads and Pogos. You find another note from the zombies.

The second time through, Magnet-shrooms are very helpful. Plant your first Cattail as soon as possible to stop the Balloons and defend your pool lanes. If you have a seed slot left, this is a good level to try using Imitater Tall-nuts -- try to build a double wall of Tall-nuts in every lane.

Level 4-10

As always, the set of 10 levels ends with a Conveyor Belt. The setting this time is a thunderstorm at night. There is no fog now, but it is pitch-black and you can only see for less than a second every 4-5 seconds when a lightning flash illuminates the sky. A silly and random scenario. Sometimes you will lose mowers early due to insufficient usable plants (in one game I had 9 Sea-shrooms in the first dozen or so plants). The Blover is virtually useless, since there's no fog, Balloon zombies are rare, and you normally have plenty of Cactuses. You will normally face regular zombies, Coneheads, Bucketheads, Ducky Tubes, Jack-in-the-Boxes, Balloons, Pogos, and Diggers. The plants on the conveyor can be Cactus, Pumpkin, Lily Pad, Starfruit, Magnet-shroom, Split Pea, Blover, and Sea-shroom. Put at least two Cacti in the far left of every lane if you can, and jam as many Starfruit as you can into the middle columns of the grass lanes, to set up a crossfire over the whole lawn. Use Pumpkins to protect Magnets in the pool lanes and the forwardmost Starfruit in grass lanes. You will find seeds for Cabbage-pult.

In the second time through the Adventure, you will see the secret zombie for the first time in 4-10, about mid-level (he even appears in the preview). Unlike the earlier 10th (conveyor) levels, this lasts a flag longer the second time through.

Up on the Housetop -- The Roof Levels

Level 5-1 begins the Roof levels. It's daytime again, so sun will fall from the sky and you will also need Sunflowers. Zombies are now trying to get in through your chimney. The rooftop is the hardest of the five environments, because you cannot use some of your best weapons: Cattails, Spikeweed, and Spikerock. The Roof is also angled, and the regular shooters (Peashooter, Repeater, Cactus, etc.) will only reach one square forward if they're placed in the four leftmost columns, so don't bother choosing them (you would need to plant them well to the right). Instead you'll need to use catapult weapons (Cabbage-pults in the earlier levels, Kernel-pults later, Melon-pults in 5-9). You cannot plant anything on the roof unless there is a Flower Pot there, and you don't even have seeds for them until level 5-2. Luckily 5-1 is a short and easy level and starts with five columns of Pots already planted. Flower Pots are exactly like Lily Pads: they are cheap and recharge quickly, and you'll need a steady supply. [Strangely enough, Flower Pots are also plants, and zombies will eat them after they eat whatever is planted in them.]   Shooters which shoot backwards (Starfruit and Split Pea) will continue to hit zombies moving down the slope of the roof until they reach the third column, at which point peas and stars will fly over the zombies' heads.

You will also face, even in the very first level, a dangerous new hazard, Bungee zombies, which drop from the sky and can land anywhere in your defenses. You only have a brief warning (a cry from the zombies and targets marking where they are about to drop), and no reliable defense until level 5-7. Bungees come in two varieties. I call the first Stealing Bungees (these show up in the level preview), which show a bullseye target, then drop down and steal a plant, and disappear. You can destroy them with a well-placed Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo if you do it quickly. The second kind, which I call Dropping Bungees (they do not show up in the preview), show a shadow where they are about to land, then drop down and start eating plants as normal. These might be regular, Conehead, or Buckethead zombies, depending on the kinds of zombies in the preview. Two of the most useful plants, Umbrella Leaves and Melon-pults, are not found until the later Roof levels.

On your second time through the Adventure, you should always choose Sunflower, Flower Pot, and Melon-pult if they are not among the three plants preselected by Crazy Dave. Umbrella Leaf should be chosen, if you have space, at least in levels with Catapults or Stealing Bungees. Since Melon-pults take a while to build up, you need either Potato Mine or Squash (to help with early zombies while you build up Sunflowers and Sun) or Cabbage-pult (to get something in each lane until you can plant Melon-pults). You should also usually choose Tall-nut, though you may want or need to skip it in some levels (particularly 5-6, where the zombies are light and Tall-nut will not help against Catapult zombies). If Crazy Dave gives you a Kernel-pult in the later levels (5-7 through 5-9), you might try and find a slot for Cob Cannon, especially in 5-8 and 5-9 where you face Gargantuars.

Level 5-1

You can only plant in the first five columns. You will face regular and Conehead zombies and both kinds of Bungees. You can't do much about Bungees yet except to replant what they steal, unless you can time a Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo perfectly. You need Sunflowers and Cabbage-pults (which hurl cabbages which cause twice the damage of a pea, killing a plain zombie with five hits). I would suggest Potato Mines, Cherry Bombs, Jalapeņos, Squash, Tall-nuts, and Pumpkins. Plant as many Sunflowers and Cabbage as you can; you might need to use a Mine or two early until you have enough Sun. Put a row of Tall-nuts and eventually Pumpkins in the front (column 5). You will probably have to plant three rows of attacking plants eventually, digging up Sunflowers in the third column and replacing them with Cabbage-pults. If a Stealing Zombie targets an empty Flower Pot, you should instantly drop a plant there; it is better to lose a plant than to permanently lose a Flower Pot (this advice only applies to 5-1, as Flower Pots are easy to replace starting in 5-2). You will find seeds for Flower Pot.

The second time through, you can use Flower Pot, Umbrella Leaf, and Melon-pult. Tall-nut is not necessary.

Crazy Dave has new items for sale. You should buy Roof Cleaners immediately for $3,000 -- they work just like Lawnmowers and Pool Cleaners (as usual, make sure you have a Rake too). You'll start making some of the cost back immediately, as you get $50 per unused Roof Cleaner at the end of each Roof level (up to $250 per level), just as with mowers and Pool Cleaners. Even the early Roof levels might be difficult without Roof Cleaners; without them, my first time ever playing through the game, it took six tries to win level 5-4. Spikerocks and Gold Magnets are also available, but Spikerocks are useless on the Roof (they will be very useful when you play Bobsled Bonanza and start playing Survival levels), and Gold Magnets are a luxury -- you can buy these both later when you have plenty of money.

Level 5-2

You only have four columns of Flower Pots at the beginning, but you can now buy new ones, and you will be able to plant anywhere on the Roof once you have first placed a Flower Pot. You face Pole Vaulters and Bucketheads as well as all of the 5-1 zombies. You'll need to drop one of your explosives to open up a seed slot for Flower Pots. You can afford to skip Potato Mine, since the Garden Rake can handle the first zombie while you plant enough Sunflowers to get a Cabbage-pult in the second zombie's lane, and Squash can handle any other early zombies until you can get a Cabbage-pult in each lane. You will find seeds for Kernel-pult.

Level 5-2 is a good place to try for the Grounded achievement. Choose Repeater instead of Cabbage-pult, and try to build a wall of Tall-nuts in column 8 with two or three columns of Repeaters behind them, starting in column 5 just past the flat part of the roof.

An interesting challenge in 5-2 (and later levels) is to win using only the first four columns (or three in later levels), without planting any new Pots (I call this Close Quarters). Pumpkins will help a lot.


Level 5-3

The remainder of the Roof scenarios have three columns of Pots preplanted. There are no Stealing Bungees in this short level (some Dropping Bungees appear in the Final Wave). You will face regular and Conehead zombies, and a new hazard, Ladder zombies, which place a ladder on the first Wall-nut, Tall-nut, or Pumpkin they reach, allowing trailing zombies to climb the ladder and bypass your defensive wall.
You should choose the new Kernel-pult, which shoots kernels of corn at the zombies. It also randomly flings a large pat of butter which temporarily halts a zombie (like an Ice-Shroom, but only affecting the zombie whose head it lands on). Plant a mix of Cabbage-pults and Kernel-pults in each lane. You should also choose Cherry Bomb, Squash, and Jalapeņo (skipping Potato Mine as in 5-2) to deal with the Ladders (you'll see perhaps four or five, starting on the mid-level flag) and help with the Coneheads. A ladder can be destroyed by a Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo, or by digging up the plant it is placed on. (Another oddball strategy is not to choose any defensive plants, relying on firepower alone to stop the zombies, but giving the Ladders nothing to climb over). You will find seeds for Coffee Bean.

The second time through, use Coffee Bean and Magnet-shroom to stop the Ladder zombies.

Level 5-4

The Pogo zombies return, along with more Ladders and Footballs (plus the usual plain and Conehead). This is a long level, and one of the hardest of all the Adventure levels. I think it is definitely worth taking up two of your eight seed slots for the Coffee Bean and Magnet-shroom, since magnets can disarm all of the three most dangerous adversaries. Take Cabbage-pult, but not Kernel-pult. You need Squash and Tall-nuts to stop the Pogos, and something to deal with the Ladders, so I would skip the Potato Mine again and choose Cherry Bombs. Make sure you have a Rake when the level starts.

Use Squash early to deal with the first few zombies while you build up Sunflowers and Sun. Place at least three Magnet-shrooms (awakened with Coffee Beans of course) in column 7, directly behind a wall of Tall-nuts in column 8 (and more Tall-nuts in column 9 if you can). Try to build a deep arsenal of cabbages, at least three in each lane. You will get a couple of Dropping Bungees (plain and/or Conehead) during the Final Wave, and inevitably some will land behind your defensive wall (use Squash or Cherry Bombs to finish them off, or reblock them with Tall-nuts). Another idea is to put a column of Cabbage-pults at the very back to deal with Dropping Bungees (you can plant Sunflowers there initially and later replace them with Cabbages).

The second time through, I suggest Tall-nut, Coffee Bean, Magnet-shroom, and both Cabbage and Melon. Umbrella Leaf is not useful enough in this level to take up a slot. If Crazy Dave gives you nothing useful, you will also have to forgo Potato Mine and Squash. Use Cabbage and Tall-nuts to stop the early zombies, gradually building up Melon-pults and putting Magnet-shrooms behind your defensive wall of Tall-nuts. If you have a slot to spare, you might even add Imitater Sunflower, as shortage of Sun may be an issue.

You will find a Watering Can
, which unlocks the Zen Garden, a mode of play where you raise, water, and fertilize plants in order to make money -- Daytime plants can be sold for $8,000 each, and Mushrooms and Aquatic plants for $10,000 each, when fully grown. Crazy Dave will give you two Marigold sprouts (even though these don't appear as a regular plant until 5-8) and a bag of Fertilizer for free, to start your Garden. Three other Garden accessories (Golden Watering Can, Phonograph, and Gardening Glove) are also for sale, along with Bug Spray, but you don't need these yet. Keep saving money for a ninth seed slot.

Level 5-4

The end of level 5-4, showing a defensive formation of Tall-nuts, Magnet-shrooms, and Cabbage-pults. The Watering Can has been found.


Level 5-5

In this frantic but not too difficult Conveyor scenario, you start with three empty columns of Flower Pots, and face a barrage of Dropping Bungees (regular, Conehead, Buckethead, and Ladder). The conveyor belt will provide you with Chompers, Flower Pots, Pumpkins, and Cherry Bombs (so there is essentially no difference between any of the Bungees, except the Ladders). Put several Chompers in each lane (starting from the rightmost Pots) and protect them with Pumpkins. Use extra Pots to slowly push your defensive line forward, but keep a Pot or two in reserve in case you need to place a critical Cherry Bomb. Use Cherry Bombs to defend against Bungees dropping behind your defenses (you can often wipe out two or three with a well placed Cherry Bomb, since the left-hand end of each row usually contains empty Pots. Also use them to wipe out large groups of zombies already on the ground, and to destroy Ladder zombies and ladders they've already placed (to prevent breakthroughs). If there is a group of ladders (already placed) close together, it is worth digging up a Chomper to make room to plant a Cherry Bomb to destroy two or three ladders, especially if some zombies are nearby too. Sometimes the supply of Cherry Bombs dries up towards the end, so try to save a few for the Final Wave. Since the Bungees drop randomly, the Rake might miss the first few Bungees, until one drops to the right of the Rake in the same lane. You will find seeds for Garlic.

Level 5-5 will sometimes give you an opportunity to get the Explodonator achievement by blowing up 10 zombies with a single Cherry Bomb.

Level 5-6

Some players swear by Garlic, and have carefully designed schemes using Garlic and Gloom-shrooms (an upgrade plant), but I would not select Garlic here. You will face plain and Conehead zombies (including some Dropping Bungees late in the scenario), and also a new hazard, the Catapult zombie. It drives a mobile catapult which normally stops in the eighth column, and then starts flinging basketballs towards your back columns, probably causing some damage to Sunflowers. Put your Tall-nuts no further forward than column 7 (otherwise the catapults will run them over). Take Cabbage-pult and skip Kernel-pult; attack the catapults with Squash, Cherry Bombs, Jalapeņos, and Chompers. Make sure you have a rake, and use Squash if necessary to stop early zombies while you build up Sunflowers. You will find seeds for Umbrella Leaf.

The second time through, make sure you have Umbrella Leaf, Melon-pult, and several explosives, including Squash; you can skip Tall-nut if you wish. You probably need a few Cabbage to hold off the early zombies until you have enough Sun to start planting Melons.  Provided you have four Umbrella Leaves properly placed to cover the first six columns, the Catapult zombies, which begin to arrive late in the second flag, cannot cause any real damage.

Level 5-7

Another long level. You now have Umbrella Leaves, and should choose them on all of the remaining Roof levels. The Umbrella Leaf defends against Bungees dropping anywhere in a 3x3 square with the Umbrella Leaf at the center. Umbrellas also defend against the basketballs hurled by Catapult zombies. Four well-placed Umbrellas can defend six columns of your defense (see screenshot below). You will face regular, Conehead, Ladder, Bungee (both kinds), and lots of Catapult zombies. A typical plant selection is also shown in the screenshot (it's wise to have both Cherry Bombs and Jalapeņos to deal with the Ladders; Squash instead of Potato Mine is fine too). You will find seeds for Marigold.

Umbrella Defense

Rooftop defense: Bungees and Catapults cannot touch the first six columns of the Roof, which are protected by four Umbrella Leaves.


The second time through, choose Umbrella Leaf, either Potato Mine or Squash, and either Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo (Ladders are one of your main concerns), Cabbage, and Melon; you can skip Tall-nut if you wish. Fill in any remaining slots with explosives (or Cob Cannon if you already have Kernel-pult). Build as many Melon-pults as you can. Chompers behind Tall-nuts can also be effective against Ladders.

Level 5-8

Most of the zombies in this level are either plain zombies or Coneheads (and Dropping Bungees), but you will also face Gargantuars for the first time, usually one mid-level and one during the Final Wave. These are too strong to be killed by a single explosion. You will need to hit them twice, and after they are hit once and badly injured, they will fling the Imp they carry a random distance forward. An effective tactic is to hit them with a Squash or Cherry Bomb, and then plant a Jalapeņo to finish them off and also destroy the Imp. I would not choose Tall-nuts this time, since they are not needed against the weaker zombies and ineffective against Gargantuars, which will simply smash them. Umbrella Leaf isn't especially useful either, since you don't see Catapults and only see Bungees during the Final Wave.  Instead, take both Cabbage-pult and Kernel-pult (which can help slow down Gargantuars as well as the Coneheads), plus Squash (easier to use than Potato Mine against Gargantuar), Cherry Bomb, and Jalapeņo. You will find seeds for Melon-pult.

The second time through the Adventure, you will see four or five Gargantuars. In addition to Sunflower, Flower Pot, and Melon-pult, make sure you have Squash, Cherry Bomb and Jalapeņo (you can skip Tall-nut, and perhaps Umbrella Leaf and Potato Mine too, since you can use Squash in the early stage instead of Potato Mine). If you have seed slots left, you might take Winter Melon, Cabbage, or perhaps Imitater Sunflower or Twin Sunflower (or Cob Cannon if you already have Kernel-pult).

Level 5-9

Another long (four flag) level, where you're facing almost the full arsenal of Roof zombies: regular, Conehead, Buckethead, Stealing and Dropping Bungees, Jack-in-the-Box, Ladder, Catapult, and Gargantuar. You should choose the new Melon-pult, a powerful attacker which flings watermelons at zombies (it takes only three of these to kill a normal zombie), and the Tall-nut. It takes some time to build up Melons, so you might want Cabbage-pults too, along with Squash, Umbrella Leaves, and either Cherry Bombs or Jalapeņos. You will usually only see one Gargantuar, during the Final Wave. You will find a note from Dr. Edgar Zomboss, warning you to surrender your house (and brains) or else.

In the second time through the Adventure, if you have enough seed slots, it might again be worth using two slots for Coffee Bean and Magnet-shroom, if two of the three plants Crazy Dave picks are useful (or if he gives you a Coffee Bean). Umbrella Leaf is a must, along with Squash and Jalapeņo at least. You will get torn up by Gargantuars if you try to get by with Jalapeņo as your only explosive.

Level 5-10

The grand finale of the Adventure is another conveyor belt scenario, defending your rooftop at night against the giant mechanical robot of Dr. Edgar Zomboss. The robot is capable of generating a steady flow of not only zombies, but giant fireballs and iceballs, and can also throw down Recreational Vehicles which smash an area 2 lanes wide and 3 columns deep. Fireballs and iceballs, if not stopped, will destroy every plant in the lane they are in, as well as the Roof Cleaner protecting that lane, but they cannot eat brains: a second fireball or iceball in the same lane will not cause you to lose directly. A fireball can be stopped by planting an Ice-shroom anywhere; an iceball can be stopped by planting a Jalapeņo in the same lane. The preview area is empty, but you face a wide assortment of zombies including Gargantuars (and Imps), Catapults, Zombonis, Footballs, Pole Vaults, Pogos, and Stealing Bungees. This scenario, as well as the later minigame Dr. Zomboss's Revenge, is mainly a matter of survival -- keep planting Cabbage-pults, Kernel-pults, and Melon-pults as fast as you get them. Save up Ice-shrooms to use against fireballs or large numbers of zombies (freezing them temporarily), and Jalapeņos to use against iceballs and big targets like Zombonis and Gargantuars. You might want to keep a few Flower Pots in reserve to fix RV or other heavy damage in your back columns. Eventually, if you persist, you should bring down the giant robot in a shower of sparks.

I lost the first time I played 5-10 (also Dr. Zomboss's Revenge), but won the next few times, before I realized that destroying the smaller zombies dropped by Dr. Zomboss does not help you get through the scenario. The green progress meter in the lower right corner only measures damage to the giant robot, which occurs only when it bends its head down before placing iceballs and fireballs. When the robot bends down, it allows all of the catapult plants to damage it slightly when they fire; heavier damage can be inflicted by a Jalapeņo. Freezing the robot with an Ice-shroom leaves it down for longer and allows the catapults to attack it for longer too, and it can be hit with multiple Jalapeņo attacks when it is frozen. But after I learned this, I actually did worse (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing), because I overused the Ice-shrooms and Jalapeņos and left myself vulnerable to iceballs and fireballs, and lost many more lawnmowers. It seems to take somewhere around 16 Jalapeņo attacks (while the robot is bent down) to destroy the robot and win the level.

Achievements


The first version of Plants vs. Zombies on Steam featured 12 special Achievement awards, some trivial, some silly, and some very difficult. Steam's site gives the percentage of players who have obtained each award; these percentages are quite low and must include every player who's even tried the game once on Steam. PopCap eventually expanded the list to 20 achievements (dropping one, for some reason, and adding 9 new ones), and added them to their Game of the Year edition released in July of 2010. Steam's version has 21, as Disco is Undead remains in the Steam version. By the time you finish the Adventure the first time, you should have no fewer than five and as many as ten of the 20 achievements completed (I got 9 the first time I played Game of the Year with a new character). A few of the achievements have longer or different names on Steam and some of the newer platforms.

I must say that I didn't think the Steam version added much. The tiny status boxes which pop up in the lower right hand corner of your screen when you reach one of the 12 achievements behaved erratically: sometimes they didn't pop up at all, sometimes they appeared in the corner of the game window, sometimes in the corner of the monitor screen. There isn't any way to see a summary of your achievements within the game; you need to login to the Steam website. I also can't see a way to have it keep separate stats for different identities. There are also some issues with the online data storage (Steam Cloud), which has caused players to lose data -- I lost two complete characters that had finished all 21 achievements.  Worse yet, once you have all of the achievements, I can't see how to start fresh with a new character -- when I add a new character all of the achievements are already there.

If you had an existing character before upgrading to the Game of the Year edition, only five of the achievements will be recognized from any earlier play: Home Lawn Security, Nobel Peas Prize, Morticulturalist, Zombologist, and Towering Wisdom. I'm not sure why this is, though it seems to be a conscious decision by the designers, as data for Immortal, China Shop, Better Off Dead, and Beyond the Grave are clearly available for any saved characters. In any event, you will have to reach the 10/15/20 goals again for I, Zombie Endless, Vasebreaker Endless, and Survival: Endless even if you already got them, in addition to beating all of the minigames again. You can pick up Spudow!, Mustache, and Penny Pincher almost anywhere, and Roll Some Heads in either of the Wall-nut Bowling Minigames.

Some of the achievements (including some new ones I suggest) are enjoyable alternate ways to play in particular environments: even after you have earned an achievement, it can be fun to try to do it again at a harder level. This applies particularly to Good Morning in Day, No Fungus Among Us in Night or Fog, Pool's Closed in Pool or Fog, Grounded or Close Quarters on Roof, and Cemetery Ridge in Night.   If Crazy Dave gives you a plant you don't want to use, this will not keep you from getting the achievement as long as you don't plant it.

In order of difficulty (as I see it) the standard 20 achievements are:

(Ask Me About) Mustache Mode: Enable Mustache Mode by typing the word mustache on your keyboard at any time. Typing it again turns mustaches off again. [Silly. There are also lots of other Easter eggs which do other things to the zombies (and lawnmowers). Try: future, trickedout, sukhbir, daisies, dance, pinata. I would have dropped this one instead of Disco is Undead.]

Spudow!: Blow up a zombie using a Potato Mine. [Trivial: You should get this in level 1-6, right after you find seeds for the Mine; it's hard to see how you can get very far in Adventure mode without doing this. Using mines to destroy early zombies while building up sunflowers is one of the fundamental tactics of the game. One of only three or four achievements, along with Mustache, and possibly Explodonator and Sunny Days, which you can probably get during the one-hour free trial.]

Disco is Undead: Hypnotize the lead Dancer zombie with a Hypno-shroom. [Easy. Good places to do this are Level 2-8, 2-9, or the third phase of Level 4-5, or during the Third Vase level of Vasebreaker. Found in Steam, where it was originally called Walk This Way; omitted from the Popcap Game of the Year expansion. Called Thrilling the Zombies on iPad.]

Penny Pincher: Collect 30 coins in a row on one level without letting any disappear. [Not very difficult, requiring only concentration. I first got it on Level 2-10 the first time through the Adventure. You may get it as early as Level 2-5.]

Don't Pea in the Pool: Win a Pool level without using any Peashooters (including Repeaters, Snow Peas, Split Peas, and Gatlings). [Too easy. You should be able to get it the first time through the Adventure in Level 3-2. Use Potato Mines, Squash, Chompers, Wall-nuts, and Cherry Bombs, without any shooters at all. You can even do it on 3-1, without Squash. Pick Snow Peas but don't use them (I've done it without even using Cherry Bombs, killing all of the zombies with Chompers and Potato Mines). I don't think it would be especially hard to go through the entire 50 levels of the Adventure, the second time through, without firing a single pea, except in the conveyor levels 1-10, 3-10, and 4-10.]

Explodonator: Blow up 10 zombies with a single Cherry Bomb. [The description says full-sized zombies, but in the PC Steam and Game of the Year versions at least, it can be done in Level 3-5 or Big Trouble Little Zombie. A good place to actually get 10 full-sized zombies at once is in Level 5-5, the bungee Roof scenario. Funneling techniques can be used to get it elsewhere. I've also gotten it on Level 1-7 and 1-10 the first time through.]

Popcorn Party: Defeat 2 Gargantuars with Cob Cannons in a single level. [Fairly easy in Survival (Hard) or Endless. You might be able to get it in a later Roof level of the Adventure, the second time through, if you have enough seed slots for a Cob Cannon. The Cob Cannon isn't available until you finish the Adventure for the first time.]

Sunny Days: Get 8000 Sun on a single level. [Actually the game allows you to accumulate 8000 during a set of 5 rounds of any Survival scenario. It's relatively easy to do in any Survival (Hard) scenario using Twin Sunflowers, but there is a silly trick enabling you to earn this achievement in even an average Adventure level, by building a long line of Tall-nuts in front of the last zombie, while not shooting anything at it. I've done it as early as Level 1-8 on the first time through the Adventure. It can also be done in ZomBotany 2 without any tricks, using a very aggressive Maximum Sun strategy.]

Roll Some Heads: Knock down 5 zombies with ricochets from a single Wall-nut. [Moderately hard; probably easier in Wall-nut Bowling 2 than in Wall-nut Bowling. Since you can play the Wall-Nut Bowling Minigame after finishing Level 3-2, you have a good chance of getting Roll Some Heads before you finish the Adventure.  I don't know if you can do it in Level 1-5 before coins appear; I have never done so.]

Home Lawn Security: Complete Adventure mode, winning the Silver Sunflower Trophy.

Grounded: Win a Roof level without using any catapult plants. [Hard; you need to build a wall of Tall-nuts in column 7 or 8 (or even 9) and get Shooters behind them in columns 5 and 6 at least. You may be able to get this the first time through the Adventure, in Level 5-2 (or even 5-1!). I've managed to get it in the normal Survival: Roof, and also in Pogo Party.  Snow Peas may be very effective in column 5, with Repeaters in front of them.  Multiple Repeaters, amplified by Torchwood in column 7 or 8 and protected by Tall-nuts, can also work.]

Beyond the Grave: Beat all 20 Minigames. [Not too hard, and part of the requirement for the Gold Sunflower Trophy.]

Morticulturalist: Collect all 49 plants. [Costs $100,000 for all nine plant upgrades. Called Master of Morticulture on XBox.]

Nobel Peas Prize: Win the Gold Sunflower Trophy.

Zombologist: Discover the top secret zombie. Spoiler. [More challenging is to kill it. Called Cryptozombologist on Steam.]

Immortal: Reach 20 flags in Survival: Endless. You will actually receive the award at the beginning of flag 21. [Fairly hard; I lost a number of times at 19 before making 20 for the first time. It took a long time to get good enough to reach 20 consistently, but I gradually refined my setups and eventually got to 30. When I reached 30 for the first time, I had so much damage on the upper side of the lawn that I lost on the 31st flag to wave after wave of Pole Vaulting zombies. I have since gotten as far as 49, also reaching 45 once, 41 once, and 40 twice. Some players have gotten well up into the 200's. On the iPad and XBox versions you must survive 40 waves to get the Alive and Planting achievement.]

Towering Wisdom: Grow the Tree of Wisdom to 100 feet. [Not so much hard as time-consuming; this is likely the last of the 20 you will get -- just play long enough to earn enough money. It costs $250,000 in plant food alone. The easiest way to earn large amounts of money is to find and sell as many plants as possible from your Zen Gardens. Called Smarty Branches on XBox, and Cerebral Canopy in Nintendo DS.]

Better Off Dead: Reach a streak of 10 in I, Zombie: Endless. [Fairly difficult. It helps to accumulate a lot of Sun in the early levels. I've reached as high as 21 (by getting five Scaredy levels!), 18 four times, and 16 on two other occasions. Luck helps: getting a level with Scaredy-shrooms greatly increases your chances, though 10 can be done on occasion (with careful play) without a Scaredy level.]

China Shop: Reach a streak of 15 in Vasebreaker: Endless. [Difficult. It took a long time for me to get this one; I finally managed 16, and got there a number of times.  Eventually I improved
enough to get through level 15 a few times without using any Cherry Bombs (my best is 21 levels, accumulating 1025 Sun.  Unfortunately on that occasion I lost on level 22).  I have managed to get to 20 reasonably often and occasionally to 30 or beyond. My current record is 34 (twice).]

No Fungus Among Us: Win a Night or Fog level without planting any mushrooms. [Fairly hard; I got it on Fog Level 4-1 the first time through the adventure.]

You need to play as if it was Day or Pool. Make sure you have a rake. You are allowed to use Grave Busters (at Night), which are not mushrooms. Take Sunflowers, Potato Mines, Squash, Grave Busters, Wall-Nuts, Cabbage-pults, and Cherry Bombs (without Puff-shrooms, Magnet-shrooms, or other mushrooms). Get Sunflowers down as quickly as possible, using Potato Mines, Wall-nuts, and Squash to stop the early zombies while you slowly build up Sunflowers, until you have time to plant Cabbage-pults. Start crushing graves once you have Cabbage in all or most lanes. Aim eventually for three columns each of Sunflowers and Cabbage, with a Wall-nut at the front of each lane. Cabbage-pults and Peashooters are the best choices, since they are cheap and you can get one in each lane much more quickly than more expensive weapons; Kernel-pults may also be worth a try if you have a slot free. Similarly, Wall-nuts are preferable to Tall-nuts. This is an achievement where the cheaper plants can really shine. The earliest stage of a scenario is the hardest with No Fungus Among Us; it's not much harder to get the achievement in Survival: Night (Hard) than it is in 2-1 or 4-1. Once you have plenty of Sunflowers you can upgrade to stronger plants in the later flags of Survival.

Good Morning: Win a Day level using Coffee Beans and mushrooms only. [Very difficult; it requires careful timing of when to activate different plants.]

The easiest place to get Good Morning is in 1-1 or 1-2 the second time (or more) through the Adventure. Choose Coffee Beans, Sunshrooms, Puff Shrooms, Scaredy-shrooms, Ice-shrooms, Hypno-shrooms, and Doom-shrooms (if you have 10 slots). Make sure you have a rake. Plant a Sun-shroom and wake it up as soon as possible, then a second. Clog up every lane with (sleeping) Puff-shrooms, which you only need to slow down the approaching zombies; they'll all be eaten and you shouldn't bother to awaken any.  The first zombie should be killed by a rake.  The second should appear while you are waiting for enough Sun to awaken your second Sun-shroom.  As soon as you have two Sun-shrooms awake, plant a Scaredy-shroom in the second zombie's lane, as far left as possible, and wake it up as soon as possible (using falling Sun as well as Sun from your first two awake Sun-shrooms). Gradually get a Scaredy-shroom in each lane, one lane at a time as new zombies appear, still clogging with Puff-shrooms as needed. Plant and wake up more Sun-shrooms, one at a time, as soon as you can. You should be able to eventually build up five or six awake Sun-shrooms, and three columns of Scaredy-shrooms. You may need to plant and awaken an Ice-shroom or a Doom-Shroom if you start to get overwhelmed with too many zombies. Eventually your arsenal of Scaredy-shrooms will be big enough to handle all of the zombies.

The lower levels can be won with Sun-shrooms, Scaredy-shrooms, and Puff-shrooms only. If you are trying a level with Coneheads, you may need to use a Hypno-shroom on the first Conehead which appears, particularly if you don't have a Scaredy-shroom in its lane yet. It took me a lot of practice to be able to win consistently even on Level 1-1 or 1-2.  At the higher levels Imitater Puff-shrooms may be useful, though
I've done GM all the way through the Day levels without them.  Magnet-shrooms are useful in 1-8 and 1-9 to stop Bucketheads (skip either Ice-Shrooms or Doom-shrooms to make room).  I often play without Fume-shrooms, since you don't see Screen Doors, but you might try them, since they are more effective attacking larger groups of zombies starting at level 1-3 or so.   The levels with Pole Vault zombies are actually the hardest; you need a constant flow of Puff-shrooms placed to the far right.  Sun-shrooms and even Scaredy-shrooms may be needed to make the PV's jump.

It also may help to plant Sun-shrooms in the second (or even third) column and the first set of Scaredy-shrooms in the first column; this can give you a few extra critical seconds before zombies reach the Scaredy-shrooms (the Sun-shrooms may also act as cannon fodder in a pinch). You can also get Good Morning by completing the first flag of Survival: Day; you can use other plants on the later levels since you will already have the achievement. I eventually managed, after many tries, to finish all five flags without losing any mowers, using only mushrooms (and no Imitaters); see the screenshot below. It requires a mix of all of the mushroom plants: Fume-shrooms starting on the second flag to handle Screen Doors and waves of multiple zombies, Magnet-shrooms when the Football zombies start to appear (they also help with Bucketheads and Screen Doors), occasional Ice-shrooms to slow down all of the zombies, and Hypno-shrooms and Doom-shrooms to stop breakthroughs. I don't think it's possible in Survival: Day (Hard), since you have nothing except Doom-shrooms to stop Balloons, and not enough firepower to stop Gargantuars. I finished flag 7 by cheating and pretending that Blovers were mushrooms, which got me past the Balloons in 5/6. But I was overwhelmed on the 8th flag by waves of Pole Vaulters, Pogos, and Bucketheads, which stripped my defense and I lost just as the first Gargantuars appeared.  On another try I was lucky not to see too many of the stronger zombies, and made it through flag 8, but even there I was obliterated by Zombonis and Catapults (there's little defense against them, since you can't use Spikeweeds or Umbrella Leaves), and had already lost three mowers.  By the time flag 9 started I had little Sun or Sun-shrooms, and lost very quickly.

Good Morning -- Survival: Day

A win in Survival: Day played Good Morning style.

I don't think it's possible to get Good Morning on the Roof, even if you are allowed Flower Pots, since none of the Mushrooms shoot over the edge of the Roof. I have done it in the Pool on Level 3-1, but using Lily Pads (this would not count for the achievement).  Even more challenging is to do Survival: Pool using only mushrooms and Lily Pads.

Additional Achievements

These are available on some of the newer handheld versions like iPad, XBox Live Arcade, and Nintendo DS. I have not played any of these yet, so below are my best guesses based on the PC game.

20 Below: Immobilize 20 full-sized zombies with a single Ice-shroom. [Should be easy during the Final Wave of many Night and Fog scenarios; harder in Whack a Zombie (don't crush any graves).]

Blind Faith: Complete an extremely foggy level without using Planterns or Blovers. [I think you can only get this in Levels 4-7, 4-8, or 4-9. Not especially hard. Torchwood may help. On Nintendo DS it is called Nebulaphile, and you cannot disturb the Fog at all, even with Torchwood.]


Chill Out
: Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, you've one level to destroy three bobsleds, its Jalapeņo time! [You need to destroy them before the Bobsledders disembark. Easiest by far in Bobsled Bonanza. Most other scenarios (e.g. Level 3-6 first time through) don't have enough Zombonis to allow three Bobsleds to appear. Even in Survival, where you might get enough Bobsleds, you normally want to try to prevent Zombonis from making ice paths which would allow the Bobsleds to appear. I have managed it in 3-6 the second time through the Adventure. Even if you let the Zombonis run free (by not planting Spikeweeds), the Zombonis will not last long enough to lay long ice paths, and there will be very little time to attack with
Jalapeņos.]

Close Shave - Win any level after all 5 lawnmowers have been used (or 6: I assume Pool Cleaners count in all three lawnmower achievements). [Trivial in either version of Wall-Nut Bowling if you stop rolling after all of the Final Wave zombies have appeared; possible in other scenarios if you remove all of your shooters during the Final Wave.]

Defcorn 5: Build 5 Cob Cannons in a single level. [Should be easy during any Survival level or long Adventure levels.]

Down the Hole!: Dig your way to see the Chinese Zombies. [Trivial. Just keep scrolling down in the Achievements menu.]

Flower Power: Keep 10 Twin Sunflowers alive in a single level. [Easy during any reasonably long scenario.]


Last Mown Standing: Defeat the last zombie in a level with a lawn mower. [Relatively easy if you leave one lane undefended by shooters. Can be done by accident in Column Like You See 'Em and probably other scenarios, or intentionally in Whack a Zombie.  I've done it unwillingly in It's Raining Seeds with a Pool Cleaner.]


Lawn Mower Man: Kill 10 zombies with a single Lawn Mower. [Relatively easy in Column Like You See 'Em, either version of Wall-Nut Bowling, or Whack a Zombie, among others. You can probably get all three lawnmower achievements at the same time.]

Melon-y Lane
: Plant a Winter Melon on every lane. [Easy in any scenario at least two flags long, once you have the Winter Melon powerup.]

Monster Mash: Crush 5 zombies with a single Squash. [Easy if you hold up a large group with a Tall-Nut or Wall-nut/Pumpkin combo. Bobsled Bonanza is a good place to try for it.]


Nom Nom Nom: Win a level using only the Sunflower, Wall-nut, and Chomper. [Not too hard if you do it on Level 1-8 the first time through. Hard otherwise; I won at 1-2 the second time through, but lost three mowers. I'm not sure if you're allowed Imitater Wall-nuts or Chompers. I can't see how to do it anywhere the second time through (since all of the levels are at least two flags long) without either using Imitaters or losing mowers during the Final Wave.  It's not too hard to do if you use Tall-nuts instead of Wall-nuts.]

Photosensitive: Complete a Night level without collecting any Sun. [Found in Nintendo DS only. Ridiculously easy in 2-1 the first or second time through; just plant Puff-shrooms nonstop. I've also done it on 2-2 (the first, but not the second time) and 4-1 (first and second time -- Imitater Sea-shroom may help). You have enough Sun for one Wall-nut; I usually put it in front of the largest group of graves. In 2-2, I tried two Scaredy-shroom; I won, but lost all five mowers. In 4-1, use your 50 Sun for two Tangle Kelps; use them to stop Conehead Ducky Tubes, perhaps early, before you have built up enough Sea-shroom, after a Jack-in-the Box disaster which destroys some Sea-shrooms, or to stop an Inferi Conehead during the Final Wave.  4-2 is probably impossible because of Jack-in-the-Box and later Football zombies: one Magnet-shroom can't cover the whole backyard.]

Pool's Closed: Complete a pool level without using water plants. In selection scenarios, the game will remind you that you haven't chosen any water plants (unless Crazy Dave gives you some); just click that you're sure. [Relatively easy, at least in scenarios without Snorkels or Dolphin Riders. Using Threepeaters, Starfruit, and Cherry Bombs, I got as far as 3-7 without losing a Pool Cleaner. You probably need at least five Threepeaters per lane to stop Dolphin Riders. I finally managed to beat Level 3-8, without losing any Pool Cleaners, by using Threepeaters, Cob Cannons, and Ice-shrooms, and skipping Starfruit and Cherry Bombs (plant Ice-shrooms every time they become available, and activate one with a Coffee Bean when you hear the dolphin sound, until you have enough Threepeaters to stop Dolphins directly.  You many still need Ice-shrooms if you get more than one Dolphin at once in the same lane). I have won this way in Zombie Nimble, Zombie Quick, but so far have lost one or both Pool Cleaners to Dolphins despite covering the pool lanes with three or four Threepeaters per inner grass lane and lots of Starfruit. You can also win Pool's Closed in Bobsled Bonanza, ZomBotany 2 (both easy enough with Threepeaters), Last Stand (watch out for Dolphin Riders), It's Raining Seeds (provided you get enough Threepeaters and Starfruit), and Big Trouble, Little Zombie (much harder: if you find BTLZ too hard, or if your conveyor fills up, you can plant Lily Pads in the water but not put anything on them, though officially you wouldn't get the achievement this way.  I haven't had more than five Lily Pads: it seems that the conveyor stops giving them to you if you don't use them.) This is a much more interesting achievement than Don't Pea in the Pool, and would have been a better choice for the standard set of 20 PC achievements.]

Pyromaniac: Complete a level using only explosive plants to kill zombies. [This achievement doesn't count Squash or Ice-shroom as explosives. You can only attack zombies with Potato Mine, Cherry Bomb, Jalapeņo, Doom-shroom, and Cob Cannon (and you have to build a Cob-Cannon quickly in a zombie-less lane before the Kernel-pults can fire anything at zombies). I got this, along with Flower Power, the second time through 1-1, without Doom-Shroom or Cob Cannon, using the three simpler explosives along with a mix of Wall-Nuts (luckily Crazy Dave gave me those), Tall-Nuts, and Pumpkins.]

Second Life: Complete Adventure mode a second time. [You'll want to do this anyway to get some of the other Achievements.]



pvz2418

The 20 Below achievement in Whack a Zombie: 21 zombies frozen by one Ice-Shroom. No graves were crushed, allowing for the maximum 20 graves.


Other Suggested Challenges

Here are some original challenges you can try. You won't get an official award for any of these, of course.

Lose Level 1-2 the first time through (tutorial mode).
Win Level 1-5 (Wall-nut Bowling) without losing any lawnmowers or using any Explod-o-nuts.
Cemetery Ridge -- Win every Night Level (including 2-5 and 2-10) without using any Grave Busters.
In the Dark -- Win a Fog Level without using any water plants or fog dispellers. (Combines Blind Faith (at any amount of fog, but you're not allowed Torchwood either) and Pool's Closed).  I've also managed a few times to win Level 4-1 (and 4-2 once) without losing any mowers or Pool Cleaners, getting In the Dark and No Fungus Among Us simultaneously (the hardest task I've achieved so far).
Win Level 4-3 the first time through the Adventure without using Cactus.
Cole Slaw -- Win Level 5-1 with Sunflowers and Cabbage-pults only.   On higher levels you may also use Flower Pots, but except for level 5-6 I have not achieved this without losing mowers (I succeeded on 5-3 without losing mowers by using
Imitater Cabbage-pults).
Succotash -- Win Level 5-1 or higher with Sunflowers, Pots, and Kernel-pults.  (I have only won Level 5-4 by adding Cob Cannons.)

No Extra Flower Pots

Close Quarters -- Win Level 5-2 (or even higher Roof levels) without planting any extra Flower Pots.

Three plants


Crazy Dave Trio -- Win any adventure level using only the three plants Crazy Dave gives you.

Maginot Line-- Build a full wall of Tall-nuts in column 8 of Level 5-7 or one of the other Catapult scenarios.
Accumulate 9990 Sun.
Destroy a Bungee zombie with a Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo; destroy a Balloon zombie with a Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo. [Certainly takes more skill than Spudow!]
Win Wall-Nut Bowling without losing any lawnmowers, and getting at least one gold coin.
Easter Island -- Build a quintuple wall of Tall-nuts in every lane.
Win Bobsled Bonanza without using Jalapeņos, or without using Tall-nuts, or without using any shooters or catapults such as Cattails or Melon-pults.
Stonehenge -- Get eight simultaneous Spikerocks in Bobsled Bonanza.  The best I've ever managed legitimately is 10, though you could get more using the Sunny Days trick of not firing on the last zombie or two during the Final Wave.
Magnetic Personality -- Win Pogo Party without using Tall-nuts (this is very difficult; pictured on the first page -- it will be easier if you use Pumpkins.   For an additional challenge, do Grounded at the same time.)

Dead Zeppelin -- 5 Balloons

Aerial Assault -- Win Dead Zeppelin by eating all five brains with Balloon zombies.

Track Meet -- Win Me Smash! using only Pole Vaulting zombies.
Two Minute Waltz -- Win ZomBoogie in under 2 minutes.
Clean Sweep -- Eliminate every plant in All your brainz r belong to us.
Jackhammer -- Win Whack-a-Zombie without using Potato Mines or Ice-shrooms, and without losing any lawnmowers. (If you're simultaneously trying for 20 Below, you may use one Ice-shroom during the Final Wave.)
Win Column Like You See 'Em without using any Jalapeņos, and without losing any Roof Cleaners.
Win Seeing Stars using only Sunflowers and Starfruit.
Original Equipment -- Win all of the Survival (Hard) levels without using any upgraded plants (including Imitater); Fog and Roof are particularly difficult.  I've only made it through 19 flags in Survival: Endless.
Rake's Progress -- Kill the last zombie in a level with the Garden Rake.

With my original character, I have filled my Zen Gardens with every available plant, reached over 1200 feet with the Tree of Wisdom, collected the maximum amount of money, earned all 20 achievements, completed the Adventure 5 times, and achieved 35 on Vasebreaker: Endless, 16 on I, Zombie: Endless and 45 on Survival: Endless. The only goals left, beyond oddball stunts like those above, are to extend my best results on the Endlesses.

After the Adventure

Finishing level 5-10 completes the Adventure mode, and you win the Silver Sunflower Trophy (with a reward of three blue diamonds worth $3000). This will probably take between seven and ten hours of play. The program then plays an animated music video (sung by Laura Shigihara as the Sunflower) with the credits. Completing Adventure mode also unlocks three more Minigames (It's Raining Seeds, Beghouled, and Invisi-ghoul), the next Puzzle in each series (Chain Reaction and Totally Nuts), and the first three Survival Modes (easy versions of Day, Night, and Pool). You can tackle any of the three groups in any order (or interspersed), though I would suggest doing all of the Puzzles first, since they are quicker and will add to your bank account, particularly the I, Zombies which earn more than $1000 per puzzle solved. All of the remaining powerups (Winter Melon, Cob Cannon, Imitater, and Wall-Nut First Aid) also become available at Twiddydinkies, but your next purchase (assuming you already have eight slots and Cattails) should be the 9th seed slot for $20,000. You should be able to reach $20,000 by playing through the six remaining regular levels of both Puzzles (Vasebreaker and I, Zombie). The 9th slot will help particularly if you are going to tackle the early Survival modes and some of the Minigames. All of the Zen Gardens (Mushroom, Aquarium, and Tree of Wisdom) are also now available, along with all of the Gardening tools (except for the Wheelbarrow, which you can only buy after you purchase the Mushroom or Aquarium Garden, and Tree Food, which becomes available once you have the Tree of Wisdom).

Once you have nine slots, your next plant upgrade should probably be the Gatling Pea -- this can be planted over a Repeater to turn it from a double peashooter into a quadruple peashooter. This works well with Torchwood, which turns peas into fireballs which cause twice as much damage again -- so one Gatling Pea behind a Torchwood now shoots the equivalent of eight peas at a time, and can kill even a Screen Door or Buckethead zombie in just over eight bursts. Gatlings are quite useful when starting the Survival levels, particularly in Day scenarios, and also effective in Last Stand. Winter Melons, Gloom-shrooms, and Spikerocks are also very useful powerups. By the time you work through most or all of the Minigames and Puzzles, and perhaps the early Survival levels, you should have enough money to buy most of the important plant powerups (including Twin Sunflower and Wall-nut First Aid). Buying Cob Cannon and Imitater, and the 10th seed slot, will probably not be possible until almost the end of the Hard Survival levels. The main way of making the tens of thousands of dollars needed to buy the most expensive upgrades is to find free Zen Garden plants in the various scenarios, and grow and sell them in your Zen Garden.
In order to win the Gold Sunflower Trophy (and a reward of five diamonds), you must unlock and win all 20 Minigames, the 9 non-Endless levels of Vasebreaker and I, Zombie, and the 10 non-Endless levels of Survival Mode (an expanded version of the idea introduced in the Last Stand Minigame). This might take eight or ten more hours after getting the Silver Sunflower. Survival Mode works like ordinary Adventure scenarios, where you start with 25 Sun and no plants, and have to build up a powerful defense, but it resembles Last Stand in being a multi-phase battle. At the end of every phase, you are allowed to select a new set of plants, and any sun you have accumulated is saved. There are regular (survive six flags -- three long battles) and Hard (survive ten flags -- five long battles) levels of Survival in Day, Night, Pool, Fog, and Roof modes. There is also a Survival: Endless game in Pool mode.

Playing the Adventure again

You can (and should!) play the Adventure mode again, but only starting at the beginning: one of the game's few design drawbacks is that you cannot select an individual Adventure level to play; you must play them in sequence (the iPad and some of the other newer versions have a Quickplay option, allowing you to play selected levels after you finish the Adventure once). When you play Adventure mode the second (and subsequent) times, Crazy Dave will pick three plants for you on each level (three different ones at random, though most are potentially useful). You have available all of the plants you have found (and bought as powerups), which makes the early levels even easier (the first three Day levels are now the standard five lanes wide). Remember that most levels (except the first three and last -10 conveyors, and variety Levels 2-5 and 4-5) will be one flag longer the second time through. Playing Adventure mode a second time allows you to try out different combinations of plants, especially trying to make the best use of the ones Dave picks for you. If you fail a level and retry, you will get the same three plants, unless you save and exit the program (another slight bug in my view: my second time through the Adventure I lost four times on 5-9 when Dave chose Peashooter, Pumpkin, and Garlic. I quit after four tries, and never got a chance to finish the job, as he switched to Starfruit, Cherry Bomb, and Squash when I tried again a few hours later). You will also get the same arrangement of gravestones in Night scenarios if you restart a level without exiting the program. Specific tips for individual levels (particularly for seed selection) are highlighted in yellow. Remember to try and use what Dave gives you: if any of his choices are an adequate substitute for what you would normally pick, it may free up a slot for something else (a typical example is to use Sunflowers if Dave gives them to you in a Night or Fog scenario, skipping Sun-shrooms). If Dave gives you a plant that can be upgraded, consider also taking the upgrade (e.g. Cob Cannons if he gives you Kernel-pults). Playing the Adventure a second time will also let you get at least two achievements impossible the first time (more on the handheld versions).

The Minigames

There are 20 of these, which take place in six different environments:
Day: ZomBotany, Wall-nut Bowling, Slot Machine, Seeing Stars, Wall-nut Bowling 2
Night: Beghouled, Beghouled Twist, Portal Combat, Whack-a-Zombie
Pool: Big Trouble Little Zombie, Bobsled Bonanza, Zombie Nimble Zombie Quick, Last Stand, ZomBotany 2
Fog: It's Raining Seeds, Invisi-ghoul
Roof: Column Like You See 'Em, Pogo Party, Dr. Zomboss's Revenge
Aquarium Garden: Zombiquarium

ZomBotany

ZomBotany
is a strange and difficult Day scenario where the zombies have somehow been crossed with plants (here the zombies have Peashooters and Wall-nuts heads); the Peashooter/zombies shoot peas back at you when they are walking forward, and the Wall-nut/zombies take a lot of damage; both of them try to eat any plants they encounter just like normal zombies. I got slaughtered the first time I tried this. You'll need lots of Sunflowers, and Wall-nuts (or better, Tall-Nuts) to protect them (Pumpkins help too). It's a good idea to fill almost one whole lane with sunflowers, using Mines to destroy early zombies in lanes with no other plants in them (peas fired by zombies fly harmlessly past both Mines -- armed or not -- and lawnmowers). A normal plant like a Sunflower or Chomper will be destroyed by 16 hits from Peashooter/zombies; a Peashooter/zombie is destroyed by 10 peas, just like a normal zombie. Threepeaters are a good choice of weapon (put as many as possible in lanes 2 and 4, protected by Wall-nuts), since they can fire at Peashooter/zombies which cannot always fire back. It's also possible to win without any shooters at all, just lots of Sunflowers and Tall-nuts (and Wall-nuts too), and an endless stream of Potato Mines, Squash, Chompers, Cherry Bombs, and Jalapeņos. Later, when you have bought some of the upgrades, the Maximum Sun strategy (Sunflowers, Imitater Sunflowers, and Twin Sunflowers) can work well here too.

Wall-nut Bowling

Wall-Nut Bowling
is a much longer and harder version of level 1-5, which might take several tries to win (three for me the first time, though I've improved a lot with practice). In addition to regular and Conehead zombies, you will face Bucketheads, which take three hits from plain Wall-nuts, and Pole Vaulting Zombies, which jump over the first Wall-nut they encounter (they then walk as usual and are destroyed by a single hit). Try to save up as many Explode-o-nuts as possible and use them to destroy large groups of zombies. Once you have lost one or more lawnmowers, concentrate on knocking out any zombies in those lanes and let the remaining lawnmowers cover their own lanes. You earn coins for every zombie hit by a ricochet: the first ricochet earns one $10 coin, the second with the same Wall-nut gets two $10 coins, the third gets three, and the fourth, fifth, and sixth each get a $50 gold coin (I don't think there's room for more than six ricochets from the same Wall-nut). Spend the time while wall-nuts are rolling collecting coins. You will get the Roll Some Heads achievement the first time you earn a gold coin for at least four ricochets.  This is one of the hardest scenarios for me to win without losing any mowers.

Slot Machine

Slot Machine
is a relatively easy game where you play a slot machine (at 25 Sun per pull), winning plants and extra sunlight whenever you get two or three of a kind. You face only plain, Conehead, and Buckethead zombies; the slot machine will give you Sun, Sunflowers, Peashooters, Snow Peas, and Wall-nuts (and occasionally Diamonds). Pull the slot machine continuously (every 4 or 5 seconds). Place Peashooters, Snow Peas, and Sunflowers, as you win them, to the far left, and Wall-nuts in the middle columns (preferably 6 and 7). Sometimes a zombie can break through early if you don't get enough defenders early, but the lawnmowers should protect you long enough to accumulate 1000 Sun. Two of a kind gets you a plant or 100 Sun, three of a kind wins three plants or 500 Sun.  You don't have a shovel in this game, so don't place Wall-nuts too far to the left, since you may fill the whole area behind them if you get a lot of Sunflowers.

The other Minigames cannot be unlocked until you finish Adventure mode; after that, winning each Minigame unlocks a new one, until all 20 are available.

Return to 3-3 if you came here after 3-2.

It's Raining Seeds

It's Raining Seeds
is a very long Fog (and rain) scenario, somewhat similar to the conveyor scenarios, but plants fall randomly from the sky and you cannot save them for very long: they disappear a few seconds after reaching the bottom of the screen. You will receive a variety of plants, which might include every non-upgrade plant except Sunflower, Sun-shroom, Grave Buster, Flower Pot, Coffee Bean, and Umbrella Leaf. You will face Football, Buckethead, Conehead, Newspaper, Jack-in-the-Box, Screen Door, Bungee, and Ducky Tube zombies. It helps to get an early Plantern (or a Torchwood in a pinch) in column 7, preferably in one of the pool lanes if you have already placed a Lily Pad there. Protect your Planterns with Tall-nuts, Wall-nuts, Garlic, Chompers, Hypno-shrooms, or whatever else is provided. Try to get a shooter or catapult at the far left end of every lane (especially the grass lanes) as soon as possible. This is not an especially hard Minigame, but sometimes you will lose a lawnmower or two early if you cannot get enough defenders in every row. If you do lose any mowers, make sure to heavily protect those lanes (Garlic is a good idea if you get any) to prevent a second breakthrough (this applies to Invisi-ghoul too).

Beghouled, Beghouled Twist, and Insaniquarium

The remainder of the Minigames are a mixture of easy and hard games, including zombified versions of other PopCap games (I think they missed the boat, though, by not including PotatoMinesweeper). Beghouled and Beghouled Twist are versions of Bejeweled and Bejeweled Twist, where zombies attack a 5x8 array of plants, while you try to make groups in Match-3 fashion by either swaps or clockwise twists (Beghouled Twist does not allow twists which do not make matches, and with a small playing field and no counterclockwise twists, it frankly doesn't work as well as Bejeweled Twist). In both games you try to make 75 matches before any zombies get through. Matching three in a row earns you a ball worth 25 Sun; four in a row is worth two balls and five in a row (very difficult) is worth five balls.  With sufficient Sun you can upgrade Peashooters to Repeaters (do this first: I think it's easier to get every upgrade before the game ends if you do the more expensive upgrades first), Wall-Nuts to Tall-Nuts, and Puff-Shrooms to Fume-Shrooms. You can also repair craters caused by plants being eaten, and buy a fresh array of plants (though the game will do this for free after a few seconds if you run completely out of moves). The zombies you face are regular, Conehead, Buckethead, Football, Screen Door, and Newspaper. Neither game is exceptionally hard, nor is Zombiquarium, a one-shot version of George Fan's earlier PopCap game Insaniquarium (feed brains to Snorkel Zombies in a giant aquarium, keeping them alive long enough to collect 1000 Sun). Reportedly, Plants vs. Zombies was originally conceived as a sequel to Insaniquarium.

Invisi-ghoul

In Invisi-ghoul, a Fog conveyor scenario without fog (it takes place in your backyard at night), you cannot see the attacking zombies; you can only tell where they are by seeing where your plants' attacks stop (careful: butter from Kernel-Pults appears in the row above where the zombie is), by planting an Ice-Shroom (you will briefly see ice patches where there are zombies on land), or by seeing where your plants are being attacked (plants, including Wall-nuts and Lily Pads, light up briefly when a zombie starts to eat them). You get a random plant about every 8 seconds; your weapons are Peashooter, Wall-nut, Ice-shroom, Squash, Lily Pad, and Kernel-pult; these are pretty weak for facing a variety of unknown foes (the preview is blank, of course) including Bucketheads, Dolphin Riders, Jack-in-the-Boxes, and Zombonis. You have no Magnet-shrooms and nothing to directly stop Zombonis except Squash. Pay close attention to the sounds of Dolphin Riders and Bucketheads. It is easy to lose Mowers or Pool Cleaners early, since zombies will be undetectable in rows empty of plants. Start planting from the far left, and slowly build towards the center, though Wall-nuts should be placed much farther forward. One of the hardest Minigames, and you will sometimes lose due to sheer bad luck. Two Peashooters at the back of a lane are just sufficient to stop a Zomboni.

Seeing Stars

Seeing Stars (Day) is a quirky but very easy game in which you must plant 14 Starfruit in a star-shaped pattern marked on the lawn (only Starfruit can be planted in the starred squares). You only face regular, Conehead, and Buckethead zombies. Get plenty of sunflowers down quickly (using Mines or Squash to knock out the early zombies as usual) and use Tall-Nuts to protect them and the Starfruit. You don't really need anything else, although you are allowed to select plants as usual up to your number of available seed slots. The Starfruit provide plenty of firepower all over your lawn as they accumulate. Starfruit can be planted anywhere, though there is no reason to plant them anywhere but in the 14 starred squares. Until you have a fair number of Starfruit planted, leave the leftmost square in the middle lane vacant in case you need to plant a Squash or other explosive there to stop a zombie which has gotten through.

After Zombiquarium and Beghouled Twist (described above along with Beghouled), the next three Minigames are all conveyor scenarios.


Big Trouble Little Zombie
 

Big Trouble Little Zombie is a Pool conveyor scenario exactly like Adventure Level 3-5, except longer. Once again you have Peashooters, Lily Pads, Cherry Bombs, and Walnuts against smaller versions of regular, Conehead, Snorkel, and Football zombies. The Minigame runs three flags long (about 5-1/2 minutes).  If you find this scenario too easy, try it without using Lily Pads.


Portal Combat
 

Portal Combat is a strange Night conveyor scenario (you get a random plant about every 6 seconds) where there are two pairs of teleporting doorways (both zombies and attacks pass through these). Watch out for the Balloon zombies; place Cactuses at the far left of every row as quickly as possible. You also face plain, Buckethead, and Football zombies. Save up your Cherry Bombs for emergencies (zombies coming through a portal close to the left side) or to take out large groups. Put groups of Peashooters and Repeaters together behind a Torchwood to shoot through the portals. Use Wallnuts to slow up large groups of zombies and protect your shooters and Torchwood as usual. Wall-nuts can also be used to block the right side of a portal near the right edge of the lawn to help keep some of the zombies from getting through it. Bad luck in the location of portals can cause you to lose mowers, and sometimes the level; a portal on the far left edge is often very hard to stop.

Column Like You See 'Em

Column Like You See 'Em is a conveyor belt Roof scenario where everything you place is repeated in every lane of the same column. This can be tough, depending on how many Jalapeņos you get. You start with eight rows of empty Flower Pots planted. You will face regular zombies, Coneheads, Bucketheads, Footballs, Ladders, Jack-in-the Boxes, Gargantuars, and a few Dropping Bungees. Your first six plants, in order, are always Potato Mine, Tall-nut, Melon-pult, Magnet-shroom, Coffee Bean, and a second Melon-pult, and you won't get any more of any of those plants except (usually) Melons.  You will later usually get an assortment of Flower Pots, more Melons, Pumpkins, Squash, Chompers, and Jalapeņos. Save your Jalapeņos mainly to attack Gargantuars. Place the Potato Mine in the seventh column from the left (the second column of Pots the zombies will reach), the Tall-nuts in front of them (the first column the zombies will reach), and the Magnets in the sixth column behind the Mines (waking them up with the Coffee Beans which follow). Try to place at least three columns of Melons in back, starting from the far left. Place your first Pumpkin on the Magnet-shrooms; keeping these intact as long as possible will help against Ladders, Jack-in-the-Boxes, Footballs, and Bucketheads. It's tempting to use a second Pumpkin to protect your Tall-nuts while they're still intact, but it's probably not worthwhile, since they are usually either bypassed by Ladders or smashed by Gargantuars. Instead you should use any remaining Pumpkins in the four rightmost columns (right to left) to protect the Melon-pults, and to slow down Imps and any attackers which break through the line of Magnet-shrooms. If you get Chompers, put a column of them directly behind the Magnets.

When the first Ladder zombies arrive, it's probably most effective to ignore them and let them climb over the Tall-nuts, leaving them intact (the Magnets should eventually remove the ladders from the Tall-nuts). A wave of Jack-in-the-Boxes will arrive shortly after the Ladder zombies; one of the dangers in this scenario is that Jack-in-the Boxes sometimes explode prematurely, before Pop Goes the Weasel has played the usual number of times.  You might be able to attack them directly by placing a new column of Pots in front of the Tall-nuts and placing Squash or Chompers in them immediately (you must do this quickly, or the Pots will be eaten before you can plant the Squash or Chompers). Otherwise, you might want to use one column of Jalapeņos to temporarily wipe out the board, especially if you have at least two saved up. When the first wave of Gargantuars arrive, you will probably want to attack with at least one set of Jalapeņos, and trust your arsenal of Melons to finish them off. During the Final Wave you will face another wave of Gargantuars; if you have at least two Jalapeņos saved up, you should have no trouble finishing off the Final Wave successfully. If you get three or four Jalapeņos in all, you should easily win the scenario without losing any Roof Cleaners. If you never get more than one or two Jalapeņos, you might need to hold off using any until the Final Wave, even if some or all of your Roof Cleaners are set off. If you are lucky enough to get four or five Melons, you can fill up your entire back section and can probably hold off everything in the Final Wave without Jalapeņos.  The toughest games, though, are ones where you never get any Melon-pults beyond the initial two.

Bobsled Bonanza

Bobsled Bonanza is one of the best of the Minigames; a very tough Pool scenario featuring Zombonis (zombies driving Zambonis) and Bobsled Zombies (four man teams of zombies in bobsleds). The game starts with paths of ice covering five squares of each grass lane (so you will not have your Garden Rake). You cannot plant on ice paths, which can only be wiped out with Jalapeņos. Zombonis also lay down fresh paths of ice, and will continue down an entire lane until destroyed. Bobsleds must follow an ice path, then disappear as the Bobsled Zombies get out and walk (since you start with four ice paths, you will sometimes see Bobsleds first, which are more dangerous).  If a Bobsled receives enough damage, the four Zombies will get out of it even before it reaches the end of an ice path.

If you do not have the full ten slots, the most valuable plants, in order, are probably: Sunflower, Lily Pad, Jalapeņo, Cattails, Spikeweed, Spikerock, Tall-nut, Squash, Cherry Bomb, Chomper, and Potato Mine. Spikerock makes your defense so much easier that it might be worth buying the upgrade before you play it for the first time. Tall-nuts are utterly useless against Zombonis, which will just run them over, but they are very useful in dealing with Bobsleds, which cannot run them over and must stop in the square just in front of the Tall-nut. Spikeweeds (and Spikerocks if you have the powerup) can also destroy Zombonis. Destroying a Zomboni also removes a Spikeweed, or damages one of the three spikes of a Spikerock. It is quite possible to win without choosing Tall-nuts: Squash, Potato Mines, Cherry Bombs, and Jalapeņos are effective at destroying both vehicles. Chompers can also eat vehicles, but (unlike Cherry Bombs) must be planted in front of, not on top of, vehicles. But Chompers are more effective against Bobsleds than Squash are, since the Bobsled Zombies will get out of their sled before a squash can crush the whole vehicle, and the Squash will only pick off one or two zombies. If you get an early flood of sleds, the only effective weapons are Jalapeņos, Chompers, and Tall-nuts, and it will be harder to build up Sunflowers early (Mines only work if you can guess ahead of time where to put them). If the first few vehicles are Zombonis, your task will be easier. If heavily damaged by projectiles (e.g. from Cattails), Bobsleds will stop short on an ice path before they hit a Mine or Chomper.

If a lane is completely full of ice and plants, and you want to launch a Jalapeņo, you will need to dig up the sunflower at the far left, launch a Jalapeņo from there, then replant the sunflower. Whenever you use a Jalapeņo, try to follow up by placing something in the now-empty lane: ideally a Spikeweed (followed quickly by Spikerock if possible), otherwise a Squash in the rightmost square, or Potato Mine a few squares back (so it has time to arm). If you do not have the Spikerock upgrade, you will need to plant Spikeweeds steadily in at least one of the last two columns of every grass lane to replace the ones which destroy (and are destroyed by) Zombonis. One of your most effective weapons (if you have the upgrade) can be Cattails, which produce constant fire on vehicles and walking bobsledders. The Cattails will also deal with the handful of aquatic zombies which show up at the end. Don't be perturbed if you use a lawnmower or two early before you've accumulated enough Sun to provide a constant flow of explosives.

It is even possible, but difficult, to win this scenario without using Jalapeņos. You need to keep a constant supply of defenders (Potato Mines, Squash, Chompers) at the end of each ice path. Use Cherry Bombs wherever you can (in particular, you can destroy vehicles in lanes 2 and 5 using Cherry Bombs from adjacent Lily pads). If you have ten seed slots, you'll have a couple to spare, since you won't need Spikeweeds or Spikerocks (you also might not need Tall-nuts). You might try Pumpkins or Wall-nuts (either of which can be used at the end of the ice paths to stop Bobsleds), Twin Sunflowers (since you have less space for Sunflowers), or even something wacky like Kernel-pults and Cob Cannons. If you can build up six or eight Cattails, most of the vehicles will be destroyed before they even reach the end of the ice path.

Winning Bobsled Bonanza without Jalapenos

A win in Bobsled Bonanza without using Jalapeņos or Spikeweed

Zombie Nimble Zombie Quick

Zombie Nimble Zombie Quick
is a Pool scenario on amphetamines. Everything happens twice as fast: a normal zombie which takes just over a minute to traverse a lane does it in about 30 seconds. Plants recharge and Sun is produced twice as fast too. Not an especially hard scenario if your reflexes can keep up with the speed of play. Normal Pool tactics will work just fine here (particularly using Cattails); just do everything quickly. You don't face anything out of the ordinary (not even Bucketheads) except Pole Vaulters and Dolphin Riders, so be sure to pick Tall-nuts, and place them in the pool lanes first (to stop the very fast Dolphins).

Whack a Zombie

Whack a Zombie is similar to level 2-5, but longer and tougher (your chances improve if you get Sun early, which pops up randomly sometimes when you smash a zombie). When I started playing, I planted Potato Mines, in the most dangerous rows first, as soon as I had Sun. But I think a better strategy is to forgo the mines, at least initially, and start destroying graves right away (usually those alone in a lane, or the closest ones first). Try to wipe out every grave in as many lanes as possible. New ones will spring up periodically (anywhere in the six rightmost columns), but eventually you should have enough Sun to wipe out all but two or three lanes. Once you've figured out what lanes are going to be left, plant Potato Mines in those lanes if you have enough Sun (try to save enough for at least two more Grave Busters). If you remove all but a handful of graves towards the right end of two adjacent lanes, stop destroying graves, as I believe every grave you remove makes it more likely a new one will pop up in a different lane. Reducing to fewer than four graves almost always seems to make two graves pop up at the same time. If necessary, you can plant an Ice-shroom right after the Final Wave of zombies come out of every grave remaining, which should give you plenty of time to smash them all (any that are left after they unfreeze are still moving slowly). Below is my first flawless round of Whack A Zombie: every lane protected by at least one Potato Mine, no lawnmowers used up, and graves left in only three lanes:



But it is quite possible to win without using Ice-Shrooms or Potato Mines if you can eliminate enough graves. Usually you will need to be saved by a couple of lawnmowers at least, but I have won quite a few times with all of my lawnmowers intact, and only a few graves left, since adopting the Grave Buster strategy, and I only occasionally need Ice-shrooms any more. Crushing graves earns money, and you can easily make $2000 in a round of WAZ.   Once you have won and the money bag pops up, you can still crush as many graves as you have Sun left for, before clicking on the money bag to collect it.  It is worth crushing extra graves, as you will get a coin for each grave crushed, and sometimes a gold coin or even occasionally a Zen Garden plant.   You should try to squash the last zombie far enough to the left so that you can crush graves and collect their coins without accidentally clicking on the money bag before you are finished.

If you do not crush any graves, but rely on your trusty mallet along with Potato Mines and Ice Shrooms, you will have 20 graves by the Final Wave: It is hard, but not impossible, to win this way without losing some lawnmowers. This is a much less profitable way to play, but you can try for the 20 Below achievement if it's available on your platform.

Last Stand

Last Stand, a Pool scenario, is a sort of warmup for Survival Mode, and a fun way to try out various combinations of plants. You get 5000 Sun and no Sunflowers: from your full array of plants you select and build up a defense ahead of time, attempting to survive five flags (battles each roughly equivalent to a standard Adventure level) against progressively harder zombies, with a resupply of 250 extra Sun at the end of each flag. Last Stand is also one of the few scenarios with no lawnmowers (or pool cleaners). You cannot select Puff-shrooms or Sea-shrooms, which are free and therefore not allowed in Last Stand (other mushrooms may be selected if you choose Coffee Beans). You also cannot take Sun-generating plants. The program does not prevent you from selecting plants which are useless in Pool mode (Plantern and Flower Pot), though these are shaded like the free plants, mushrooms, and sun generators. Once you have the full set of powerups, Last Stand is not terribly hard: a full row of Melons/Winter Melons and some Cattails, behind a row of Tall-Nuts (below), can survive five flags with minimal reinforcements. [Without powerups, Snow Peas plus Melon-pults will do in place of Winter Melons, but this is less effective since the Snow Peas take up more space and hit only one zombie at a time, while Winter Melons cause splash damage and will slow down zombies in adjacent lanes.] Sometimes the Garden Rake even survives until sometime in the second flag. Your most plentiful adversaries are the usual assortment of plain, Conehead, and Buckethead zombies (both on land and on Ducky Tubes), plus Football, Screen Door, Pole Vaulting, Newspaper, and Dolphin Rider zombies. You will see most or all of these on every flag including the first. The most dangerous opponents in this scenario, however, are Jack-in-the-Box and Ladder zombies. These usually do not show up until the later flags (you might not see Ladders at all if you use a defense without Tall-nuts). Assuming some typical defense behind a wall of Tall-nuts, you need to keep an eye on any Ladders or Jack-in-the-Boxes that get too close to your defensive wall, and pick them off individually with Squash or something similar; a Jack-in-the-Box explosion can easily demolish three adjacent Tall-nuts, and Ladders can easily cause a stream of zombies to come pouring over the wall (two Ladders in succession, which you might see occasionally, can even breach a double wall). Space is not usually a huge problem here, though it's better to have your defensive wall as far back as possible. Pumpkins are not useful; Tall-nuts offer more protection for the same price:
a double wall of Tall-nuts, for example, would be almost as cheap and far more effective than a single wall of Tall-nuts protected by Pumpkins (but you can't afford to spend too much on extra protection at the expense of firepower).

Last Stand

An initial setup for Last Stand -- start with four Magnet-shrooms (plus a fifth upgraded to Gold Magnet), six Melon-pults (three upgraded to Winter Melons in alternate lanes), and three Cattails. Add a fourth Cattail at the end of the first flag. Upgrade a Melon-pult to a Winter Melon at the end of each of the next three flags. The Gold Magnet allows the scenario to run without intervention; you only need to watch out for Ladders and Jack-in-the-Boxes (and Zen Garden plants). This setup ended with a win, with no explosives used and no visible damage to the Tall-nuts. You might need to use a Squash or Cherry Bomb to destroy a Ladder or Jack-in-the-box, or to destroy a large clump of zombies eating a Tall-nut during a Final Wave. If you have fewer than ten slots you can skip Gold Magnet and Cherry Bomb. (Pushing back three of the columns doesn't seem to work as well; it puts those Magnet-shrooms too far back to be as effective on the pool lanes.)

ZomBotany 2

ZomBotany 2
is a much harder Pool version of ZomBotany, with zombies also having Squash, Tall-nut, Jalapeņo, and Gatling heads. The latter two should be destroyed as soon as possible with a Squash, Chomper, Cherry Bomb, or Jalapeņo. Cattails behind Wall-nuts (or Tall-nuts) in the pool lanes are a must; eventually you want to protect every lane with Tall-nuts, Pumpkins, or both (you'll need to replace them occasionally). You need plenty of explosives to deal with the more dangerous hybrids, but unlike ZomBotany, firepower is essential, and the more the better: Threepeaters may also help. Peas fired by zombies pass over empty Lily Pads without damaging them. Unlike other Pool scenarios, there are no Inferi during the Final Wave.

Wall-nut Bowling 2

Wall-Nut Bowling 2 adds Giant Wall-nuts to the regular Wall-Nut Bowling. These are not Tall-nuts (which obviously would not roll properly), but extra-large Wall-nuts which wipe out every zombie in a lane (like a Jalapeņo), including Pole Vaulting zombies which have not jumped yet . You should try to save these up, in addition to the Explode-o-nuts, to use when you can do the maximum damage. Wall-nut Bowling 2 is a nice combination of arcade skill and strategy; it is a challenge to win without losing any lawnmowers. In addition to Coneheads, Newspapers, Dancers, and Bucketheads, you also face Screen Door zombies, which take four direct hits from regular Wall-Nuts to destroy. Screen Doors are vulnerable to ricochet hits, which wipe them out at once. Ricochet hits on other zombies cause normal damage. It might be worthwhile occasionally using an Explode-o-nut to destroy a single Screen Door zombie at the head of a lane, but look for opportunities to take out several Screen Doors and Bucketheads with an Explode-o-nut or Giant Wall-nut. Giant Wall-nuts are also effective in lanes with Dancers (and two Backups), Pole Vaulters, and Newspapers.

Pogo Party

Pogo Party
is loosely based on Fog Level 4-8 and Roof Level 5-4, but much longer and harder. You will face an almost unbroken series of Pogo Zombies. It is one of the hardest of the 20 Minigames. The early part is hardest; if you can avoid losing any Roof Cleaners to the first few Pogo zombies, you should be able to win. I do not suggest trying to use Magnet-shrooms. Use Squash and Tall-nuts to stop the early Pogos, slowly building up a full wall of Tall-nuts. Imitater Sunflower or Tall-nuts might help too. Jalapeņos and Cherry Bombs might also be useful early in picking off Pogos which have passed your defensive line in a lane where you haven't planted a Tall-nut yet. Cherry Bombs might also prove helpful in finishing off clumps of zombies. Chompers cannot eat hopping Pogos, but are useful directly behind Tall-nuts to eat Pogos which have crashed into them. I prefer, however, to build a double wall of Tall-nuts (or even more if using Imitater Tall-nut), which renders Chompers superfluous. Use Cabbage-pults or Melon-pults (or both) to destroy the Pogos after they have crashed into your defensive wall. Umbrella Leaves are an unnecessary luxury: Dropping Bungees appear during the Final Wave, but they are usually too few to do much damage.

Dr. Zomboss's Revenge

The final Minigame, Dr. Zomboss's Revenge, is a harder version of the final Adventure level, 5-10.

Tips on individual Vasebreaker levels and Vasebreaker: Endless

When Puzzle Mode is unlocked during 4-6, you have access to the first three levels of Vasebreaker and I, Zombie. The first level, simply called Vasebreaker, has five columns of vases, with 5 Peashooters, 5 Snow Peas, and 5 Squash against 6 regular and 3 Buckethead zombies, and a Jack-in-the-Box. This is a fairly easy level; try to get one of each plant into each lane as quickly as possible, particularly trying to make sure that you get a Squash in front of each Buckethead if possible. Sometimes you will lose by bad luck if the Jack-in-the-Box blows up and destroys a chunk of your defenses.

This unlocks To the Left, which has five columns too, but shifted one to the left, so the rightmost column is empty. This is the first level where Repeaters which shoot to the left are introduced. Obviously you want to put these behind the advancing zombies. You have 7 Backwards Repeaters, 3 Snow Peas, 3 Wall-nuts, and 2 Mines against a Jack-in-the-Box, 3 Bucketheads, and 6 plain zombies. Try to get Mines or Wall-nuts in front of each Buckethead.

Third Vase reintroduces the Dancer Zombie (which summons a quartet of backup dancers) and makes the Hypno-shroom available (this is found after level 2-5 and causes a zombie which reaches it to turn in the opposite direction and attack the next zombie it encounters). Play Hypno-shrooms on the Dancer if possible; not only will this get you the special Achievement Disco is Undead if you are playing on Steam, it will also make the Dancer summon hypnotized backups if it survives long enough. You have 6 Backwards Repeaters, 4 Snow Peas, 3 Hypno-shrooms, 3 Wall-nuts, and 2 Squash against a Jack-in-the-Box, a Dancer, 2 Bucketheads, and 8 plain zombies.

The remaining Vasebreaker levels can only be unlocked, one at a time, after finishing Adventure mode.

Return to 4-7 or go to the early levels of I, Zombie.

There are six more regular levels of Vasebreaker before you reach Vasebreaker: Endless. All of these except Hokey Pokey have a full seven columns of vases. Each Vasebreaker level has at least two green vases which always contain plants. It is tempting to break these first, but I believe a better strategy (especially in the harder and Endless levels) is to break vases starting in the rightmost column, until you know where you are likely to need help. Once you see where the worst problems are, particularly after the Gargantuar appears, then break one (or both if necessary) of the green vases -- often at least one of these will contain a valuable Squash. Once I started saving the green vases until I needed them, I went past level 10 many times (and eventually started reaching 20), where I had never managed more than 8 using the green-first strategy.

Chain Reaction has eight Jack-in-the-Boxes which tend to blow up in rapid succession. You also have to worry about one Football zombie, and you will probably need a Hypno-shroom to stop it. Be careful about filling both open left squares of a lane with Puff-shrooms: you might need room to place a Hypno-shroom. The other 7 zombies are regular; you have 10 Puff-shrooms, 5 Hypno-shrooms, and 4 Backwards Repeaters.

M is for Metal is a very tough scenario with 3 Football and 5 Buckethead zombies (plus a Jack-in-the-Box and 6 plain zombies); 3 Magnet-shrooms disarm them, 2 Snow Peas and 3 Pumpkins help to slow them down, and 2 Hypno-shrooms turn them around.  You also have 6 Backwards Repeaters and 4 Squash.

Scary Potter adds 5 Pole Vaulting Zombies.  There are also 2 Football Zombies, 7 plain zombies, and a Jack-in-the-Box, but no Bucketheads.  You have 5 Tall-nuts (try to block each lane), 4 Torchwood, 2 Squash, 2 Threepeaters, and 7 Backwards Repeaters.  Torchwood can be used in both directions, with Threepeaters from the left and Repeaters from the right.

Hokey Pokey is an unusual level, 6 columns deep, with no shooters: you have 13 Spikeweed, 3 Wall-nuts, and 3 Squash, against a Buckethead and 10 plain zombies -- just remember that two Spikeweeds will kill a plain zombie if it takes long enough to cross. To be sure of killing the plain zombies, put a Wall-nut behind a Spikeweed, or put three Spikeweeds in a row. You will almost certainly need to kill the Buckethead with a Squash (unless you can get it to eat through two separate Wall-nuts while standing on Spikeweed, or cross six Spikeweeds before eating a Wall-nut).

Another Chain Reaction is one of the trickiest levels, and you will often lose by bad luck. If Pogo zombies come out too early in lanes you haven't been able to defend, you might not have time to find Squashes or Tall-Nuts to stop them. Green vases seem to be mostly Puff-shrooms or backwards-firing Repeaters, though you might get lucky and find a Squash. Do not fill both open left squares of a lane with Puff-shrooms: you will need room to place a Squash or Tall-Nut. Once you have Tall-Nuts and Squashes in all of the lanes, you should usually be able to win, unless a Jack-in-the-Box destroys a Tall-nut blocking a Pogo. You have 7 Puff-shrooms, 5 Squash, 3 Tall-nuts, and 4 Backwards Repeaters against 8 Jack-in-the-Boxes, 4 Pogos, and 4 plain zombies.

Ace of Vase is basically a warmup to Vasebreaker: Endless, including a Gargantuar, but you will receive no Sun to produce Cherry Bombs (instead you have an extra Peashooter).

Vasebreaker: Endless


In Vasebreaker: Endless, you will face 15 zombies: one Gargantuar, one Jack-in-the-Box, five Bucketheads, and eight normal zombies. You will have 19 plants: a Potato Mine, a Wall-Nut, a Plantern, two Threepeaters, two Snow Peas, one Peashooter, five Squash and six backwards Repeaters. You also find one vase with Sun, between one and three balls (25-75 units). You can save up as much Sun as you find, and once you have saved up 150 Sun, you will have access to a Cherry Bomb. Try to get a Repeater at the right end of each lane, and some kind of defense (Wall-Nut, Potato Mine, Squash, or several shooting plants) at the left side of each lane, particularly the more dangerous lanes (with many vases still unbroken, or one or more Bucketheads already advancing). Use squashes whenever possible to attack Gargantuar and Bucketheads. Wall-Nuts and Snow Peas can help slow down Bucketheads, but you will usually need extra firepower (from both ends if possible) to destroy them. They take the equivalent of about 55 peas of damage. If you have time, wait for the Potato Mine to arm itself after placing it, before breaking any more vases in that lane. If you have a Garden Rake, it will appear at the beginning of the first level, and will disappear on the second level, even if it was not triggered. You can put a plant in the same square as the Garden Rake -- and you'll often want to do so in Vasebreaker.

It will take two Squashes (or a Squash and a Cherry Bomb), or one plus additional firepower, to stop the Gargantuar. But the real danger of the Gargantuar is that it will eventually fling an Imp forward, usually to about the second square in the lane. This usually happens after you hit Gargantuar with a Squash; if you can hit it with two in succession, you might be able to destroy it before it can throw its Imp forward. If you don't have anything guarding the left end of the lane, you might have to waste a squash or place a backwards Repeater in an unnatural location (e.g. in the second column, directly behind the Imp) to get rid of it. I have lost more often because of Imps than because of Gargantuars directly. Putting a squash in the second column of a row containing a Gargantuar (either already moving or revealed by a Plantern) usually doesn't work unless the Gargantuar is in the third column; the Squash will usually be triggered either by an Imp, or whetever is in the third column when the Gargantuar smashes its vase.

Vasebreaker is a Night, not Fog scenario: Planterns serve only to illuminate the contents of unbroken vases adjacent to them. When the Plantern turns up, find the spot with the most adjacent unbroken vases to place it. If you have time, smash the middle of a 3x3 block and place the Plantern there as soon as the zombie (if there is one there) moves forward. Once you have seen what is there, you probably want to place the shooters right away, saving any Squashes for later. It is usually best to place Wall-nuts and Squash in the second column from the left, and shooters (especially Threepeaters) and Potato Mines in the far left column. In particular, it is a waste to put a Squash in the first column and a Potato Mine in front of it, because the Squash is stupid and will jump at the same time the mine explodes, wasting both on the same zombie (but the Squash is capable of crushing several zombies in the same square simultaneously: look for chances to do this when a Wall-nut has several zombies bottled up). Another useful technique is to get several zombies moving in tandem so that, again, a single Squash can crush them all. You can do this by breaking each vase in a row in turn just as the already-moving zombie(s) arrive directly over it.

It helps to keep track, in each level, of whether you've seen the Gargantuar and the Jack-in-the-Box, and how many Bucketheads are left. Knowing that all five Bucketheads are either visible or already destroyed, or that there is, for example, one left, can help you plan your strategy for dealing with the remaining hidden vases -- particularly where to place any remaining Squash, a Wall-nut, Potato Mine, or the contents of green vases. Remembering that there is a Jack-in-the-Box still hidden can sometimes prevent disasters where you uncover a Jack-in-the Box and it destroys a critical Wall-nut, Potato Mine, or Squash. If you know that the last brown vase is a Jack-in-the-Box, or can see the Jack-in-the-Box illuminated by a Plantern, you should leave it until last unless you are sure that smashing its vase cannot harm any of your critical plants.

Once you reach the 11th level, you will face two Gargantuars per level (everything else is the same except that there are only 7 plain zombies instead of 8). You should try to have enough Sun saved for at least one or two Cherry Bombs (the more the better; I've had as much as 1200 Sun, temporarily, on level 21). Don't count on being able to use more than one per level; they do take time to recharge (just under 50 seconds from the time of the first explosion), and you won't be able to use two in rapid succession. It takes a lot of practice to get better at getting through double-Gargantuar levels without using Cherry Bombs -- the problem is that you don't get much practice until you're consistently good at the early levels.  One tactic that may help is to get Snow Peas, as often as possible, into the back of lanes with Gargantuars in them. 

If you hope to get to level 20 or further, you need to get as far as possible without using any Cherry Bombs at all (I've managed 15 several times, getting as far as 21 levels once and 20 levels once).  You need to learn to beat two-Gargantuar levels, as often as possible, without using Cherry Bombs.  I have now managed to finish level 20 fairly often: naturally, the levels starting at 21 have three Gargantuars and six regular zombies.  You also need to learn to win some levels past 20 (with three or more Gargantuars) without using any Cherry Bombs.  On my first two occasions reaching level 20 with over 700 Sun, I messed up level 21 both times by letting an Imp slip through.  I've now made it through level 25 many times, occasionally beating three straight levels past 20 without using any Cherry Bombs.  The highest level I have completed so far is 37, using 9 Cherry Bombs along the way.  Nine times I've managed 30 or more.  In levels beyond 20, with 3 or 4 Gargantuars per level, if you work on the top (or bottom) three lanes, using a Cherry Bomb if necessary, you can then wait for the Cherry Bomb to recharge before tackling the remaining lanes, in case you need to use a second Cherry Bomb.

I,Zombie

After Level 4-6 you can also play the first three levels of I, Zombie (winning each level earns a blue diamond and unlocks the next level). This Puzzle puts you in the zombies' place, giving you 150 Sun and a selection of zombies, challenging you to break through all five lanes to eat the brain at the end of each. Zombies must be produced by means of Sun, just as plants are in the regular scenarios. Some of the plants (typically as many as 9 in the easy levels) are sunflowers: these generate 200 Sun each when eaten, enabling you to create more zombies.

I, Zombie, the first level, gives you three kinds of zombies (regular, Buckethead, and Football). Nine of the 20 plants are sunflowers, and the rest are a mix of Peashooters, Snow Peas, and Squash. Attack the lanes with the most sunflowers first. Use plain zombies to trigger Squash, Bucketheads to attack most lanes without Squash, and Football zombies to attack the most heavily defended lanes, especially with a Snow Pea in the back. You should easily finish this level with 1000 Sun or more left.

I, Zombie Too
brings in Spikeweed (which slow down and injure zombies) and reduces the sunflowers from 9 to 7. You now have regular, Screen Door, and Buckethead zombies. You'll find the slightly cheaper Screen Door zombies just as effective as Bucketheads in lanes with no more than one Spikeweed. In fact they are more effective if there are any Snow Peas, as their screen doors prevent them from being slowed by the frozen peas; a lane with two Snow Peas at the back will kill a Buckethead before it reaches the brain, while a Screen Door will get through easily. Remember that a regular or Screen Door Zombie (or a Dancer or Imp in I, Zombie Endless) can cross one Spikeweed but not two. Regular zombies are only useful here in mopping up lanes with no more than one Spikeweed, or a shooter only in the first slot.

Can You Dig It?
adds Torchwood, Potato Mine, and Split Pea (along with Peashooters and Sunflowers), against regular, Buckethead, and Digger zombies. The Digger can tunnel under anything except Potato Mines (which blow it up as usual), ending up at the far left and eating its way backwards to the right. It is ideal for lanes without Split Peas and Potato Mines, as it can easily eat anything facing right, including Torchwood and Sunflowers. It can survive a Split Pea only at the very back (it will eat it before the Split Pea can destroy it with double peas). Diggers do not eat brains; when a whole lane is wiped out by a Digger, you will have to send in a regular zombie (or Imp in later levels) to eat the brain. As with many of the thematic I, Zombie puzzles, it is possible, despite the title, to win without using Digger zombies (in fact you can win with nothing but plain zombies, or nothing but Bucketheads).

The remaining I, Zombie levels can only be unlocked, one at a time, after finishing Adventure mode.

Return to 4-7 or Go to Vasebreaker

There are six more levels of I, Zombie before you reach I, Zombie Endless. Most of them are not hard if you take the right approach. Again, winning each level earns a diamond and unlocks the next level.

Totally Nuts is very easy: just play Ladder zombies in each lane (starting with one with the most sunflowers). After you have enough Sun to play five Ladders, use Bucketheads (or a second Ladder in lanes with Snow Peas) to mop up any lanes where the Ladder zombies didn't get through to the brain.

Dead Zeppelin pits regular, Buckethead, Bungee, and Balloon zombies against a Magnet-Shroom, two Cactuses, and an assortment of Peashooters and Snow Peas. Play a Buckethead in a row with more than one Sunflower, which should pick up enough Sun even after the Magnet pulls off the bucket to send another Buckethead into the lane with the Magnet-shroom (or take it out with a Bungee if you will have enough Sun afterwards to send another Buckethead). You can take out the Cactuses with either Bucketheads or Bungees. Once both Cactuses are gone, you can plow through any rows left with Bucketheads or just fly over them with Balloons if you have enough Sun (it's usually possible, despite the title, to win without Balloons; an extra challenge is to eat all five brains with Balloons).

Me Smash! gives you regular, Pole Vaulting, and Buckethead zombies, as well as Gargantuar. The lanes are now five plants deep instead of four. Sunflower-rich lanes are usually guarded by Garlic in the front, so leap one or both of these with Pole Vaulting zombies and accumulate enough Sun to let a Gargantuar loose in each remaining lane; remember that they can take a hit from a Squash, so they can smash their way through almost any lane you will encounter. They might even get through a lane with two Squash, if they can throw an Imp forward to remove one of the Squash. You can even take out the second Garlic lane with a Gargantuar, since they can smash Garlic easily too. You gain Sun as normal when a Gargantuar smashes a Sunflower. [You can win without using the Gargantuar too.]

Most lanes in ZomBoogie have three or four hazards (either Chompers or Potato Mines). I think the designer's intention was that you clear out an entire lane (second or fourth or both), then use Dancer Zombies to wipe out the adjoining lanes, but there are more than enough Sunflowers to finish the entire level with nothing but plain zombies (actually I'd rather have Imps, since they're faster). The Bucketheads are completely useless, and I don't think you will gain any advantage using Pole Vaulting zombies except to jump over a Chomper or Potato Mine which is the only defender in its lane (this might be one left over at the back of a lane, or with only Sunflowers behind it).

Three Hit Wonder gives you six different kinds of zombies to get past Magnet-shrooms, Potato Mines, Squash, Wall-nuts, and Peashooters. You can usually use Conehead zombies to do the dirty work of first eliminating both Magnet-shrooms (and perhaps the Squash too); after that Bucketheads can get through the rest (though Ladder zombies should be faster in lanes with Wall-nuts). Occasionally you might find a Magnet well defended by both a Wall-nut and a Peashooter; you might want to use a Bungee to snatch that Magnet. You might also have to start sometimes by grabbing some lightly protected Sunflowers to build up some early Sun.

All your brainz r belong to us is the only level where the plants are six deep. You have eight Zombies to choose from (though not Dancers; unlike Ace of Vase in Vasebreaker, the last regular level is not precisely a warmup for I, Zombie: Endless). The problem here is often how to get enough Sun at the very beginning, as the Sunflowers might be deep in their lanes or well-protected. You probably want to eliminate the Magnet-shroom first (Coneheads as usual are the weapon of choice, unless the Magnet is deep and you can generate enough Sun to use a Bungee and still have enough Sun to proceed), and climb over the Tall-Nut with a Ladder zombie (otherwise it takes too long to eat through if anything is shooting at you). Once the ladder is up, you can work on that lane as needed with Bucketheads or Football zombies. You might also occasionally be able to attack the Tall-nut lane with a Digger. The Starfruit and Threepeater also need to be eliminated, using Bungees or Diggers if the arrangement doesn't seem suitable for Bucketheads or Footballs. Winning this level finishes one portion of the requirements for a Gold Sunflower, and unlocks I, Zombie Endless.

I, Zombie Endless

The levels in the Endless version are an assortment of different types, not one fixed pattern as in Vasebreaker Endless. The most common pattern is similar to All your brainz r belong to us, with usually one Magnet-Shroom, one Umbrella Plant, one Threepeater, and often one Starfruit.  The rest of the plants are an assortment of Snow Peas, Split Peas, Repeaters, Puff-shrooms, Spikeweeds, and Kernel-pults (sometimes with Squash, Chompers and Potato Mines too). The first round almost always starts with 8 Sunflowers
; be careful not to run out of Sun on the very first level before you reach some Sunflowers.
The second round usually gives you 7 Sunflowers, the number gradually (but irregularly) decreasing as the streak gets longer. There are also several alternate patterns which are interspersed at random. The easiest, but rarest, of these is a Scaredy pattern with as many as 12 Sunflowers guarded by Scaredy-shrooms and Puff-shrooms -- this is an opportunity to build up a large surplus of Sun. This pattern should be attacked by five Bucketheads simultaneously, one in each lane -- the Scaredy-shrooms in each lane shrink in unison as the zombies push forward at the same time. Another pattern mixes mostly Magnet-shrooms, Fume-shrooms, and Puff-shrooms -- this needs to be attacked with Coneheads, one at a time per lane, until all of the Magnets are gone.  The same is true if there are mostly Magnet-shrooms and Starfruit. A third variety pattern, similar to ZomBoogie, has few if any shooters, mostly defending with Potato Mines and Chompers (sometimes Puff-shrooms and Fume-shrooms). If there are no shooters, attack with Imps to gradually clear each lane; lanes with shooters require Coneheads or perhaps Diggers.    Dancer Zombies can sometimes be effective; start them all the way to the right to improve your chances of getting all of the Sunflowers in the side lanes.  Avoid using a Dancer in a lane with Spikeweeds (the Dancers tend to stop frequently, and will be badly damaged by stopping on a Spikeweed) or Fume-shrooms (the backup dancer in front will not shield the Dancer).

A fourth pattern (shown below) is a mixture of mostly Snow Peas, Repeaters, and Split Peas. I would attack the pattern below with Diggers in the top two lanes (multiple Snow Peas but no Split Peas), a Ladder Zombie in the middle lane, a Digger and a Buckethead in the fourth lane (the Buckethead should be placed first so it can eat the rightmost Split Pea before the Digger emerges from the back), and a Football zombie in the bottom lane (it should eat the Snow Pea and speed up before the other shooters do too much damage).

Winter pattern

A winter pattern in I, Zombie: Endless.

Diggers are useful for attacking lanes without Split Peas or Starfruit, particularly those with any combination of Chompers, Wall-nuts, Threepeaters, Snow Peas, and Repeaters, which are hard to overcome by assaults from the front. A Digger can be attacked when it emerges if the rearmost plant is a Kernel-pult, Split Pea, or Starfruit, and sometimes by a Chomper. The Digger should survive any of these attacks except for the Chomper, providing nothing else is shooting at it. Sometimes when a Magnet-shroom is deep in its lane and well-protected, you may want to sacrifice a Buckethead or Ladder to activate the Magnet (the Buckethead or Ladder should make some progress before its bucket or ladder is removed). As soon as the Magnet is activated, you can put a Digger in its lane, which should reach the end of the lane before the Magnet is activated again to remove the Digger's pick. If the Magnet is protected by a Split Pea or Starfruit, and not protected by an Umbrella Leaf, stealing the Magnet with a Bungee may be preferable.

An important tactic you will sometimes want to use is to send two zombies in tandem. For example, putting down one Conehead and then another right behind it in the same lane, as fast as you can play them, is generally much more effective than sending one Conehead, then sending another when the first one dies. Two Coneheads together will eat plants faster, and the forward one will shield the rear one from damage. This is particularly useful in lanes guarded by a Chomper, which can only eat one of the two. Tandems are almost a must for attacking lanes with Kernel-pults (which can only butter one at a time), unless you can attack from behind with a Digger. Conehead tandems are often the best way to attack a lane which contains a Magnet-shroom. Be careful, however, not to send a tandem into a lane with a Squash or Potato Mine (frequently seen in ZomBoogie setups), which can destroy both Coneheads at once (unless you leave enough space between them). Tandems also don't work well against Fume-shrooms, which attack both zombies simultaneously.

You get a coin (usually silver, but sometimes gold) for every brain you eat. For every three levels you win, you will get an extra reward, usually a blue diamond, or occasionally a chocolate bar or Zen plant. It is possible to compile a streak of 10 or more (in order to get the Better off Dead achievement) even without getting a Scaredy level, but you will need accurate play and reasonable luck (few if any levels with only 1 or 2 Sunflowers). Generally speaking, you should expect to build up a lot of sun in the early levels with 8 and 7 (and sometimes 6) Sunflowers. You need to have well over 1000 Sun by the end of level 2 to have much hope of advancing very far.
Scaredy levels should allow you, simply by sending out 5 Bucketheads, to gain anywhere from 575 Sun (6 Sunflowers, which I've only seen once) to 1775 Sun (12 Sunflowers). Levels with 5 Sunflowers should often allow you to break even or perhaps even gain a little Sun; with 4 Sunflowers you'll probably lose a little Sun. Levels with 3, 2, or 1 Sunflowers will cause you to use up lots of your Sun reserve; a few 2's and 1's can even knock out a huge reserve built up from Scaredys. You have a better chance of getting Better Off Dead with an ordinary start (say 8,7,5,4) followed by a stream of 3's and 4's than an early Scaredy followed by a stream of 2's and 1's.

When you get down to low amounts of Sun, be sure that you eat enough Sunflowers at the beginning of a level before you fall below 50 Sun.  The worst mistake I ever made in any Plants vs. Zombies scenario was in I, Zombie Endless.  I had 375 Sun left at the start of the 10th level, which showed 4 Sunflowers: more than enough to get through level 10.  However, the strategy I used attacked the lanes in the wrong order and I didn't eat any of the Sunflowers until I was down to 25 Sun, not enough to send even an Imp to eat an undefended Sunflower.

Survival Mode


Survival Mode works like ordinary Adventure scenarios, where you start with 50 Sun and no plants, and have to build up a powerful defense, but it resembles Last Stand in being a multi-phase battle. There are eleven scenarios in the Survival series: five regular and five Hard levels (one in each of the five environments), and an Endless scenario in Pool mode. Each of these has five rounds (single flags in the regular levels and double flags in the Hard and Endless levels). These rounds are similar to the rounds in Last Stand, except that at the start of each round you can select a completely new set of seeds (and all of your existing plants stay, even if you do not select seeds for them), and any sun you have accumulated is saved. This allows you to gradually build up a varied and powerful defense. There is a preview for each flag which shows what zombies you will encounter on that flag, however (unlike most of the Adventure levels, Minigames, and Puzzles) there is no exact pattern of what kinds of zombies you will face on each of the five flags of each scenario. Generally, however, you will still face the less dangerous zombies on the first flag, and gradually one or two of the more dangerous ones are introduced on succeeding flags.

If you have finished all of the standard Puzzles and Minigames, you have probably started collecting Zen Garden plants, provided you have at least one plant upgrade. After you have bought a ninth seed slot for $20,000, you can start to buy more plant upgrades, unless you have a mushroom or Aquatic plant sleeping in your daytime Garden. In this event, your priority should be saving the $30,000 needed to buy the Mushroom or Aquarium Zen Garden to replant the sleeper. I would also try to get Spikerocks before starting Survival: Fog, and Twin Sunflowers before starting Survival: Roof.

More sun planting strategies

Twin Sunflowers are not particularly useful in Adventure scenarios, which are too short to gain much advantage from the extra Sun. But they are valuable in all Survival scenarios, especially the Hard levels, and for that reason Sunflowers are preferred over Sun-shrooms in Night and Fog Survivals. In daytime Survival modes where you have Sun falling from the sky, I recommend that you start planting Twin Sunflowers as soon as you have enough Sun to do so -- do not wait until you have all of your Sunflowers (three columns recommended) planted. If you don't believe this, try it both ways. I ran two tests of the first two flags of Survival: Day (Hard), the first time planting Twins as soon as I had 150 Sun, the second time starting to plant them only after planting three full columns of Sunflowers. The difference was striking: using the early-Twin strategy, by the end of the first flag I had 8 Twins (versus 5 with the delayed-Twin strategy), and had planted over 1000 Sun worth of extra plants (two extra Melon-pults, two extra Tall-nuts, and an extra Spikeweed and Spikerock). As with all slow-recharging plants (particularly powerups), starting to plant Twin Sunflowers as early as possible allows you to plant more of them more quickly. You might want to try, in Hard and Endless Survival, the Maximum Sun strategy of choosing Sunflower, Imitater Sunflower, and Twin Sunflower in the first flag, to quickly build up three full columns of Sunflowers and upgrade some of them into Twin Sunflowers. Using Twin Sunflowers also makes it easier to get the Sunny Day achievement.

Normal Survival levels

The five normal Survival levels are five flags long. You will normally (by the end of the 5th flag) face plain, Conehead, Buckethead, Pole Vault, Newspaper, Screen Door, and Football zombies in all five environments. You will also face Dancers in Day, Night, and Pool. Fog and Roof have additional adversaries. When you are in the Final Wave of a flag, do not rush to finish off the last few zombies with explosives. Use those extra few seconds to plant an extra plant or two while your shooters finish them off.

Survival: Day

You will want to build up a defense using Tall-nuts, Pumpkins, and Magnets (so you will need Coffee Beans on whichever levels you build Magnets). An arsenal of Repeaters (upgraded to Gatlings) behind a Torchwood in each lane will be effective.

Survival: Night


Five graves appear at the start, in the four rightmost columns; you should definitely destroy these before the first Final Wave. One new grave appears in one of the four rightmost columns during the Final Wave of each flag, including the first, even after you've destroyed the previous ones. This will destroy an existing plant if there is no room anywhere else (and it will not appear in a space with a crater from a Doom-shroom), so it is a good idea to leave at least one space somewhere in columns 6 through 9. It's probably only necessary to choose a Grave Buster on the odd-numbered flags (i.e. don't choose it on the second flag, then choose it again on the third to immediately crush the grave left over from the second, and later the one which appears at the end of the third, skip it again on the fourth flag, and choose it on the fifth).

Survival: Pool

You will face regular, Conehead, and Ducky Tube zombies during the first flag. You should try to plant some Cattails as quickly as possible during the first flag.

Survival: Fog


In a sense, Fog is the easiest environment, since you have both aquatic plants and mushrooms at your disposal: every plant is readily available and cheap (except for the unnecessary Coffee Bean, Grave Buster, and Flower Pot). Fog extends for 4-1/2 columns throughout the 5 flags. You will face regular, Conehead, and Ducky Tube zombies during the first flag. As in Adventure Fog levels, you should choose Sun-shroom, Puff-shroom, Lily Pad, Cattails, Plantern, Tall-nut, and Pumpkin at the start. To this you can add Squash and Cherry Bombs if you have seed slots left. It is useful to get a Plantern in column 7 in the Pool relatively quickly; you will need to plant seven or eight Sun-shrooms before you have enough spare Sun to place a Lily Pad in column 7, then another Sun-shroom or two before you can put down the Plantern. Your next goal is to get a Cattail as soon as possible (though you might have to protect the Plantern with another Lily Pad and a Tall-nut if a Ducky Tube shows up early in that lane. You will not have enough time or Sun during the first flag to get down much more than two or three Cattails, a Plantern/Tall-nut combination (maybe with a Pumpkin) in the pool, possibly a second Plantern in a grass lane, and three or four columns of Sun-shrooms (and as many Puff-shrooms as you can) in the grass lanes.

You will not face Dancers, but in addition to the stronger zombies seen on later flags in the first three Survival levels, you might face Jack-in-the-Box, Balloon, Pogo, Snorkel, Digger, Dolphin Rider, Ladder, Zomboni, and Catapult zombies. Later you will want to put Planterns behind Tall-nuts in any or all of the grass lanes, and eventually dig up the first Plantern to make room for another Cattail (or a Magnet-shroom) in the pool. If you put Tall-nuts in the eighth column during flags in which Catapults or Zombonis appear, you will need to protect them with Spikeweed and Spikerocks (if you have them) in the ninth column. Magnet-shrooms will eventually be helpful; place these directly behind your wall of Tall-nuts. When you plant Cattails in the columns (5 and 6) likely to be hit by Inferi Ducky Tubes, protect them with Pumpkins.

Survival: Roof


You will see Dropping Bungees during the Final Wave of every flag. The first flag usually only has plain and Conehead zombies. You should choose Sunflower, Flower Pot, Potato Mine, Squash, Umbrella Leaf, Cabbage-pult, and Melon-pult on the first flag, and try to get four Umbrellas planted as soon as possible. You will need to plant Potato Mine and Cabbage-pults to deal with the initial wave of zombies, and gradually build up Melon-pults. It might be helpful to have Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo to deal with an unexpected breakthrough, particularly by Dropping Zombies during the Final Wave.  In later flags you might face Stealing Bungee, Buckethead, Newspaper, Pole Vault, Ladder, Football, Jack-in-the-Box, Screen Door, Balloon, and Catapult zombies. Your main weapons should be Melon-pults (with a Winter Melon in each lane if possible) and Tall-nuts.  If you are facing Balloons (visible in the preview of each flag), you will
need either Cactus or Blovers, since Cattails are unavailable.  Since your defense is usually packed very tightly, it's probably preferable to use Blovers rather than take up a slot in every lane for a Cactus, especially since you might only get a wave or two of Balloons, perhaps only during the Final Wave.   Magnet-shrooms will help against Ladder zombies.

Hard Survival levels


These are roughly twice as long (two flags in each of the five rounds) and feature more dangerous zombie opponents than the corresponding easy levels. Before starting the five Hard levels, it's a good idea to have all ten seed slots and all of the plant upgrades, though it is possible to get through without them. In particular, it helps to be able to plant Spikeweed (and upgrade to Spikerock) in the 8th and/or 9th column of every grass lane in all of the Hard levels except Roof (where they can't be planted in Flower Pots), before the Catapults, Zombonis, and Gargantuars show up.

Survival: Day (Hard)


You will face regular, Conehead, and perhaps Buckethead zombies during the first double flag, and later any or all of Ladder, Pole Vault, Screen Door, Newspaper, Dancer, Jack-in-the-Box, Football, Digger, Pogo, Catapult, Zomboni, and Gargantuar. If you encounter Diggers, you must choose and plant Magnet-shrooms
and Coffee Beans to avoid devastation.

Survival: Night (Hard)

Nine graves appear at the start, in the five rightmost columns, with one new grave at the end of each double flag including 1/2, so use the odd-level Grave Buster strategy again. You will face regular, Conehead, and Buckethead zombies during the first double flag. Later you might see Pole Vault, Newspaper, Screen Door, Ladder, Dancer, Digger, Jack-in-the-Box, Football, Pole Vault, Pogo, Balloon, Catapult, and Gargantuar. Plant a lot of Magnets early, to deal with Bucketheads and Diggers. Doom-shrooms might be valuable during flags where Gargantuars will appear. A full column of Spikerocks will likely eventually be needed to deal with Catapults and Gargantuars. You also need some kind of defense against Diggers which break through, and Imps thrown by Gargantuars: a back rank of Melon-pults protected by Pumpkins is one method (another way is two Gloom-shrooms protected by Pumpkins).

Survival: Pool (Hard)


You will face regular, Conehead, and Buckethead zombies (including Ducky Tubes) during the first double flag. Later you might see Dolphin Rider, Snorkel, Ladder, Screen Door, Pogo, Digger, Jack-in-the-Box, Football, Newspaper, Balloon, Catapult, Zomboni, and Gargantuar. As in other Pool scenarios, you will want to plant Cattails as soon as possible, and get Tall-nuts in the 7th column of every lane, including the pool, and Spikeweed/Spikerock in the grass lanes.

Survival: Fog (Hard)


Fog extends for 4-1/2 columns throughout the 5 flags. You will face regular, Conehead, and Buckethead zombies (including Ducky Tubes) during the first double flag. Later you will see any of Dolphin, Snorkel, Ladder, Pogo, Pole Vault, Newspaper, Screen Door, Dancer, Digger, Jack-in-the-Box, Football, Catapult, Zomboni, Balloon, and Gargantuar. You will probably want to use Sunflowers instead of Sun-shrooms, since you want to upgrade to Twins eventually (an interesting idea is to pick both Sun-shrooms and Sunflowers for the first double flag, gradually replacing Sun-shrooms with Sunflowers). Plant lots of Puff-shrooms early, gradually replacing them with Melon-pults. Plant at least one Plantern and one or two Cattails as soon as possible, and generally the same sort of defense as in Pool.

Survival: Fog (Hard)

Defense at the finish of Survival: Fog (Hard). Two planterns illuminate the whole fog area. Six magnets protect against metal zombies. Each lane is protected by a Pumpkined Tall-nut and a Winter Melon. The four grass lanes have a Spikerock and four regular Melon-pults each. Ten Cattails (four Pumpkined to protect against Inferi) shoot over the whole lawn, protecting particularly against Balloons, Imps and Diggers. The row of plants behind the Tall-nuts are pumpkined to protect against Backup Dancers. Four Twin Sunflowers generate extra Sun.


Survival: Roof (Hard)


Roof scenarios are very difficult because, while you face many of the most dangerous zombies, up to Zombonis and Gargantuars, you are deprived of some of your useful weapons, Cattails, Spikeweed, and Spikerock. You will not, however, face Diggers, which cannot tunnel under the tiles of your roof. Umbrella Leaf is a must on the first flag, as you will face Dropping Bungees during every Final Wave, and Stealing Bungees also usually appear early. Plain, Conehead, and Buckethead zombies appear on the first flag. Later you will usually see Stealing Bungee, Ladder, Newspaper, Pogo, Pole Vault, Screen Door, Jack-in-the-Box, Football, Catapult, Zomboni, Balloon, and Gargantuar. Once again Melon-pult and Winter Melon should be your main weapons, though you might also want Cabbage and/or Kernel-pults early on, and gradually upgrade the Kernel-pults to Cob Cannons and dig up Cabbage and replace them with Melons. Cactus take up too much space (they need to be placed right behind Tall-nuts to hit Balloons quickly); I suggest using Blovers to handle flags where Balloons appear, rather than waste Sun and space and time planting Cacti. Your defenses are probably not strong enough to stop all of the Zombonis and Gargantuars, so expect a lot of damage to your front lines of Tall-nuts, etc.

Survival: Roof (Hard) is usually the last (and hardest) of the regular levels you will play, and therefore winning it unlocks
Survival: Endless, and earns you the Gold Sunflower Trophy, five blue diamonds, and the Nobel Peas Prize achievement.

Survival: Endless

The hardest part of the game is the Endless version of Survival, which is unlocked when you have finished all ten of the regular Survival levels. Survival: Endless is a daytime Pool scenario where you will face progressively harder (and more numerous) foes in each round. As in the limited Survival levels, you can choose as many plants each round as you have seed slots (presumably 10 slots by now; I wouldn't try tackling it until you have bought the 10th slot for $80,000). The plant upgrades are all available, but each time you buy a new upgraded plant the cost of that plant increases by 50 Sun. So your first Cattail costs 225, the next 275, the next 325, etc. If you lose a Cattail, the cost drops by 50 (so the fourth one always costs 375 Sun). You might eventually see every kind of zombie in Endless, including the Giga-Gargantuar which does not appear anywhere else.

On the way to 30 flags

Progress towards 30 Flags -- this setup (shown at the end of 22 flags) got me for the first time to 30 flags.

The screenshot above shows one of my most successful setups so far. Four Cob Cannons in the pool provide lots of firepower, and are invulnerable to Gargantuars, Imps, and vehicles. A double column of Spikerocks in the grass lanes stops the vehicles and slows down the Gargantuars and Giga-Gargantuars. Winter Melons in each lane slow down everything and provide steady firepower, along with the Cattails. Two Gloom-shrooms protect against Imps and Diggers. Tall-nuts in each lane stop the run-of-the-mill zombies which cross the Spikerocks. Pumpkins protect most of the plants. Eventually this setup was overwhelmed by sheer numbers, and the grass lanes were heavily damaged by the end of flag 26. By the end of 30, I had four Cob Cannons, four Winter Melons, one Cattail, and one Sunflower. I lost on flag 31 to multiple waves of Pole Vaulters. I later completed 36 flags with a similar setup.  My current record is 49 flags; I've made 45 twice and 40 or more three other times.

The Zen Garden and the Tree of Wisdom

If you depended on collecting coins and diamonds, it would take forever to earn enough money to buy the more expensive powerups, and the ninth ($20,000) and tenth ($80,000) seed slots. The Zen Garden is a way to make large sums of money; once you get it after level 5-4, you will frequently find new plants during play which are automatically added to your garden, provided you have bought at least one plant upgrade. The new plants need to be watered and fertilized periodically, and they spit out coins when you do so.  Normally a plant produces a $10 silver coin when it is watered; it needs to be watered 3-5 times in succession before it needs to be fertilized. Each plant has to be fertilized three times (for $150 each: a bag of 5 fertilizer treatments costs $750). The first time, it grows from a tiny green sprout to a small plant; the second time, it grows a little larger and produces two $50 gold coins; the third time it grows to full size and produces two $1000 blue diamonds. Once a plant is fertilized, you must wait at least an hour (of real time) before it is ready to be watered and fertilized again.  You can also buy up to three Marigold sprouts each day (again in real time, midnight local time) from Crazy Dave; Marigolds also generate coins as they are watered and fertilized (and one blue diamond when fully grown). Once a plant grows to full size, you can keep it (it will generate more coins periodically) or sell it to Crazy Dave (partially grown plants can be sold for less money, but there is no reason to do so). Dave will pay $3,000 for each Marigold, $8,000 for each daytime plant, and $10,000 for each night and aquatic plant. Coins last for a full minute in Zen Garden mode unless you change screens.

You don't need to buy bug spray if you sell plants as soon as they grow to full size, but you need it if you want to start accumulating plants (you can try to collect one of each of the 11 colors of Marigolds, for example). Once a day each fully-grown plant needs either to be sprayed with bug spray (which costs $1,000 for 5 applications), or
to have music played for it. You actually lose money on bug spray, since daytime plants only put out one $50 gold coin for each application, and nighttime and aquatic plants put out three $50 coins. But you more or less make it up with the Phonograph, which has a one-time cost of $15,000 and puts out coins at the same rate as bug spray, once a day per plant, when you play music for it.

The screenshot below shows the basic Zen Garden in an early stage, with a couple of powerups already purchased: the Golden Watering Can ($10,000) allows you to water four plants at once (if they are in a square formation and you place the cursor accurately). I would have rather seen this designed so you could click the Can once, then click as many plants as desired in succession (even better would be a Sprinkler upgrade -- frankly the Zen Garden is the least interesting part of Plants vs. Zombies). The Gardening Glove ($1,000) lets you shift plants around in the Garden (you can actually get along without it, because you can move plants around within the same garden with a $200 Wheelbarrow, which is designed mainly for transporting plants between Gardens; the Gardening Glove is quicker, though.) There are seven sleeping plants in the Garden below: most of these will need to be moved later to the Mushroom Garden, which costs $30,000 (plus a Wheelbarrow). The Lily Pad needs to go into a third Garden, the Aquarium Garden, which costs another $30,000. Aquatic plants, of course, don't need to be watered. Just below and to the left of the Pumpkin is Stinky The Snail (a character originally from Insaniquarium), who lives in your main Garden and will collect coins for you when he is awake. Nudging him will wake him up, but he crawls really slowly unless you give him chocolate (also found randomly in play), which will make him go faster for an hour. Even amped up on chocolate, though, he doesn't collect coins as fast as you can with the mouse. You cannot accumulate more than 10 Chocolate Bars, and cannot buy more than 20 bags of fertilizer and 20 spray bottles of bug spray (all left of the Gardening Glove). 



Since the Help file accessible from the main menu is a joke (a note from the zombies advising you on "correct" strategy), the two main sources of help are the Suburban Almanac and the Tree of Wisdom, the fourth element of the Zen Garden. (PopCap's site does have a ReadMe file). Once you have bought the Tree of Wisdom for $10,000 and started feeding it the special tree food, it will start giving you advice. Each bag of tree food ($2,500) grows the Tree one foot, and for the first 49 feet, gives you a playing tip. Eventually you will have accumulated enough money to buy all of the other powerups, and you will have nothing else to spend money on except for the periodic Garden Rake, new Marigold sprouts, and occasional fertilizer and bug spray. So you can either spend it growing the Tree of Wisdom, or try to collect as many different plants as possible in your Gardens.

Full-grown plants also like chocolate when they are happy: if you feed Chocolate Bars to eight or nine plants and one to Stinky, and let the game run unattended for 15 or 20 minutes, Stinky can collect five thousnd dollars or more.

Zombatar

Zombatar

In the Game of the Year edition, you can design your own zombie avatar with clothes, hair, hats, etc. This is saved to your desktop as a .jpg image, and also appears in the game as the Flag Zombie. You can create and save a different zombatar for each new player character.


Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

Easter eggs: zombie with mustache, future zombie, future mustachioed Conehead, regular and trickedout lawnmowers, daisies, candy from a zombie pinata


There are seven special effects which can be applied to the zombies (or lawnmowers in one case) by typing in a secret code. These don't help you in play at all; they just make the game funnier visually (or add a sound effect). The first four are accessible immediately; the last three become available only when you have a Tree of Wisdom and have grown it to a certain height. All of the codes (except sukhbir) are given in the Tree of Wisdom playing tips. Mustache and future affect the appearance of regular, Conehead, and Buckethead zombies only (and you can apply both at once). Backup Dancers in the new Game of the Year release have mustaches by default.

mustache

future
trickedout

sukhbir
daisies
-- at 100 feet (work on grass only)
dance
-- at 500 feet
pinata
-- at 1000 feet

Sound Effects

There are a whopping 167 different sound effects in Plants vs. Zombies, created by Laura Shigihara. Her music is really good too, but I suggest keeping it reasonably low in volume so you can clearly hear the sounds, which not only sound wonderful (e.g. Wall-Nut Bowling has, I think, real sounds from a bowling alley), but also are very often useful in helping the player keep track of what is happening, or what is about to happen:

Aquatic zombies make a splash when they enter the pool.
Bucketheads and Screen Door zombies make metallic sounds when hit by peas or other projectiles.
A Gargantuar about to die gives a strangled roar.
Sun-shrooms make a noise as they swell to full size.
Bungee zombies give a cry just before they drop their targets.
Jack-in-the-Box zombies play "Pop Goes the Weasel" as they approach.
Balloon zombies make a sound of air coming out of a balloon as they are about to come on screen.

Some minor bugs and limitations

Like most games which allow you to keep stats and game progress for separate identities, the number of identities you can have at one time is limited, in this case to eight. The only reason to do this is to avoid having to program a scroll bar into the player selection menu -- not a good enough reason nowadays, frankly. I'm on my 17th character counting the PopCap and Steam versions.

Every single plant and zombie is fully animated, and in very complex scenarios the program response can be sluggish. Turning off 3D Acceleration in the Options menu helps a lot, but in Fog scenarios this makes the fog appear choppy-looking rather than misty and smooth. [This was true on two different computers, one running XP and one running Vista. As of February 2011 I have a new computer with more memory and a faster processor, running Windows 7. It runs much more smoothly with 3D turned on all of the time.]

If you have more than one character, and set one of the Easter eggs, it will remain in effect if you change characters. This may result in an effect (e.g. daisies) which should normally be unavailable for the height of the current character's Tree of Wisdom.

On a couple of occasions Cob-Cannons started mistargeting, exploding a square above where they are supposed to. The Dancer music has also stopped playing once or twice (the first time during a Survival: Night scenario).

You cannot accumulate more than 9990 Sun (programming laziness again?); if the amount would exceed 9990, any additional Sun is ignored (you can't even reach 9995 if you get to 9980 and click on a 15-point ball of Sun: it still truncates at 9990). I first managed to reach 9990 Sun in Survival: Pool (Hard), towards the end of the level:

9990 Sun


You also cannot accumulate a million dollars: money hits a ceiling of $999,990 (the screenshot below also shows a full set of daytime plants in the daytime Zen Garden:

Maximum Money

Inconsistent results?

It seems that the results of an interaction between a plant and a zombie varies; perhaps there are some subtleties to the combat system that I am not aware of. A few examples:

Regular zombies cannot survive crossing two Spikeweeds in I, Zombie Too, but can do so in Last Stand and sometimes in the Vasebreaker level Hokey Pokey. Spikeweeds and Spikerocks attack in pulses, so this might depend on the timing of exactly when zombies start across them, so that a Spikeweed may cause four or five peas of damage. Imps which take 3 hits from peas can cross one Spikeweed, since they move so fast they only receive about two peas' worth of damage.

In I, Zombie Endless, a Digger sometimes can eat an entire row with a Chomper at the far left, but sometimes the Chomper will eat it when it emerges.

A Squash behind a Pumpkin (whether empty or protecting a plant) will sometimes attack the zombie(s) eating the Pumpkin (sometimes right away, sometimes after a delay), and sometimes will not attack until the Pumpkin has been eaten.

What features could be added?


It seems inevitable that there will be a Plants vs. Zombies 2 eventually. Here are some of the features I would like to see:

Progressive levels for Whack-a-Zombie, perhaps even Whack-a-Zombie: Endless
ZomBotany 3 and Wall-nut Bowling 3 (how many hits would a Gargantuar need?), perhaps a Sun-generated (non-conveyor) Wall-nut Bowling
Survival: Endless and Last Stand in the other four environments (Day, Night, Fog, Roof). It would particularly help to see a wider variety of zombies in Last Stand in order to see exactly how much damage they can take. Last Stand against ZomBotany 1 and 2 plants would be a lot of fun too.
The ability to play any of the 50 Adventure levels individually once they are unlocked (Quick Play is available in the handheld versions like iPad, at least).
Growing new plants in the Zen Garden rather than finding or buying seeds for new plants
A solar collector which would collect Sun the same way Gold Magnets collect coins and diamonds
A rooftop pool. At least one site explains how to cheat using a hex editor (to gain unlimited money, Sun, etc.). Why not show us how to modify the game itself, to add even more features, like a six-wide (or larger) front yard and roof? Also other combined environments: Fog/Night, Pool/Night, Roof/Fog, Roof/Night, etc.

The ability to save initial setups for Last Stand, and initial seed selections for other non-conveyor Minigames, particularly Bobsled Bonanza and Pogo Party. An undo button for Last Stand setup would be nice too.
Smarter Squash which would ignore plants that have just been killed, or maybe be able to jump two squares or sideways. Also smarter Magnet-shrooms which could target only one kind of zombie, particularly Diggers. Also vertical (sideways) Jalapeņos.
First Aid for Spikerocks
More statistics: only the best streaks in the three Endless scenarios, and the number of times through the Adventure, are currently displayed. I'd like to see win stats for each individual level, number of secret zombies (Spoiler) seen and killed, etc.
Trees: these would be expensive and slow to recharge, but could protect plants over a larger area, be unjumpable by Ladders, entangle thrown Imps, etc.; a larger, taller tree might work like a 5x5 Umbrella Leaf.

The Plants

Plants marked with one Stinky slow have a slow recharge time, just under 30 seconds. Plants marked with two Stinkys slowslowhave a very slow recharge time, just under 50 seconds. All other plants have a fast recharge time, 7-8 seconds.

Peashooter [1-1] 100 Shoots peas. 10 of these will kill a regular zombie; about 28 will kill a Conehead and 65 will kill a Buckethead or Screen Door.

Sunflower [1-2] 50 Generates a ball of 25 Sun about every 24 seconds (the first is faster, usually 6-7 seconds); almost every kind of plant requires Sun to produce seeds to plant.
Cherry Bomb slow[1-3] 150 Blows up all zombies in a 3x3 area (even flying Imps and Balloons). Cannot kill Gargantuar outright. Useful constantly, in any environment, in almost every scenario, even the advanced Survivals.

Wall-nut Damage

Undamaged Wall-nut, and Wall-nuts after 24 and 48 bites (around 13 and 26 seconds when being eaten by a single zombie)

Wall-nutslow[1-4] 50 Blocks most zombies from advancing until it is eaten (about 40 seconds by one zombie, around 23 seconds by two). Pole Vaulting, Pogo, and Dolphin Rider zombies can jump over it; Gargantuars smash it. You're not likely to want to use it very often after the Tall-nut becomes available.

Explode-o-nut [1-5] -- Exploding version of Wall-nut, seen in Wall-nut Bowling 1 and 2. Equivalent to a Cherry Bomb when it hits a zombie, destroying everything in a 3x3 area.

Giant Wall-nut [Wall-nut Bowling 2] -- Extra-large Wall-nut, seen in Wall-nut Bowling 2. Equivalent to a Jalapeņo, destroying every zombie in its lane.
Potato Mine slow[1-6] 25 Blows up the first zombie that reaches its square (it may destroy an entire group of closely-packed zombies). Like other explosives, it does not usually kill Gargantuar outright. Part of a basic strategy for most Day and Roof scenarios. Takes almost 16 seconds to arm itself after planting, so it needs to be placed three or four squares ahead of a zombie moving at normal speed. Not needed in Night/Fog scenarios, as Puff-shrooms do a better job of slowing down the initial flow of zombies while you build up Sun. Not needed in Pool scenarios if you have Cattails and a Garden Rake, as the Rake can eliminate the first zombie and you can plant a Cattail in time to get the second. In a pinch, when you cannot plant a Mine far enough ahead of a moving zombie, you can either plant one inside a Pumpkin (it will have time to arm unless several zombies eat the pumpkin, or unless the Pumpkin is crushed by a Gargantuar or vehicle), or use the Potato Mine trick: plant a mine in a square where zombies are already leaning forward to eat a Pumpkin, Wall-nut, or Tall-nut in the square ahead of them (they will continue to do so, ignoring the Mine while it arms and then explodes). This trick can sometimes help to get rid of the last zombie during a Final Wave.

Snow Pea [1-7] 175 Shoots frozen peas which cause normal damage and also slow zombies to a little above half speed (they eat more slowly too).  Frozen peas do not slow down zombies protected by screen doors or newspapers.

Chomper [1-8] 150 Resembles a giant purple Venus flytrap. It eats the first zombie that reaches the square in front of it, but then takes about 42 seconds to chew and swallow. An excellent defender behind a Tall-nut, as it can periodically eat anything (except Gargantuar) which reaches the Tall-nut, then swallow while the Tall-nut absorbs some damage. Unlike Squash, which smashes every zombie in the square it lands in, the Chomper can only eat one zombie at a time. Extremely valuable in Bobsled Bonanza, as a Chomper placed at the end of an ice path slightly ahead of time will eat an entire Bobsled or Zomboni. Useless against Gargantuar, unblocked Pole Vaulter or Pogo, or Balloon.

Repeater [1-9] 200 Shoots two peas at a time. Can be upgraded to a Gatling Pea which shoots four peas at a time. Works well behind Torchwood, which doubles the damage for each pea.

Backwards Repeater [To The Left] (--) Seen only in Vasebreaker. Shoots two peas at a time to the left.

Puff-shroom [2-1] 0 Shoots small puffs of toxic purple fume, with the same attacking power as a Peashooter, but a range of only three squares. Since they are free and recharge quickly, you should use them in all Night and Fog scenarios, and plant them constantly in all five lanes to slow down and eliminate the initial zombies.

Sun-shroom [2-2] 25 Cheaper and less powerful mushroom version of Sunflower. Produces only 15 units of Sun when initially planted, increasing to 25 when it swells to full size after about 2 minutes.

Fume-shroom [2-3] 75 Shoots heavier toxic fumes which attack every zombie in the four squares directly in front of it. Its fumes pass through screen doors. It can be upgraded to the Gloom-shroom.

Grave Buster [2-4] 75 This is the only plant that can be placed in a grave square, and is the only way to destroy graves. It takes a little less than 5 seconds to work, and can be eaten by zombies before it finishes removing a grave, so you might need big explosives like Cherry Bombs, Jalapeņos, Cob Cannons, or Doom-shroom to clear an area around one or more graves (or an Ice-shroom to freeze zombies) before using it. Although it is only used in Night scenarios, it is not a mushroom (despite its position in the Almanac and the seed selection menu) -- it can grow in the daytime Zen Garden and sells for $8,000 when full-grown, like other daytime plants, and can also be used in a scenario where No Fungus Among Us is earned.
Hypno-shroom slow[2-6] 75 A zombie which reaches a Hypno-shroom instantly becomes hypnotized, and turns back to the right and attacks any zombies it meets coming the other way. Plants will not attack hypnotized zombies. Hypno-shrooms do not work against Gargantuars or vehicles, which flatten them instead of eating them. They also have no effect on zombies which fly or jump over them (Balloons, Pogos, and Pole Vaulters), and can be stolen by Bungees. Hypno-shrooms should be used on the strongest opposing zombies, and should be played before the target is too heavily damaged, so that the hypnotized zombie can do as much damage as possible to other zombies when it turns back the other way. Football zombies are the ideal target. Hypno-shrooms work well with Ice-shrooms, since the Ice-shrooms freeze only the unhypnotized zombies, leaving the hypnotized ones free to eat anything in their path (this is especially effective with hypnotized Dancers, which will summon hypnotized Backups).

Scaredy-shroom [2-7] 25 Shoots fumes (similar to Puff-shrooms) an unlimited distance, but hides (and become defenseless) when any zombie enters an adjacent square (in any direction, including adjoining lanes). Sleeping Scaredy-shrooms do not hide. Important in Level 2-10; not particularly useful in selection scenarios, though its one shining moment is getting the Good Morning achievement.
Ice-shroom slowslow[2-8] 75 Freezes most zombies completely, including Gargantuars, for about 5 seconds, preventing them from moving or eating; the slowing effect (similar to Snow Pea or Winter Melon) lasts about 20 seconds. Disappears after one use. Very effective against Dr. Zomboss when the robot head bends down, as it freezes him and allows all of the plants to attack him (Jalapeņos cause a lot of damage when he is down). Do not place in the path of fireballs (from Torchwood), which will melt it instantly, before it can even freeze any zombies (a sleeping Ice-shroom is not affected by fireballs). Ineffective against Zombonis, which are used to cold temperatures, and Diggers while they are underground. Not very effective against Pogo or Balloon zombies either, merely slowing them down slightly instead of freezing them.
Doom-shroom slowslow[2-9] 125 Explodes immediately after being planted (or being activated by a Coffee Bean in daytime), demolishing virtually everything in a 7x7 area, and leaving a crater which cannot be planted on (but which has no effect on zombies crossing it). The crater lasts 3 minutes, partially disappearing at 1:30 (a good place to time this is in Level 2-10; it often lasts longer than even a double-flag phase of a Survival: Hard scenario). It can also be placed in a Flower Pot, where it will leave a crater on the Roof. Surprisingly, a Doom-shroom can even be planted on a Lily Pad; exploding there leaves a sort of oil slick with the same characteristics as a crater. Doom-shrooms do not destroy graves. Doom-shrooms do not harm plants, except that a Doom-shroom placed inside a Pumpkin (or on a Lily Pad, or both) will destroy the Pumpkin (and the Lily Pad, or both).

Doom-shroom

Exploding Doom-shroom; craters fading away in various environments


Lily Pad [3-1] 25 Plant in water to allow most other plants to be placed there.
Only Sea-shrooms and Tangle Kelp can be placed in water without a Lily Pad. All other plants except Spikeweeds, Spikerocks and Potato Mines can be placed on top of a Lily Pad.

Squash slow
[3-2] 50 Jumps and smashes any zombies in the same square, or one square forward or backward in the same lane. Useful as a replacement for Potato Mine in many scenarios, since it recharges more quickly and arms immediately, so it can be played either instantly or ahead of time. One of your most versatile weapons, cheap and effective against nearly any adversary except Balloons and tunneling Diggers. Makes a good first attack against Gargantuars, followed by a second attack from a Jalapeņo or other explosive (even a second Squash).

Threepeater [3-3] 325 Shoots three peas at a time, in its lane and the two adjacent lanes, with the same firing rate and damage as a regular Peashooter. Most effective in groups in the second lanes from the top and bottom, where they can cover the whole lawn (and combine with a Torchwood in each lane for double effect). Not useful in Fog scenarios for detecting where hidden zombies are, since it fires three peas at a time whenever any zombies are in range in any of its lanes.
Tangle Kelp slow[3-4] 25 An aquatic Devil's Snare, roughly equivalent to the Chomper (except that it disappears after one use). The Tangle Kelp activates immediately, dragging the first aquatic zombie in its square underwater. It is played in water only and does not need a Lily Pad. It may be played ahead of time like a Potato Mine, or like a Cherry Bomb on a square already containing aquatic zombies (but only drags down one zombie at random in either case). Cheap and effective, especially against Snorkel, Dolphin Rider, and Buckethead Ducky Tube zombies, though it recharges slowly. Useful early in Fog scenarios to protect a Plantern in the pool until you have enough Sun to plant a Tall-Nut in front of it.
Jalapeņo slowslow [3-6] 125 Powerful weapon which sends a wall of fire down an entire lane in both directions, destroying every zombie in that lane (except Gargantuars, which are heavily damaged). Disappears after one use. Also destroys all vehicles, ladders, and ice in the lane. Very effective as a second attack on a damaged Gargantuar which has flung its Imp, as it finishes off the Gargantuar as well as the Imp. Extremely effective against Zombonis, as it destroys the vehicle and its entire ice path (follow up with a Potato Mine or Spikeweed at the far right end of the lane). Cannot destroy graves.

Spikeweed [3-7] 100 Damages zombies crossing them, doing about four or five peas' worth for a zombie crossing unimpeded at normal speed (an Imp or Pole Vaulting zombie crosses so fast it takes only about 2 peas' damage). It destroys Zombonis and Catapults by popping their tires. Cannot be planted on Lily Pads or in Flower Pots (so they are useless in Roof scenarios). Since they cause continuous damage to any zombie crossing or standing on them, they are particularly effective against zombies which are slowed (by Snow Peas or Winter Melons), frozen (by Kernel-pults or Ice-Shrooms), or blocked (by Pumpkins, Wall-Nuts, and Tall-Nuts). You can actually kill a plain or Buckethead zombie with only a Spikeweed in front of a Wall-nut. A Spikeweed cannot be eaten; it is destroyed only by Gargantuar, Zomboni, Catapult, and Jack-in-the-Box (it in turn destroys Zomboni or Catapult, and damages Gargantuar). A Spikeweed at the end of an ice path does not destroy a Bobsled, but causes it to stop and discharge its four passengers (this does not destroy the Spikeweed either).


Torchwood [3-8] 175 Turns peas into fireballs which do double damage. Plant in front of Peashooters, Repeaters, Gatlings, or any and all of the Threepeater lanes. Defenseless except for the shooters behind them. Fireballs melt an Ice-shroom instantly, possibly the only instance where a plant damages another plant, and thaw frozen zombies. Fireballs are not hot enough to melt metal: they have no special effect on buckets, ladders, pogo sticks, etc. Only one Torchwood is needed per lane; multiple Torchwoods in the same lane do not increase their effect. A Torchwood is cost-effective even with a single Repeater behind it, and even more so with Gatlings, multiple Repeaters, or multiple Threpeaters.
Tall-nut slow[3-9] 125 Extra-tall Wall-nut which blocks Pogo zombies, Pole Vaulting zombies, and Dolphin Rider zombies from jumping over it, and takes twice as long to eat (about 80 seconds by a single zombie). Vulnerable to Gargantuar (which smashes it), Zomboni and Catapult (which run over it), Ladder zombies (which climb over it and allow following zombies to do the same), and Jack-in-the-Box zombies (which can blow up as many as three adjacent Tall-nuts if they reach the end of their song).

Tall-nut damage

Undamaged Tall-nut; damage after about 48 and 96 bites (about 27 and 54 seconds when being eaten by one normal zombie).

Sea-shroom slow[4-1] 0 Equivalent to Puff-shroom, but floats in water without needing a Lily Pad. Since it's both an Aquatic plant and a night mushroom, it is useful only in Fog scenarios (since it is too expensive to use a Coffee Bean on each one in daytime Pool scenarios). Unlike Puff-shroom, it is slow to recharge (about 30 seconds). I don't usually find them worth taking up a seed slot for in most Fog levels once you have Cattails.
Plantern slow[4-2] 25 Illuminates a 5x5 area in Fog scenarios. Defenseless; put behind a Tall-nut or in a Pumpkin if possible. Also illuminates and shows the contents of every vase in a 3x3 area in Vasebreaker Endless, where you get one per level. Like Grave Buster, it is not a mushroom; it grows in the daytime Zen Garden.

Cactus [4-3] 125 Shoots pointed darts, which attack zombies with the same effect as peas. Not particularly valuable (once you have Cattails) except when fighting Balloons in Day or Roof scenarios. Stretches upwards to shoot down any Balloon in its lane (ignoring closer targets while it is shooting at a Balloon). Less effective in the far left of lanes, because it often allows a Balloon to get over a wall of Tall-nuts before shooting it down. A Cactus on the sloped part of a Roof can hit any Balloon in its lane which has crossed from the flat area to the slope. Their best location is usually directly behind Tall-nuts, but in Survival: Roof scenarios, or when trying for the Grounded achievement, you can plant them at the far left anyway, since you can't afford to waste space for them in the sloped area. Cacti are very useful in It's Raining Seeds and Portal Combat.

Blover [4-4] 100 Blows away fog and balloons immediately after being planted, disappearing after being used once. Fog starts to return about 25 seconds after being blown away, taking about 15 seconds more to completely fill the fog zone. Not particularly valuable once you have Planterns and Cactus (and especially once you have bought the Cattails powerup), except in Roof scenarios where you may not want to give up valuable space by planting a Cactus in each lane.

Split Pea [4-6] 125 Shoots peas one at a time forwards and two at a time backwards. Useless in selection scenarios, but an annoying defender in I, Zombie scenarios.

Starfruit [4-7] 125 Shoots stars in five directions (directly backwards and sideways and diagonally forward at a 30 degree angle). Very limited defensive capability straight forward, just enough to kill an Imp in I, Zombie: it takes two Imps to eat a lone Starfruit in the first slot (fifth column from the left) in a lane; three Imps if it is in the second slot. Annoying defender in I, Zombie; useful in It's Raining Seeds.

Pumpkin damage

Undamaged Pumpkin, and Pumpkins after 24 and 48 bites.
Pumpkin slow[4-8] 125 Can be planted alone (on Lily Pad in Pool or in Flower Pot in Roof scenarios), or on top of almost any plant, surrounding it with a protective shell which keeps it from being eaten until the Pumpkin is eaten first. A Pumpkin takes about 40 seconds to be eaten by one zombie (the same as a Wall-nut and about half the time of a Tall-nut). Essentially the Pumpkin is a kind of Wall-nut, as it can be repaired by Wall-nut First Aid, or have ladders placed on it by Ladder zombies. Pumpkins are useful in situations where space is at a premium; when you have plenty of space (e.g. in Pogo Party or Last Stand), a double wall of Tall-nuts is more effective than a single wall protected by Pumpkins. Pumpkins are also effective in scenarios without Pole Vaulting, Pogo, or Dolphin Rider zombies, as they can be used instead of Tall-nuts, especially when you are short of space or seed slots. They are particularly useful in Pool and Fog scenarios for protecting against Inferi in columns 5 through 7 of the pool lanes.

A neat trick in an emergency, when you need an instant Potato Mine to stop one zombie, and your Potato Mine is recharging, is to plant a Pumpkin where you want to put the Potato Mine; before the zombie can finish eating the Pumpkin, the Mine can recharge, be planted, and arm itself. A Pumpkin is so fat that it prevents a zombie from entering the square it is in until the Pumpkin is eaten -- this means that a Squash in the square behind the Pumpkin will (usually) not attack a zombie eating it, though a Chomper always seems to attack. A Cherry Bomb placed in the square behind a Pumpkin will not blow up a zombie eating it. Because Pumpkins need to be placed on a Lily Pad in water, they cannot protect Sea-shrooms or Tangle Kelp (they can protect Cattails though, and you will want to do so frequently). They also cannot protect Cob Cannons (which are too big, taking up two squares).

Magnet-shroom [4-9] 100 Pulls away metal objects (buckets, football helmets, ladders, Pogo sticks, jack-in-the-boxes, mining helmets, and picks) from nearby zombies (its range is two lanes and two or three squares in a lane). Defenseless; needs to be hidden behind Tall-nuts. Ineffective against vehicles (too big), Coneheads (their road cones are presumably rubber or plastic) and Pole Vaulting zombies (fiberglass poles). Takes about 15 seconds to recharge after grabbing an object, before being ready to grab something else.

Cabbage-pult [5-1] 100 Launches cabbages at the zombies. Each cabbage causes the equivalent of two peas worth of damage.

Flower Pot [5-2] 25 A plant which can be placed on Roof squares, allowing other plants to be placed inside it (the Roof equivalent to Lily Pad). Zombies will eat empty Flower Pots (or after eating what is in a full one). Flower Pots also hold plants in the daytime Zen Garden.

Kernel-pult [5-3] 100 Launches kernels of corn (which cause normal pea damage), and randomly sends large pats of butter which freeze a zombie for about 4 seconds (and cause double pea damage). Not powerful enough to do much damage alone, but slow down zombies enough to allow other weapons in the same lane to do much more damage. Two adjacent Kernel-pults in the same lane can be upgraded to a Cob-Cannon.

Coffee Bean [5-4] 75 Placed on Mushrooms during daytime (Day/Pool/Roof scenarios) to awaken and activate them. Takes about two seconds to activate. Most nighttime plants are not valuable enough to use during daytime because of the extra expense of using Coffee Beans (exceptions are Magnet-shrooms, Doom-shrooms, and Gloom-shrooms). Essential in obtaining the Good Morning achievement.

Garlic damage

Garlic [5-6] 50 Useless against Pogos, Pole Vaulters, Dolphin Riders, and Balloons (which hop or fly right over it), Gargantuars and vehicles (which smash it without eating it), and Diggers (which tunnel under it). Almost any other zombie will take a bite or two, make a face and a noise of disgust, and move into an adjacent lane at random. Eventually the Garlic will be eaten, after 20 zombies bite into it. Zombies will gradually dodge back and forth between two rows of Garlic in adjacent grass lanes on the Pool level, making slow progress forward. Garlic is a powerful weapon when used with the Funneling technique. It is also useful for quickly protecting Planterns and Magnet-shrooms in Fog and other scenarios.  Also vulnerable to being stolen by Bungees or blown up by Jack-in-the-Boxes.

Umbrella Leaf [5-7] 100 Protects itself and adjacent plants (in a 3x3 area) from Bungee attacks and basketballs hurled by Catapult zombies. Umbrellas do not protect against thrown Imps.
Marigold slow[5-8] 50 Generates silver and gold coins; about one coin every 24 seconds. About 1 coin out of every 15 or 20 is gold. Marigolds come in at least 11 colors in the Zen Garden.

Melon-pult [5-9] 300 Hurls watermelons at attacking zombies, doing about 4 peas worth of damage per melon. Melon fragments can hit zombies in adjacent squares and do lesser damage.

Plant and other Powerups slowslow

For each plant, the initial cost of the upgrade in dollars is given in brackets, followed by the cost in Sun. In Survival: Endless, the cost of each use of a powerup is progressive; the cost goes up by 50 Sun each time (so Cattails will successively cost 225, 275, 325, 375, 425, etc.). All upgrade plants have a very slow recharge time (just under 50 seconds).

Gatling Pea [$5,000] 250 Plant on a Repeater. Fires four Peas at a time. Very effective behind Torchwood, especially in pairs. Very useful in scenarios where space is limited (e.g. when trying for the Grounded achievement); when space is plentiful (e.g. Last Stand), two Repeaters are cheaper and just as effective.

Twin Sunflower [$5,000] 150 Plant on a Sunflower. Produces two balls of sunlight (50 Sun total) at a time. Good for producing a lot of Sun in limited space. Almost essential in Hard and Endless Survival modes.

Gloom-shroom [$7,500] 150 Plant on a Fume-shroom. Fires short-range bursts of toxic purple fumes (four at a time) in all 8 directions.

Cattail [$10,000] 225 One of the best weapons in the game, but usable only in Pool and Fog scenarios (including Last Stand and Survival: Endless). It turns a Lily Pad into a cat which fires pointed darts from its tail, two at a time. These are equivalent to peas in damage potential, so effectively it is a Repeater, but it can shoot its darts into any of the six lanes, and in any direction. It can also shoot down Balloon zombies, and makes an excellent defender to pick off stray zombies which get through your defenses (particularly Diggers and Imps in Survival: Endless). Each Cattail shoots at whatever zombie is closest to it (except that it will always shoot at Balloons first), but a battery of six or eight cattails can easily split its fire between two or three different targets. Cattails are more likely to shoot at Diggers the closer they are planted to the far left.

Winter Melon [$10,000] 200 Plant on a Melon-pult. Hurls blue Winter Melons which do damage like regular watermelons, and also slow down zombies similarly to Snow Peas. A Winter Melon which hits a zombie explodes like a normal melon, and the fragments can hit and slow down zombies in squares adjacent to the one originally hit, so even having Winter Melons in every other lane can help to slow down most of the zombies. Very effective in combination with one or more regular Melon-pults in the same lane. The Almanac is incorrect: Winter Melons have the same firing rate as Melon-pults.

Gold Magnet [$3,000] 50 Plant on top of Magnet-shroom; collects coins and diamonds automatically from anywhere (it will no longer collect other metal objects). Automatically wakes up a sleeping Magnet-shroom; it is not necessary to place a Coffee Bean on a Gold Magnet. Useful in scenarios like Survival: Endless where the action is fast and furious, to allow you to concentrate on collecting Sun and building. Gold Magnets do not collect Chocolate or Zen Garden plants.

Spikerock [$7,500] 125 Plant on top of Spikeweed. Causes approximately double damage to zombies which cross it (eight to ten peas' worth for a zombie crossing at normal speed). Destroys Zomboni or Catapult, using up one of its three metal spikes for every three vehicles destroyed, and disappearing when it runs out of spikes. Also loses one spike each time it is smashed by Gargantuar. Like Spikeweed, it can only be destroyed by Gargantuar, Jack-in-the-Box, and wheeled vehicles. In most scenarios, a Spikerock will last for the whole scenario once planted (exceptions are Bobsled Bonanza and Survival: Endless, where you will often have to replace Spikeweed destroyed by Zombonis or Gargantuars). Like Spikeweeds, Spikerocks at the end of ice pathsdo not destroy Bobsleds, but a Spikerock at the far right of a lane will prevent Bobsleds from coming by stopping Zombinis (and thereby preventing an ice path from forming).

Cob Cannon [$20,000] 500 Plant on top of two adjacent Kernel-pults in the same lane. Shoots a giant cob of corn with destructive power of a Cherry Bomb, but needs no Sun to do so. Rearms itself about every 30 seconds. Too wide to be protected by a Pumpkin, and defenseless against direct attack; even an Imp can eat it. Destroyed by any zombie eating or crushing either end of it. Particularly vulnerable to Imps, Diggers, Zombonis, and Gargantuars. Cob Cannons do not destroy graves or ice paths. In order to avoid having your Cob Cannon eaten by an Imp when there is a Gargantuar in the same lane, try for two explosive attacks on the same Gargantuar as close together as possible (two separate but almost simultaneous Cob Cannon attacks are ideal). If you hit it twice quickly enough, it will not have time to fling its Imp. If the second attack is from a Jalapeņo, it will destroy the Imp anyway.

Imitater [$30,000] This allows you to pick two of any normal (non-powerup) plant, so you can have, for example, Sunflowers which recharge twice as often. The Imitater is disguised as a potato ('tater, get it?) when it is planted, then after about 3 seconds, it turns into the selected plant. Be careful in using it for explosive plants (like Squash, Cherry Bomb, or Jalapeņo) which you might need instantly, as they may be eaten before they can transform. Imitater Jalapeņos can be launched effectively from behind your defenses if you have a vacant square, or protected by Pumpkins while they activate. This should be the last of the 49 plants you buy, earning you the Morticulturalist achievement.

Plant Accessories

Lawn Mower [free] A lawn mower destroys every zombie (including Gargantuar and Balloon) in a lane, when triggered by a zombie reaching it. At the end of each scenario, each unused mower (and Pool and Roof cleaners) is worth a $50 bonus. Mowers and/or Cleaners are found in virtually every scenario except Last Stand, Beghouled, Beghouled Twist, Zombiquarium, I, Zombie, and Vasebreaker. When a lawnmower is triggered, the zombies will leave that lane alone for a while afterwards.

Pool Cleaner [$1,000] Works exactly like lawnmower in pool lanes of Pool and Fog scenarios.

Garden Rake [$200] Appears at the beginning of each new level or scenario (but only once at the beginning of multi-phase battles Last Stand and Survival, and only on the first level of Vasebreaker: Endless). It is automatically placed in the lane where the first zombie will appear, and destroys that zombie automatically (except for a Gargantuar, which receives the normal damage from an explosive). Does not appear in Bobsled Bonanza due to ice, in Zombiquarium due to water, in Beghouled and Beghouled Twist due to the full field of plants, in Whack-a-Zombie due to the graves, or in Level 5-10 or Dr. Zomboss's Revenge due to the robot. Lasts for three consecutive scenarios, after which a new rake must be purchased. The program does not remind you when you need to buy a new Rake; you can check the Shop during seed selection (if it is not Sold Out, you need one). A Wall-nut (or Tall-nut) placed on a rake will prevent the rake from triggering until the Wall-nut is eaten.  Rakes are not essential in Night and Fog scenarios where you have Puff-shrooms, nor in Column Like You See 'Em where you face waves of zombies at the Start

Roof Cleaner [$3,000] Works exactly like lawnmower on Roof.

Wall-nut First Aid [$2,000] -- Allows you to plant a fresh Wall-nut, Tall-nut, or Pumpkin over a damaged one, without digging up the old one. You will make the most efficient use of Sun if you wait until it is heavily damaged before replacing it.  You can't mix types: if you want to plant, e.g., a Tall-nut over a damaged Wall-nut, you still must dig up the Wall-nut first.

(Zen Garden)

Gardening Glove [$1,000] Allows you to pick up and move plants within one garden. Useful for arranging plants in squares of four for the Golden Watering Can. Not strictly necessary if you have a Wheelbarrow.

Wheelbarrow [$200] Allows you to move plants between gardens. Cannot be bought until you have bought one of the two additional gardens. Can also act as a Gardening Glove, though the interface takes an extra click.

Fertilizer [$750 for a bag of 5 treatments; limit 4 bags]  Makes a plant grow one step in size (sprout to tiny to medium to large).

Bug Spray [$1000 for a bottle of 5 treatments; limit 4 bottles]  Protects full-grown plants from bugs for one day.

Mushroom Garden [$30,000] Allows mushroom plants to grow. These are more valuable than daytime plants, sellable for $10,000 when full-grown. There is no reason to buy the Mushroom Garden until you have found a plant that grows there (the same is true of the Aquarium Garden).

Aquarium Garden [$30,000] Allows aquatic plants to grow. Also $10,000 each when full-grown. Obviously aquatic plants don't need watering, though they will want fertilizer and music.

Golden Watering Can [$10,000] Waters up to four plants at a time, if arranged in a square in the daytime Zen Garden. Waters two plants at a time if they are close together in the Mushroom Zen Garden. 

Phonograph [$15,000] Plays music for a plant, which produces a gold coin (three gold coins for Mushroom and Aquarium plants). 
Not of any use unless you start collecting plants; if you sell plants as soon as they are full-grown, they will never want music.

Stinky the Snail [$3,000] Collects coins slowly in the daytime Zen Garden, more quickly if you feed him chocolate.

Chocolate Bars [free; limit 10] Once you have bought Stinky, chocolate bars will appear randomly in scenarios just as new plants do. There seems to be a limit of 10 chocolate: once you have accumulated 10 chocolate bars, no more appear until you use some. Chocolate can also be fed to most full-grown plants (in all 3 gardens!) when they are happy (happy plants glow after they are watered, sprayed for bugs if needed, and music is played for them).  Plants which are fed chocolate produce coins more rapidly for a while.

Tree of Wisdom [$10,000] Gives a playing tip each time you feed it a bag of plant food ($2,500 each), up to 50 feet.  Additional tips appear at 100, 500, and 1000.

The Zombies

For each of the 26 zombies, we indicate where they first appear, as well as any special characteristics.

Zombie [1-1] 10 peas to kill; loses its arm after 5 peas. Referred to throughout this article as plain or regular zombies.

Flag Zombie [1-2] Identical to regular (or plain Ducky Tube) zombie; carries a flag to indicate the start of a new wave of zombies. You can customize what the Flag Zombie looks like by creating a Zombatar.

Conehead Zombie [1-3] 28 peas to kill

Pole Vaulting Zombie [1-6] 17 peas to kill; loses its arm after 9 peas. Moves about 2-1/2 times as fast as a normal zombie, then jumps over the first plant it encounters, and starts walking at normal speed after dropping its pole (it can jump even one-armed). Peas and other projectiles which reach it during its leap will miss and pass by (sometimes even butter from Kernel-pults). Vulnerable to Squash (which will jump backwards to smash the PV after it jumps over the Squash). Cannot jump over Tall-nuts. Does not jump over Spikeweed/Spikerock or ladders, but runs over them, still holding its pole. Since it slows to normal speed after it jumps, throw anything cheap in its path. Jumps over empty Flower Pots in Roof scenarios. In early Day scenarios, try to avoid PV's jumping over your defensive wall of Wall-nuts; double walls are good if you have time to build them. In I, Zombie scenarios, if it does not encounter any plants to jump over, it will drop its pole and eat the brain at the end of its lane.

Buckethead Zombie [1-8] 65 peas to kill. Vulnerable to Magnets which remove the bucket from its head.

Newspaper Zombie [2-1] Once it takes enough damage (eight hits from peas, or a Wall-nut in Wall-Nut Bowling), it loses its newspaper and angrily starts moving at about 2-1/2 times normal speed (about the same as a running Pole Vaulter), taking nine more peas to destroy.  While it carries its newspaper, it is not slowed by Snow Peas; it moves at normal zombie speed.  But the frozen peas will keep it at about normal speed once it drops the paper.

Screen Door Zombie [2-3] As tough against peas as a Buckethead, but vulnerable (equivalent to a standard zombie) to Fume-Shrooms, Melon-pults, and Spikeweed. Also vulnerable from behind to Split Pea, which can destroy it with five double-pea bursts. Its screen door also makes it immune to the slowing effects of Snow Peas (but not Winter Melons) until the screen door is damaged enough that it drops it. In Wall-nut Bowling, they are even tougher than Bucketheads, taking four direct hits from regular Wall-nuts, but are destroyed immediately by any ricocheting Wall-nuts.

Football Zombie [2-6] 80 peas to kill. Helmet is initially dented at 24 peas and falls off at 72.  If you remove its helmet with a Magnet-shroom, it takes 10 more peas to kill it.

Dancing Zombie [2-8] Advances in its lane until stopped by a plant, at which it summons Backup Dancers in the squares in front of, behind, and to both sides (in adjacent lanes). If a Dancer is stopped by a Tall-nut (or Pumpkin or Wall-nut), the forward Backup Dancer will appear beyond the Tall-nut. Useful in certain situations in I, Zombie Endless: an unattacked Dancer can help grab the brains in its lane and the two adjoining ones, though it is not guaranteed to collect all of the Sun in the adjoining lanes (and will rarely do so in columns 4 and 5). Frequently seen in waves in Survival scenarios as well as in Wall-nut Bowling 2.

Backup Dancer [2-8] They do not appear in previews, but are implied by the presence of Dancing zombies.

Ducky Tube Zombie [3-1] These ride inner tubes along your two pool lanes; they can be regular, Flag, Conehead, or Buckethead zombies (depending on what land-based zombies show up in the preview: e.g. if there are no Bucketheads in the preview, Ducky Tubes will not be Bucketheads either). During the Final Wave of most Pool and Fog scenarios, two or three Inferi often pop up simultaneously in the middle of a pool lane (often at least one behind your row of Wall-nuts).

Snorkel Zombie [3-3] Stays partially submerged until it reaches a Lily Pad (with or without a plant on it). If it finishes eating, it submerges again. Vulnerable while submerged to Melon-pults.

Zomboni [3-6] Drives forward along a lane, laying a path of ice. Runs over most plants, including Garlic, Wall-nuts and Tall-nuts. Destroyed immediately by most explosive plants as soon at it reaches them, including Squash, Cherry Bomb, Potato Mine, Chomper, Spikeweed, or Spikerock. Can be destroyed by a cluster of six or eight Cattails by the time it reaches the fifth or sixth column. Immune to Ice-shroom (they're used to the cold). An ice path will melt after about 30 seconds if no new Zombonis come along.

Zombie Bobsled Team [3-7] A Bobsled, carrying four zombies, follows an ice path laid down by a Zomboni. Since no plants can be placed within an ice path, the Bobsled will continue until it reaches the end of the path (or is heavily damaged).  The Bobsled then disappears and the four Bobsledders get out and walk. The Bobsled and its occupants will be destroyed by a Potato Mine or Cherry Bomb, or eaten by a Chomper, placed directly at the end of the ice path. A
Jalapeņo placed anywhere in its lane will destroy the Bobsled and all of its occupants (even if they have just disembarked). A Squash, however, ignores the vehicle and waits to crush one or two of the zombies after they get out. A Tall-nut or Wall-nut will temporarily stop the four Bobsled zombies which get out, but if not killed, four Bobsledders can eat a Tall-nut in about 27 seconds.

Dolphin Rider Zombie [3-8] Extremely fast. Leaps over the first plant it encounters in a pool lane, similarly to a Pole Vaulting zombie on land. Stopped by Tall-nut or Tangle Kelp, though a Tall-nut in the 9th column will not block it, as it flips its dolphin into the pool in column 8.

Jack-in-the-Box Zombie [4-1] Plays "Pop Goes the Weasel" on its music box. During the fourth repetition, if the zombie has not been destroyed yet, the song stops and the music box explodes, blowing up its owner and every plant in a 3x3 area, like a Cherry Bomb in reverse. A Jack-in-the-Box can be hypnotized if you play a Hypno-shroom on it before the music box stops; it will turn and try to use its exploding music box against the other zombies.  It takes 17 peas to destroy a Jack-in-the-Box.  In Vasebreaker, as soon as its vase is broken, it will blow up every adjacent vase (leaving the zombies intact and the plants ready to plant), but will destroy any adjacent plants already placed. It can even destroy a Squash which is in mid-leap before it can crush a zombie. There is one Jack-in-the-Box per level in Vasebreaker Endless, and eight each in Chain Reaction and Another Chain Reaction.

Balloon Zombie [4-3] Floats quickly (about the same speed as running Pole Vaulters or angry Newspapers) over most plants in its lane; destroyed by Cherry Bomb, Jalapeņo, Cob Cannon, and Doom-shroom in their normal ranges. Cactus in the same lane to the left of it or Cattails anywhere will shoot it down with a single dart, making it a priority target even if some other zombie is closer. Slowed down only slightly by Ice-shroom. Balloon zombies shot down in grass lanes will land and walk at normal speed, and take 10 peas to kill, the same as a plain zombie. Balloons shot down over water simply disappear. Balloons in the air anywhere are blown backwards off the screen by Blover.

Digger Zombie [4-6] Tunnels under everything except Potato Mines (which blow it up) until it reaches the leftmost square in its lane, or until a Magnet-shroom grabs its pick. Can also be destroyed by a Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo while tunneling. A Digger while tunneling to the left will stop and eat a Potato Mine which has not charged yet. If it reaches the far left square, it emerges and turns back to the right, eating whatever it encounters until it is destroyed. Vulnerable to everything once it emerges; Cattails are particularly effective. It takes 15 peas to destroy a Digger; its helmet is dented at 4, falls off at 5, and it loses an arm at 10. A hypnotized Digger still continues moving to the right, but no longer eats any plants.

Pogo Zombie [4-8] Hops over nearly everything except Tall-nuts; Wall-nut, Pumpkin, and Garlic are useless against it. A Pogo will crash into a Tall-nut and lose its pogo stick; it is also vulnerable to Squash (which can even jump backwards if necessary to smash the Pogo after it hops over it), Cherry Bomb (if placed nearby at the right time), Jalapeņo, and Magnet-shroom (which grabs its pogo stick). Chompers are useless against Pogos in the open but are effective behind a Tall-nut. A hopping Pogo is only slowed down, not frozen, by Ice-shroom.

Top Secret Zombie Spoiler

Bungee Zombie [5-1] There are two different kinds of Bungees. Stealing Bungees jump from out of the sky to steal a plant and disappear. You get a few seconds warning (a cry and a red bullseye marking the plant they are about to steal). Dropping Bungees jump and land anywhere, with a circular shadow marking the spot where they will land. Dropping Bungees do not show up in the preview, and normally appear only during a Final Wave (and in Adventure level 5-5). All Bungees are stopped by an Umbrella Leaf in the same or an adjacent square. A Stealing zombie can be destroyed by a Cherry Bomb, Jalapeņo, or Squash if placed just before or as they drop (timing is critical), and will be eaten by a Chomper which happens to be directly behind the plant it is trying to steal. It's usually not worth expending anything valuable (i.e. a Cherry Bomb or Jalapeņo) to destroy a Stealing Bungee unless what it is about to steal is valuable.  A Stealing Bungee can steal a Chomper; it will be slowed by a Snow Pea it is trying to steal but will usually have time to steal it anyway (unless enough other plants are firing at it).  A Stealing Bungee will be squashed if it tries to steal a Squash (but both will be gone anyway, just as if it had stolen the Squash).   Dropping Bungees (which normally are either plain, Conehead, or Buckethead) can be attacked as normal after they land. Stealing Bungees are destroyed if they attempt to steal an armed Potato Mine (so they can be used to remove Potato Mines in I, Zombie, though this is usually not an efficient tactic in terms of Sun).

Ladder Zombie [5-3] Plants a ladder on a Wall-nut, Tall-nut, or Pumpkin, allowing it and any zombies behind it in the same lane to climb over it.  When a ladder is placed a plant, it is protected (along with its contents if a Pumpkin) from being eaten, though it can still be crushed by Gargantuars or vehicles.  A Chomper behind a Tall-nut, Wall-nut, or Pumpkin will not eat a Ladder zombie until it has placed its ladder.  A Ladder zombie which reaches an already placed ladder will climb over it and look for the next nut or pumpkin to place its own ladder on. A Ladder can be grabbed by Magnet-shroom either while a zombie is carrying it or after it has been placed. Ladders which have already been placed are destroyed by Cherry Bombs, Jalapeņos, Cob Cannons, and Doom-shrooms, or if the plant they are placed on is dug up with a Shovel or replaced using Wall-nut First Aid. One strategy which is somewhat useful against Ladders is to build a double (or even triple, if you have time) wall of Tall-nuts. A Ladder zombie which is still carrying its ladder is not slowed by Snow peas; this makes it a useful weapon in certain I, Zombie levels (including Endless). 17 peas are needed to kill a Ladder zombie after it loses or places its ladder; the ladder dents after 10 peas and the zombie drops it after 25.

Catapult Zombie [5-6] Drives a catapult which stops in the eighth column, and hurls basketballs at the plants (presumably mostly Sunflowers) in the first column. Basketballs can only be stopped by an Umbrella Leaf in the same or adjacent squares. It takes 5 basketballs to destroy any plant (and 5 more to destroy the Flower Pot it was planted in). The catapult will then target any plant in the second column of its lane. Each catapult carries 20 basketballs; if all of them are used up before the catapult is destroyed, it will start moving forward, crushing plants like a Zomboni (without the ice path). This happens rarely; keeping Tall-nuts in the 7th column normally prevents them from being run over by Catapults. Catapults will flatten anything in the 9th column, and a Tall-nut or Pumpkin in the 8th column, but will not flatten an empty Pot or most smaller plants (including Wall-nuts) in column 8. A Flower Pot may be placed in an empty square in column 8 after the Catapult is already there, and a plant subsequently placed in it. Catapults themselves are vulnerable to the usual explosives: Cherry Bombs, Squash, Potato Mines, Jalapeņos, and Chompers.

Gargantuar [5-8] A giant zombie which lumbers forward, smashing everything in its path (including Garlic and Tall-nuts). It can survive a direct hit from anything, even a Cob Cannon or a Doom-Shroom, but a second hit or a reasonable amount of additional damage (about 60 peas) will destroy it. It takes the equivalent of about 150 peas of damage to destroy it. When it reaches half damage (about 75 peas), it will fling the Imp it carries forward. It makes a strangled roar when it is about to fall, so you know when you do not need to attack it further (this is especially important in Vasebreaker, to avoid wasting Cherry Bombs and Squash). Although a Squash normally crushes everything in the square it leaps in (or into), a Gargantuar in Vasebreaker can sometimes shield a Buckethead in the same square from damage.

Imp [5-8] A small, very fast zombie available in many I, Zombie scenarios (including I, Zombie Endless) as a cheap attacker to grab brains in undefended lanes, or to remove Squash, Chompers, and Potato Mines. Can only cross one Spikeweed without being destroyed; killed by only three peas or the equivalent. The Imp carried and thrown by Gargantuars in Vasebreaker scenarios takes ten pea hits, like a regular zombie, before being destroyed. An Imp eats about twice as fast as other zombies.

Dr. Zomboss [5-10] Dr. Edgar Zomboss is the antagonist in Adventure level 5-10 and the Minigame Dr. Zomboss's Revenge. He operates a giant mechanical zombie which generates a dangerous assortment of regular zombies, plus iceballs and fireballs.

Giga-Gargantuar [S:E] Not found in Adventure or regular Survival levels; seen only in Survival: Endless. A red-eyed Gargantuar which takes half again as much damage as normal Gargantuar (three hits from Cob Cannon, Squash, Cherry Bomb, or Jalapeņo). Its appearance might be triggered by early use of Cob Cannons; I played Survival: Endless many times before I saw it for the first time.

Zombie Accessories

Grave [2-1] Found in Night scenarios only, as well as Whack-a-Zombie. Zombies come out of every grave in the Final Wave of Night scenarios, and randomly out of graves in Whack-a-Zombie. Nothing can be planted in the same square except for a Grave Buster plant, which destroys it in less than 5 seconds if no zombies eat it. No zombies can come out of a grave once a Grave Buster starts to work on it. Impervious to all other weapons, surviving explosions from Cherry Bombs, Jalapeņos, Cob-Cannons, and even Doom-shrooms. The Garden Rake might randomly appear in a grave square at the start of a Night level. The new grave which appears randomly at the end of each flag of Survival: Night (normal and Hard) will usually appear in a blank square if possible, but if all squares are occupied by plants, it will destroy a plant in a random square and appear in the newly empty square (so it's probably a good idea to leave one square, well to the right, free of plants).


Fireball [5-10] Thrown by Dr. Zomboss's giant robot, it destroys everything in its lane, including the Roof Cleaner, until stopped by an Ice-shroom placed anywhere on the roof in an empty Flower Pot. It does not enter the chimney to eat brains, but leaves its lane vulnerable to a later zombie breakthrough. Found in Adventure Level 5-10 and Dr. Zomboss's Revenge.

Iceball [5-10] Identical effects to Fireball, but stopped by a Jalapeņo anywhere in the same lane.

Recreational Vehicle [5-10] Thrown randomly by the robot at any time after it receives substantial damage in Level 5-10 or Dr. Zomboss's Revenge. The RV smashes every plant in an area two lanes wide and three columns deep. Somewhat like the Imp thrown by a Gargantuar (after it passes 50% damage), except that the robot can throw an RV well before the halfway point, and usually throws more than one RV during the scenario.  They are perhaps the zombies' most destructive weapon and there appears to be no defense against them.

This article is copyright Š2019 by Michael Keller. All rights reserved. It was most recently edited on May 15, 2019. All screenshots were generated by me during actual play and images are used by permission of PopCap Games, Inc.

Plants vs. Zombies is Š2009-2012 by PopCap Games, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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