Newbie Mobile Gamer on weeds and stupidity in Plants vs Zombies 2
by Guest Author
There’s a strong argument that we’re all too close to the mobile games industry to experience all its nuances. So with that in mind, we introduce our regular column from the Newbie Mobile Gamer.
For this column I’ve gone from one type of zombie killing in The Drowning to another – not quite as nasty – in Plants vs Zombies 2.
My immediate reaction was the game wasn’t too bad. I liked the simple animations, the stupid noises and the uncomplicated tutorial. The aim is to kill attacking zombies by strategically placing plants loaded with various ammunition on a limited space.
So far so good…
So, despite the feeling that the levels become rather repetitive, the first world – ancient Egypt – wasn’t too painful to play though, at least that’s what I thought.
When you get to the end of it, though, you have to pay to unlock the next world, or, alternatively go back to start, and do all the levels again, this time collecting the stars you need to unlock the next world without paying.
It’s not the most clever way to keep me hooked, I must say. As I’m not yet willing to spend any money, I’m bound to go for the latter option.
Only this time around, some of the levels are so hard, I find them almost impossible to complete.
This is the point where the game makers clearly want you to start spending money – especially to get the resource, that give you the ability to kill all the zombies with a few taps of your finger.
Of course Plants vs Zombies 2 is a free-to-play game and while I might now be a gamer, remember that I’m a newbie, and so I haven’t played the original game.
That means I can’t compare this version with the first one, although I understand that it was hugely popular and that it wasn’t a free-to-play-game.
So while I like the idea of free-to-play game, in the case of Plants vs Zombies 2 I soon realise that I won’t have a very nice time unless I’m willing to use my credit card. Which I’m not.
A question strikes me; If a game is free but almost impossible to progress through without spending money, what’s the point of it being free?
Surely there has to be a more clever way of using in-app-purchases without sacrificing the quality of the game?
What’s my motivation again?
Or thinking about it on another level, while I understand that all games will be time consuming in order for me to spend my time, I need to feel reward.
In no other situations in my life would I be keen on giving away my time in exchange for nothing, so why do the game makers think it would make me happy to do so in my leisure time?
I just don’t find it logical to move from a level that is tediously easy to one that is so difficult it takes tens of attempts to complete. And once you’ve completed that one, the next one is almost the same, only a little bit harder.
From my point of view, Plants vs Zombies 2 demonstrates a painful lack of balance between the required skill, progression, and stubbornness – all influenced by its constant need of your cash.
If I would be brave and comparison it with the other game of stupid animated corpses that I played The Drowning I’d say it’s not even fair to put them on the same scale.
Sure, The Drowning also involves some degree of going back and repeating levels, but the essential difference is that you’ll progress in the process.
You’ll become more confident, accurate and strategic, besides earning gold that allows you to upgrade. Plants vs Zombies 2 only allows for the latter, and only after so many hours of playtime that you never want to see the game again.
Add the time-wasting factor to the feeling that there’s not a lot of room for skills improvement – mainly due to the nature of how the in-app-purchases are structured – what is left then that can possibly give me any pleasure?（source：pocketgamer)