Plants vs. Zombies [iTunes Link] has been refreshed for the summer with a new content update. The game by Popcap now includes a new layer of time management gameplay seen in freemium titles. In the so-called Zen Garden you can grow your favourite plants to obtain coins, which can be used in Crazy Dave's shop to improve your defences. Instead of simply selling the seeds, you have to water fully grown plants until they start dropping coins.
The game mechanics involve frequent app launches to check wether a plant needs some Bug Spray or Fertiliser—something like a Tamagotchi, but also collecting all the plant varieties— similar to Pocket Frogs. It also adds re-playability to the main tower defence game since once finished the adventure mode, seeds for the Zen Garden are obtained as rewards.
In addition to this, Plants vs. Zombies also includes 6 new mini-games available on Crazy Dave's shop, like a zombie aquarium, which their own Game Center achievements.
It's great to see some big developers taking care of their App Store customers providing new content updates for free. I'm sure that an update for the iPad edition is on its way and a version for Retina Display devices should be a matter of weeks.
As I wrote when I reviewed the iPad version, I hope the new gameplay included with this release will make for the lack of a freestyle mode while boosting the seed market experience and increasing the amount of plants and zombies available.
Just learned that on top of updating their most popular iPs on the App Store, Popcap is also doing some charity work. The developer and publisher is holding a number of auctions on eBay with art concept sketches, artsy items created by employees and other creations by Independent UK and Irish artists. The money raised will go to UK and US-based charities SpecialEffect and Starlight Children’s Foundation.
On the eBay page you can find some cool sketches from Plants vs. Zombies and you can even bid—right now the biggest raiser, for a personalised sketch by Popcap Games. If you want to get hold of some exclusive material while helping others, please consider bidding!