Plants vs. Zombies

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

There's a zombie on your lawn,
There's a zombie on your lawn,
There's a zombie on your lawn,

We don't want zombies on the lawn.
Sunflower sums the game up

Plants vs. Zombies is an incredibly addicting Tower Defense game from, believe it or not, Pop Cap Games. That's right, they actually made a game that's not a puzzle game. And a darn good one, too. It's about plants fighting against a zombie invasion.

Zombies have risen from their graves, and seek to eat your brains. However, you find a most unlikely, but trusted ally in your own front lawn as you plant various organic defenses against the undead legions, and are also given advice and supplies by your neighbor Crazy Dave.

The zombies won't go down easily, however, and are constantly thinking up new ways to breach your defenses, including screen-door shields, pylon helmets, pole vaulting, and zombonis that pave the way for an undead bobsledding team.

Yeah, it's that kind of game.

The game was first released for the PC. Later, a version of it was made for the iPhone and iPad. A faithful version was later made for Xbox Live, adding a multiplayer mode. After that, it was ported to the DS, with somewhat watered down graphics due to the DS's low-res screen. There's also an Android version, and it was the deal that catapulted the Amazon Appstore to a serious competitor to Google's Android Market (although as of December 14, 2011 the Android version is available on both of them). There's also a Playstation Network version. And a Nintendo 3DS eShop's version.

In addition, there's a mini-game in World of Warcraft based on this game, and completing all of its stages earns you a Sunflower as a non-combat pet that follows you around.

Tropes used in Plants vs. Zombies include:


  • Abnormal Ammo/Edible Ammunition
    • The main attack you have is peas. Lots and lots of peas.
    • And later, cabbages. And watermelons.
    • And the butter from the Kernel-pults is abnormal even by the standards of the game...
    • The upgrade to THAT one combines it with Punny Name, since it fires an ICBM - Intercontinental Ballistic Maize.
  • Action Bomb
    • Several of the plants, most notably Potato Mines, Doom-Shrooms and the aptly-named Cherry Bombs.
    • On the enemy side, we also have the Jack-in-the-Box zombies, who are occasionally helpful.
  • Affably Evil: The zombies. They even send you notes, although they turn up a little late. And when you win, they decide to make a music video with you instead. And then get back to invading your lawn.
  • Airborne Mook: Balloon Zombies.
  • An Ice Person: Snow Peas, Ice-Shrooms, and Wintermelons, which all slow down zombies - except the Zomboni and Bobsled Team.
  • And Your Reward Is Interior Decorating
  • Anti-Air: Blovers (which also serve to clear the literal Fog of War in some levels); Cacti (which can also target ground forces); Cattails
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The game constantly gives you plants that makes the next stage that would be normally hard be much much easier. Although sometimes they make you feel the frustration first before giving you a plant that could handle it easily.
    • In the Play Station 3 and Xbox 360 port, to use the shovel, you have to hold and then release Circle/B, instead of just tapping Circle/B on a plant you want to dig up. This way, if you accidentally press Circle/B while moving over plants, you're not screwed over.
  • Aquatic Mook: Some zombies have tubes to help them cross the pool, another snorkels, and the last one is in a wetsuit riding a dolphin. (Which is also a zombie, by the way).
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The sentient English-speaking Puff-shroom had trouble believing in zombies.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Imp not only knows zombie judo, zombie karate and zombie bare-knuckle brawling, but he also plays the melodica.
  • Artistic License Physics: Just what are those Bungee Zombies hooked up to?
    • In the final level, Zomboss' robot's hand.
  • Ash Face: The zombies after being blasted by an explosive plant -- just before crumbling to dust (the head falling last).
  • Awesome but Impractical: Most of the "upgraded" plants in any mode besides Survival, especially Cob Cannons, as the round will in all likelihood be almost over by the time you can afford a few (with the possible exceptions of Double Sunflowers and Cattails). However, in Survival mode, many of them are not only useful but vital.
    • Threepeaters basically function as three Pea Shooters in one; plant one and it's basically the rough equivalent of planting a Pea Shooter in that row, the row above, and the row below all at once while only taking up one panel of space. However, they're prohibitively cost-ineffective, since by the time you can afford them at their 325 Sun price tag, you can plant arguably more effective plants for less Sun.[1]
  • Awesome Yet Practical: Spikeweeds and Spikerocks - impossible to destroy for almost any zombie (only the Zombonis, Gagantuar, and the Jack In The Box Zombie can), ignores shield protection a zombie might have (screen doors, ladders, and newspapers), they combine with freeze attacks and blockers incredibly well, and they're rather affordable. Sadly, they're useless in the pool or on the roof.
    • Cattails can attack any zombie on the field (besides their main target, Balloon Zombies) and have the attack rate of a Repeater, and only cost 250 Sun (including Lilypad). It's usually well worth it to get at least 2 up as fast as you can at the beginning of the level.
    • Torchwoods sets your non-iced peas on fire, doubling their damage and they are cheap. Combined with some of the multi-shooters like Repeaters you can chuck out some serious dakka.
    • Star fruit are useless individually; they can't even target zombies coming right at them. But they're fairly cheap, recharge quickly, and if you get more than one, their effectiveness goes far past additive. Two or three columns on the lawn, and nothing less than a Gigantaur will reach your plants.
  • Bacon Addiction: Crazy Dave will pay you $1000 for that strip of bacon. Why? Because he's craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy!
  • Berserk Button: Do not destroy Newspaper Zombie's newspaper. He was that close to finishing his Sudoku puzzle.
  • Big No: You scream it during the game over.
  • Black Magic: Plantern isn't gonna say that is the source of his unusual power.
  • Blackout Basement: The final backyard level.
  • Blatant Lies
    • Before the Game of the Year Edition, the No Celebrities Were Harmed disclaimer in Dancing Zombie's bio.
    • The help screen suggests that you let the zombies in the house.
    • And the note that was supposedly sent by "Your Muther (not the zombies)" on completion of stage 4-9.
  • Blow You Away: Blover, but only to airborne zombies.
  • Bowdlerise: Just before the final boss, Crazy Dave attempts to tell you the weakness of said final boss, suggesting you to "Hit him in the cojones." before realising it was a different guy. This was changed to "Hit him in the pancreas." in the Game Of The Year edition.
  • Brain Food: What the zombies want.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Hypno-shroom does this, though it seems to think of it as being More Than Mind Control. If successful, the Hypno-zombies will move on to eat other zombies.
  • Bucket Helmet
    • Some zombies wear buckets on their heads.
    • Crazy Dave also wears a metal pot on his head. Why? Because he's craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy.
  • Bullet Seed - Well, technically peas, spines, fruits, and what-have-you.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The Yeti Zombie that only appears in the New Game+.
  • Car Fu: Dr. Zomboss' Humongous Mecha gains That One Attack once his health drops below half -- he drops a caravan onto six of your plants, instantly squashing them.
  • Cap: For anyone interested, the sunlight cap is 9990. Especially attainable in hard night survival modes! And the money cap is $999,990.
  • Catch Phrase: Crazy Dave would like to remind you that he's craaaaaaaaaaazy.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Crazy Dave. Well, he is craaaaaaaaaazy.
  • Clown Car Grave: Averted and played straight. While night levels do have graves, each one only summons one zombie per level. Played straight in "Whack-a-Zombie".
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Magnetism is something which scares Magnet-Shroom in its power. Maybe it's because he doesn't know how they work.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: Sunflowers being the pylon of choice.
  • Crazy Survivalist: Crazy Dave, with extra emphasis on "crazy". (And, of course, you, by the end of the game.)
  • Critical Existence Failure: All of the plants, and almost every zombie. Inverted by the newspaper zombie who will move faster once he is damaged enough.
    • Although, technically, he isn't hurt: the newspaper took the damage for him.
  • Crosshair Aware: A dart and target on a piece of paper signals an attack from a Bungee Zombie on the targeted plant.
  • Damage Discrimination: Both plants and zombies are quite discriminating with what they hurt. Peas and other projectiles will ignore every plant, even the Tall-Nuts, to hurt zombies. Even exploding or incendiary plants will only target zombies, while the mighty Gargantuar will smash any plant but spare zombies in his path. A zombie controlled by the Hypno-Shroom will immediately be treated like a plant, though. The Almanac entry for the Doom-Shroom hints this is a conscious choice, with Doom-Shroom claiming it could destroy everything you hold dear if it wanted to.
  • Damage Sponge Boss: There's really not much else you can do to Dr. Zomboss's Zombot but let whatever offensive plants you got whale on it until it explodes.
  • Dark Is Not Evil
    • Doom-Shrooms are on your side, even though the warning in the Almanac makes one doubt it.
    • The appearance of Grave Busters fits with their purpose, devouring tombstones. But Grave Buster wants you to know that "he loves kittens and spends his off hours volunteering at a local zombie rehabilitation center. 'It's just the right thing to do,' he says."
    • The Tangle Kelp is also a little creepy with its glowing squinty eyes... basically a less-goofy-looking version of Tangela, though its Flavor Text in the Suburban Almanac mitigates this with a spot of humor.
    • While we're at it: Spikerocks look kind of monstrous, but turn out be art lovers and impressed with European museums.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Cone-wearing and bucket-wearing zombies (and even Zombonis) can be killed if you have enough rows of shooting plants.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The Imitater is black and white, and so are the plants that he imitates, although this is probably done more to indicate that you're using an Imitater plant as opposed to a normal one. (This can be mildly frustrating if you're cloning, say, sunflowers, since the glow that's a prelude to sunlight is harder to spot.)
  • Determinator: The zombies will never give up. Crazy Dave even lampshades this:

Crazy Dave: Those are some persistent zombies, dude.

  • Difficulty Spike: For every ten successful plays in "Vasebreaker: Endless" the game starts throwing an extra Gargantuar at you per screen, which puts things into Luck-Based Mission territory. Eventually, it becomes virtually impossible to get any further without cheating.
  • Disco Dan: The Dancing Zombie and his backup crew, as of the Game of the Year Edition.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: The Doom-Shroom, which even explodes with a large DOOM!
  • Emergency Weapon: Puff-Shrooms. They have limited range and low damage output, but they don't cost anything and they recharge fast. They're indispensable in night levels, as they allow you to keep zombies at bay while you gather enough sun-sources to bring out the big guns... Erh, plants.
    • Sea-Shrooms are also another case of this, (0 cost, limited power and range) but they're less useful because: 1) They can only be placed on water. 2) Their recharge time is EXTREMELY slow.
    • Tangle Kelp, if need be.
    • Squash and Potato Mines. A long recharge time but low sun cost makes them ideal for dealing with zombies while you set up, or even in tight spots. Same goes for Tangle-Kelp - even better in that they deal with fast-moving threats, like dolphin riders.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: The dancing zombies during the final video clip. Though it's nowhere surprising for zombies to be... stiff.
  • Everything's Better with Chocolate: Stinky the Snail.
  • Exact Words: There's an achievement for completing a night time level without using shrooms, which can be quite difficult. However, you can also earn it by completing any "I, Zombie" level, which are set at night and don't involve shrooms. It should be noted, however, that the chance of ending up in a mushroom-less "I, Zombie" level is extremely low. Additionally, this exploit seems to have been corrected for the Steam release.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Plants are fighting zombies.
    • Also, the Peashooters, the Squash, and the Torchwood.
    • And nearly all the zombie names.
  • Extreme Doormat: The Lily Pad. As the almanac entry says:

"Lily Pad never complains. Lily Pad never wants to know what's going on. Put a plant on top of Lily Pad, he won't say a thing. Does he have startling opinions or shocking secrets? Nobody knows. Lily Pad keeps it all inside."


"But honey, [joining the military] is dangerous!"
"LIFE is dangerous."

  • Fan Vid: No, really.
  • Fastball Special: Gargantuar will hurl smaller zombies at your plants. Thankfully, they're extremely weak and tend to be hurled into thick concentrations of peas.
  • Featureless Protagonist: You never see the homeowner because it's, well, you. At the very least, the scream you give off during a game over is male.
  • Final Exam Boss: In the last level, you have to remember what plants do what kind of damage to fend off the final boss' attacks.
  • Fog of War: During the 4th wave of levels, fog creeps into your garden.
    • Defog of War: Blover blows away the fog for a short of amount of time, and Plantern clears five lanes of fog as long as it's up.
  • Follow the Bouncing Ball: In the final music video. Incidentally, this bouncing ball is a brain.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Imp in the puzzle game "I, Zombie". It can only take three regular pea shots before being defeated, but is the fastest (and cheapest) unit you can deploy against the plants. You're required to Zerg Rush with them in one I Zombie round.
  • Frozen Face: Perhaps for the pun, Ice-shroom has a non-dramatic version of this. It being the reason he is a Perpetual Frowner.
  • Gainax Ending: Played for laughs. In the end, the Zombies give up on trying to eat your brain and call a truce to make a music video with you instead.
  • Game Breaking Bug: The game has been known to corrupt one's save files numerous times in a row. You'll quit the game, load it later to play again, and find that the game forgets you've done anything.
    • This can be circumvented for the PC version by finding the "userdata" folder and backing it up.
    • Pop Cap claims they fixed it in the Game of the Year edition.
  • Gatling Good: The "four at a time" Gatling Pea.
  • Giant Mook: The Gargantuar.
  • Glass Cannon: The Chomper. It's able to devour a whole zombie, but it's also very vulnerable to attacks when chewing.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: One of the Gargantuar's possible weapons is another zombie.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Imitater says that all they had in the Zombie Wars were guts. Guts and a spoon.
  • Harmless Freezing: Slightly averted with the Ice-Shroom. It temporarily freezes all enemies on the screen and slows them down when they thaw out, but it does one pea shot's worth of damage to all of them.
    • They also allow you to temporarily see the location of the invisible zombies in the Invisighoul mini-game.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Various, see those under Improvised Armour.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Tangle Kelp thinks of himself as invisible. Not so much.
  • Hold the Line: Every level.
  • Humongous Mecha: The final level has a giant zombie mecha that shoots fire and ice balls. And it's awesome.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Incredibly Lame Puns -- and plant-y of 'em!
  • Improbable Weapon User: The Gargantuar flattens your plants with a lamppost, a street sign, a broken-off telephone pole or another zombie; Dr Zomboss' Humongous Mecha throws vehicles Winnebagos at them.
  • Improvised Armour: Zombies with bucket/road cone helmets and screen door shields. A special shroom can bypass the latter.
  • Improvised Umbrella: The Umbrella Leaf.
  • Incendiary Exponent: The Torchwood plant, which sets on fire ammo from plants behind it. As a cheap way to double your damage output this puts it into Awesome Yet Practical territory.
  • Insane Proprietor: Crazy Dave, of course.
  • Interface Screw
    • The final backyard night level takes place during a storm. The only time you can see is when lightning flashes.
    • The fog levels make 1/3 to 1/2 of the stage invisible (though you can sort of make out what's coming in the top and bottom rows).
  • Interspecies Romance: The Cactus has been seeing an armadillo for a while and it really seems to be working out.
  • Invisible Monsters: The minigame "Invisi-Ghoul". ALL the zombies in this minigame are invisible, including the dreaded zomboni that pulls One Hit Kills on your plants. You can't use spikerocks here as the minigame is done in conveyor style.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The Jack-in-the-Box zombie plods along, cranking a box that's playing "Pop Goes the Weasel"... and explodes.
  • The Juggernaut: Being zombies, all zombies have shades of this, but Gargantuars take the cake, being able to instantly smash obstacles, trample down plants and being very durable, hulking monstrosities.


  • Keet: Coffee Bean sure does get excited.
  • Kill It with Fire: Among the methods are blazing peas (by using Torchwoods), chili peppers and exploding mushrooms.
  • Kill It with Ice: Likewise, Snow Peas, the Ice-Shroom and Wintermelons freeze the zombies, making them slower (and in the case of the Ice-Shroom, completely immobile for a short period of time).
    • Completely averted if you try to use Snow Peas with Torchwoods. You either freeze-unfreeze the zombies every second or your frozen peas are unfrozen before they hit the Zombie.
    • You can kill weaker zombies with just Wintermelons.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "Cabbage-pult is okay with launching cabbages at zombies. It's what he's paid for, after all, and he's good at it. He just doesn't understand how the zombies get up on the roof in the first place."
  • Lampshade-Wearing: The traffic cone variant is used by some zombies.
  • Last Stand: The mini-game Last Stand, where you have 5000 in resources and must spend it wisely to get to the next level.
  • Lightning Bruiser
    • The football zombie. He moves twice as fast than regular zombies, eats your plants twice as fast, and he can take a lot of damage. In the flash version's Survival: Endless mode, it's even tougher - it can not only survive instant kill plants, but also about as much damage as the full PC version's Gargantuar.
    • Zombonis. They're fast, have a lot of health, cannot be slowed and their attack instantly crushes your plants! Plus they leave behind an ice trail and unless you Kill It with Fire, it paves the way for bobsled zombies that zip through the freshly created ice trail, creating a huge headache.
    • But as for the plant's side, there's the Melon Launcher, which lobs a watermelon and can damage a large group of zombies and packs a heavy punch on the one it intentionally lands on (meaning it can defeat the Newspaper, Screen Door, and Pole Vaulting Zombie with ease) and reloads quickly enough to keep delivering heavy blows. The upgrade for this plant can freeze groups of zombies, as opposed to the Snow Pea's single shots. Of course, it costs 300 sun points to get...
  • Lily Pad Platform: the Lily Pad for levels that have swimming pools. They must be planted first before any other plant can be placed on the swimming pool.
  • Lost Forever: If you update the game regularly, this happened to the Michael Jackson zombie some time in late 2009. Understandably, some fans of both MJ and PvZ refuse to update their copy for this exact reason after learning that Popcap refused to cave in to the demand of MJ's foundation to give them a cut of the game's profits and replaced the MJ zombie with the Disco Dan Zombie.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Any mission in which your plant seeds come down a conveyor belt. In any mission like this -- of which the final boss is one of them -- you will have to restart at least once.
    • The conveyor belt missions aren't too bad because the plants don't scroll off the end of the belt and you can keep them for when you need them. The real Luck-Based Missions are the few where you have to plant them immediately or very quickly lose them, such as "It's Raining Seeds" and "Vasebreaker".
    • Also, if you're playing the Steam version, no amount of skill will help you get the "China Shop" or "Better Off Dead" achievements if the RNG hates you. Especially egregious for the latter, in which you have to play perfectly and be lucky.
    • Speaking about "Better Off Dead", the achievement in "I, Zombie", the kernel-pult can either be a minor annoyance or a major pain in the rear, due to its random nature of chucking butter that completely stuns your zombies. If you're unlucky enough it may decide to spam butter, and not even a football zombie may be able to survive that if it is constantly hammered with other weak attacks.
    • ANY story mission after you beat the game once. After that, you start at the beginning, but Crazy Dave forces three random plants into your setup. Now, this doesn't sound so bad at first, but it will completely ruin any strategy you've developed by the endgame, which typically use all the available slots. What makes this worse is that simply going back to the menu and coming back to Story won't give you three more random plants, just the same three. So, to try your luck with the three random plants, you have to close the game, then launch it again.
  • Mad Eye
    • All the zombies have one eye bigger than the other. Especially noticeable with the Gargantuar.
    • And Crazy Dave, of course.
  • Magic Mushroom: The Hypno-shroom
  • Man-Eating Plant: No men, but Chompers chew up and swallow a fair bit of zombies. They look suspiciously like purple piranha plants from Super Mario. Or Audrey, who the Chomper auditioned to play.
  • Manly Tears: The Tall-nut. Garlic also gets them after being chewed on long enough.
  • Mercy Invincibility: If one of your lawnmowers/pool/roof cleaners gets used, no zombies will attack that row for the next minute or two, giving you time to set up your defenses again.
  • Meta Powerup: The Twin Sunflower and Coffee Bean.
  • Metal Slime: Yeti Zombie.
  • Mighty Glacier: Gargantuars are very, very slow but they can take and dish out some major damage.
  • Mind Screw
    • Flower Pot being a plant in which you plant plants attempts to induce this in you with the flavor text.

Flower Pot: I'm a pot for planting. Yet I'm also a plant. HAS YOUR MIND EXPLODED YET?!?!?!

    • Also could go for Cat-tail, although it's more of her not wanting to be pigeonholed more than anything.
  • Mini-Mook: The minigame "Big Trouble Little Zombie" features these.

Crazy Dave: Defend your shins!

  • Mono-Gender Monsters: There are no female zombies in this game.
  • Mook Chivalry
    • The digger zombie can tunnel beneath all your defenses, but once it reaches the other side of the lawn... it turns around and starts eating the plants in your back row. (Apparently it got confused while spinning like a top to emerge.) Problematic, but not as much as if it'd just go directly for the house.
    • Also true for the Final Boss: why doesn't Dr. Zomboss just drop a zombie down your chimney?
  • Mook Maker: A zombie that dances and spawns four others that follow it. Zomboni-driving zombies are always inevitably followed by a team of bobsled riders. Also, the Final Boss.
    • If you hit Dancing Zombie with a Hypno Shroom, he becomes your Mook Maker.
  • Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Zomboss has a doctorate in Thanatology. (That's the study of death. Thanatos is Greek for death.)
  • More Dakka: A typical lawn once you get all your plants set up. The Gattling Pea in particular embodies this. Combine two Gattling Peas with a Torchwood and nothing will survive [2], although of course it's kind of expensive.
  • Multishot: Threepeater, though it is a plant with 3 heads.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Snow Pea gets a lot of this.
  • New Game+: Once you beat Dr. Zomboss, you can start all over again with the seeds you've gathered so far -- only Crazy Dave gets to pick three of them, the second play through.
    • You also unlock new mini-games, more items from Crazy Dave's shop, and the Yeti Zombie.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Every single enemy that your plants fight is a zombie. Well, except for Zomboni, who's an alien that often hangs out with zombies and is frequently confused with them.
    • Also, robots aren't zombies. But the guy piloting it is definitely one.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The zombies have not only mastered many professions such as deep sea diving, pole vaulting, and football, but there's an actual giant zombie bot at the end. A zombie in a robot. With a doctorate in Thanatology, no less.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted in the "I, Zombie" minigame, where you control what zombies to spawn against (paper cutout) plants in order to reach the delicious brains they're guarding. The Excuse Plot of the "I, Zombie" minigame is also a gold mine. Basically, Crazy Dave agreed to train the zombies on how to break into lawns and eat brains better, but he can't. So he gets you to train the zombies. You know, the zombies that are trying to eat your brains.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Dancing Zombie's bio. He, by all accounts, looks like some Pop artist who made The Moonwalk famous. Made more sense back before the change to Disco Dan.

"Any resemblance between Dancing Zombie and persons living or dead is purely coincidental."

  • Nonsense Classification: The "suburban almanac" that describe all the different plants and zombies in the game. This encyclopedia, not taking itself very seriously, keep mixing up the concept of "individual" with the concept of "species". As in, every plant is an individual character, with its own back story, but there are several (a whole species worth) of them. We also have the Zomboni who is not a zombie but an alien who likes to hang out with zombies and the zombie yeti, who we don't know anything about... except for his name, birth date, social security number, educational history, past work experience and sandwich preference (roast beef and Swiss).
  • No Zombie Cannibals: Averted if they're hypnotized.
  • Not Good with People: Crazy Dave demonstrates this in "I, Zombie," in which he agrees to let zombies practice attacking your house, as long as no plants are harmed. Thanks, neighbor.
  • Nuke'Em
    • Doom-shrooms. These things literally define the term "Mushroom Cloud".
    • Cob Cannons are not in fact cannons but corn-missile launchers. And those missiles are VERY destructive.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The very existence of the Giga-Gargantuar and requiring extra sun for every successive upgrade plant in Survival: Endless were due to players initially finding the mode too easy. George Fan claimed that people were getting to the 100th wave in 3 hours at first. [dead link]
  • One-Hit Kill: Some of your plants, namely the Cherry Bomb, Potato Mine, Squash, Doom Shroom, Tangle Kelp, Jalapeno Pepper, Chomper and Cob Cannon are capable of killing almost all types of enemies in one hit. But mind you: some of the enemies, most notably the Final Boss, the Zombonis, the Jack-in-the-Box zombies, the Bungee Zombies and Gargantuar are also able to do this to your plants!
    • In terms of resistance, the Gargantuar takes two normal One-Hit Kill plants to die. This is because those plants actually make "only" ninety damage (with "one damage" being equal one pea) and a Gargantuar takes 150 damage. The Giga-Gargantuar (which appears in Survival: Endless only) takes 300 damage and needs three[3] or four insta-kills to die. Spikerocks can take nine hits from Gargantuar or Zombonis.
    • Chomper eats almost any zombie with a bite, but makes only two damage to Gargantuar and Giga-Gargantuar.
    • Lawn Mowers, Pool Cleaners and Roof Cleaners kill every zombie in their line, even Giga-Gargantuars.


  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: No, the Cherry Bombs will not explode, nor will they detonate. They decided to explodonate. Powie!
  • Perpetual Frowner: Ice-shroom, although it is because of a childhood injury that left his facial nerves paralyzed.
  • Pinata Enemy: The Zombie Yeti.
  • Portal Network: The minigame "Portal Combat" has you fighting zombies while a somewhat confusing system of portals (Zombies ready to stumble into the gateways are fired upon by plants in front of the corresponding portal, for example) shifts around the field.
  • Power Floats: It's more obvious in the zen garden, but the Coffee Bean floats above the soil.
  • Power-Up Magnet: The Gold Magnet.
  • Psycho for Hire: "The Doom-Shroom would have no qualms about destroying your house instead. It wouldn't be hard, or so he claims."
  • Punny Name: Most of the plants, almost to the point of Flintstone Theming.
  • Puzzle Pan: Before a level, the camera will pan and show you the zombie types you will encounter in the level.
  • Raising the Steaks: "The dolphin is also a zombie."
  • Rake Take: You can buy a rake for your lawn that kills the first zombie that it encounters; it lasts three levels, after which you can buy a new one.
    • Game Breaking Bug, though a mild one: make sure the rake upgrade isn't active when you play "Portal Combat". The rake spawns in a random row, and the first zombie to appear will appear in that row. "Portal Combat" won't spawn zombies in rows where they could immediately walk into a portal and appear in the back of your lawn... but the rake overrides that mercy.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning
    • Happens literally during the Final Boss -- if his eyes glow red, you better hope you have an empty pot and an Ice-Shroom on hand...
    • Doom-Shroom also has these. Not surprising, considering what he does...
    • Giga-Gargantuars. As if the resident Mighty Glaciers couldn't get any worse, these guys can take a lot more damage than a regular Gargantuar.
    • The Newspaper zombie's eyes will glow red when you push his Berserk Button.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Averted. Zombies can be destroyed independently of where the attacks hit them (in the torso for peas, in the feet for Spikeweeds or Spikerocks... only the catapult plants hit the head). Zombies get decapitated at zero "hit point", but don't instantly die; they either take a couple hits before falling apart, or step a few more times before falling down (essentially acting as a weak, temporary shield for intact zombies).
  • Rule of Cool: You are a homeowner with an insane neighbor and all you have is vegetable-based ordnance to defend your home from waves of zombies. Why? Who cares?!
  • Rule of Cute: Applies to both the plants and the zombies.
  • Rule of Fun: Similarly, who cares where all these genetically modified war-plants came from? (Answer: Bloom & Doom Seed Co.) If it kills zombies, then all is well and good.
  • Schmuck Bait: In the help section:
When the zombies come, just sit there and don't do anything. You win the game when the zombies get to your house.
—This help section brought to you by the zombies.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The survival modes naturally lends themselves to these. Only night plants, only night plants during the day (except for air defense), as few rows as possible, no plants that shoot, etc.
  • Shout-Outs:
  • Shows Damage: On the plant side, the wall-nut, tall-nut, pumpkin, and spikerocks show damage. Most zombies show damage with their forms of defense being damaged and then destroyed, and then their arms falling off. The Zombonis will also show damage.
  • The Siege
  • Smash Mook: The Gargantuar plays this straight and also subverts it. Played straight by the fact that it usually does nothing other than 1) advance forward 2) smash ANY of your plants flat with a sign, telephone pole, lamp-post, or another zombie. Subverted by the fact that it also has the ability to launch an Imp into your defenses once its health gets low.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: A few of the more potentially dangerous zombies give off a sound cue before they enter the screen, or when they are on the screen (Zombonis, Dolphin riders, Jack-in-the-box, Balloons, Diggers, Pogos)
  • Speaking Simlish: A variant; Crazy Dave is crazy enough that he's no longer actually speaking anything but gibberish, but you've known him long enough that you can translate.
    • Also likely done deliberately to save on disk space. The whole game only takes up 25 MB.[4]
    • And to ease up localization in other languages. The French version has every text dutifully translated, but the audio (mostly "Braaaains") and the final song stay in English.
  • Spikes of Doom: Spikeweeds/Spikerocks. On top of causing Damage Over Time against normal zombies, One-Hit Kill against vehicle enemies.
  • Splash Damage: Melon-pult and Winter Melon. Flaming peas too, but on a very short radius.
  • Spiritual Successor: to Insaniquarium. It actually started out in development as a sequel to Insaniquarium. This explains the appearance of Stinky the Snail and the Zombiquarium minigame.
  • Spread Shot: Threepeaters and Starfruit are able to do this. It's also what makes a field full of Threepeaters and Starfruit particularly dangerous to zombies. Not to mention those two plants can easily screw up your zombies, especially Imps, in "I, Zombie".
  • Stealth Pun: The Lily Pad is a plant that basically acts as a water platform for plants that can't live in water. It's a support class.
  • The Stoic: Lily Pad is described as this.
    • The Tall-nut is also this. Wall-nut starts out smiling, but it turns into a pained-looking frown as its "skull" is slowly chewed away. But the Tall-nut's stoic glower is marred, no matter the damage taken, by no more than a single tear.
  • Stone Wall: The Wall-nut and Tall-nut serve no purpose other than defending your easily-killed attackers by taking damage for them. And they sure can take LOTS of it.
    • Pumpkins turn any plant into these. Including the Nuts.
  • Sudden Musical Ending
  • Sugar Apocalypse: Cute little plants who happily defend your home and fight zombies, most of them eventually doomed to be munched on.
  • Summon Backup Dancers: The Dancing Zombie's power.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Dr. Zomboss would be invincible if he didn't lower his robot's head. And in fact, a glitch may occur in the minigame where he in fact doesn't.
  • Tagline: "Get ready to soil your plants!"
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: After a while, just about any lawn can turn into this.
  • This Banana Is Armed: The game is based on the premise that you defend your home during a Zombie Apocalypse with assorted vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and other plants that can do massive damage to endless hordes of invading zombies.
  • Translated Cover Version: Laura Shigihara has written the original English theme tune and a Japanese version (with her father taking over as the zombie voices), there is also a Spanish version.
  • Tunnel King: Digger zombies
  • Twitchy Eye
    • Jack-in-the-box Zombie has quite a strong one and has the chills from his insanity.
    • Wall-Nut gets one when he's taken enough damage, poor guy.
    • Crazy Dave, too.


Not to be mistaken for a Zamboni® brand ice resurfacing machine. Zamboni® and the image of the ice resurfacing machine are registerd trademarks of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc., and "Zomboni" is used with permission. For all your non-zombie-related ice resurfacing needs, visit!

  • Why Won't You Die?: You will probably find yourself saying this at some point. If not at the bucket zombies, at the football zombies, and if not at the football zombies, definitely at Gargantuar or the Giga-Gargantuar.
  • You All Look Familiar: Pretty much all the zombies have similar face designs. However, realizing that this game only takes up 25 MB and was made to be available online, it's easier to take in than most examples.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Sun is the form of currency for your plants, dropped from the sky on day levels and produced by Sunflowers and Sun-shrooms.
    • In Survivor Endless, upgradable plants keep costing more and more Sun as you plant them. This makes those Game Breaker plants prohibitively expensive.
    • For whatever reason, Zombies in "I, Zombie" require sunlight as well.
  • Zerg Rush: The main tactic of the zombies; especially true in Survival Mode.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Now in Jock, Salaryman, and Dolphin flavors!
  1. To put it in perspective, three Threepeaters cost 1075 Sun and get you 9 peas worth of damage. For a slight time delay and 75 Sun less you can buy five Repeaters and get 10 peas worth of damage.
  2. except maybe a Giga-Gigantuar
  3. Three insta-kill plants together make 270 damage, and in practice, when Giga-Gargantuar appears, the player uses to have planted either a lot of Winter Melons, Gloom-shrooms or other Glass Cannons to make the thirty damage that remain.
  4. Unless you have the GOTY edition, which takes up 50 MB due to the extra features it comes with, or the Play Station 3 edition, which takes up a whopping 100MB due to all the support libraries being self-contained.