Thursday, October 31, 2013

Plants vs Zombies 2: Keys (In-Depth Guide)

One of the new features—albeit one that I personally disapprove—of Plants vs Zombies 2 is the use of keys to unlock certain portions of the game. Due to the mobile app’s freemium nature, keys are obtainable through tedious repetition, or you can avail of in-app purchases to get them immediately. This guide attempts to cover every detail about this aspect of PVZ2: how to quickly get them with or without spending any money and where to consume them wisely.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Keys

What are Plants vs Zombies 2 keys?

Along with stars and coins, keys are in-game currencies of PVZ2 to gain access to exclusive content. These include additional levels that reward stars (usually one per level/stage only), plants with unique or useful abilities, and/or boosts—for instance, a permanent, additional slot for Plant Foods. To the surprise of hardly anyone, the only other way to get these unlockables is by paying for a small fee. Keys are also needed for Brain Busters (challenge modes).

Note that keys are restricted to the world they’re found or dropped. To illustrate, you cannot gather keys in Ancient Egypt and use them in the next world, the Pirate Seas. So if you’ve some gates you wish to open in a particular map/world, stay there and gather for their unlockers.

As of this writing, the available variations are the Egypt Key, the Pirate Key, and the Cowboy Key.

Egyptian, Pirate, Cowboy keys

Where do you get keys in Plants vs Zombies 2?

Unlike some plants and game boosters sold solely for real cash in the app’s store, keys can also be obtained by just playing. But the chances of them dropping from slain zombies are very slim. You may end up gathering many stars and killing countless of zombies and yet still have only one or two keys from the spoils of war. Time-wise and if lucky, one can get a key from kills every hour or so.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Gate

Should you choose to use real money and save yourself from hours of grinding, simply tap a locked gate to open a small pane that contain the buy button. On the other hand, don’t choose this option first if you’re still hunting for more stars. You can take advantage of that period to hope for key drops.

What are the fastest ways to get keys in Plants vs Zombies 2?

If you’re a hardcore PVZ2 player who doesn’t want to spend a single dime on in-app purchases, your best choice is grinding. In the world of gamers, grinding is the process of repeatedly doing a task to obtain something. In this case, we do away with those mindless monsters in the hopes of getting keys. It can be tedious, so prepare yourself from the inevitable sickness that is known as boredom.

To minimize the monotony of grinding, choose a map stage/level that you find most comfortable and entertaining. You don’t have to stick to normal levels—you know, the ones where you need to plant Sunflower plants and gather suns to be able to buy weaponized flora. Other levels are applicable too, such as the one with the memory mini-game (tapping two zombies that carry the same symbol to kill them) and the ones that use conveyor belts to give you plants, as long as there are zombies to kill. And speaking of those levels with conveyor belts, their zombies tend to amass faster than normal levels, which usually gain momentum only after a couple of minutes. In other words, also consider choosing a level that spawn a lot of the undead.

A Youtube user claims that Day 11 in Ancient Egypt seems to be a good source of keys. See his video below:

Plants v Zombies 2 - Ancient Egypt Key Location

And like I said already above, be sure to be in the world map of the appropriate time/era. If you’re looking for keys with pyramid heads, for instance, then grind in Ancient Egypt. And once again, the drop chance is very low. Expect some hours to waste for one or two drops.

If you’re one to boast of your PVZ2 tactics, you can play in mini-game or stages in endless mode. These are the Pyramid of Doom in Ancient Egypt, Dead Man’s Booty in Pirate Seas, and Big Bad Butte in Wild West. You can try reaching the highest level you can, while at the same time killing zombies and finding more keys occasionally dropping here and there.

If you’re engaged in Plants vs Zombies 2 as a casual player, that means you can’t afford so many hours of repetitive gameplay for a chance of keys dropping. Fortunately, PopCap and EA have updated the app to include the Treasure Yeti and the Piñata Party. The abominable snowman in the game is a rare zombie that spawns in a random stage in a random world and is estimated to appear once a day. When killed, it drops valuable items such as keys, diamonds, and more. The Piñata Party, on the other hand, is an occasional game mode that becomes available once in a while. If you’re successful in battling zombies from all worlds in this special event, you’re entitled to smash three piñatas for a chance to get power ups/boosters, coins, plant costumes, and keys. Complete three parties in a row to be able to whack a Senior Piñata for a mystery treasure.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Senior Pinata

What should I use my Plants vs Zombies 2 keys for?

Besides opening new paths with more levels that reward stars, keys give access to new plants and power-ups. As the game walks you through the basic gameplay, you’ll end up getting your first unlockable plant, the Bloomerang. It’s a powerful plant that shoots out boomerang petals at multiple enemies.

After Bloomerang, choosing which new plant or booster to unlock is up to you. Here’s my say to what you must pick first:

  • Twin Sunflower: Important. It produces two suns at a time and uses only one ground plot. Later levels will have players conserving empty patches for weaponized plants for firepower, as well as being able to collect more suns.
  • Spikerock: Recommended. The better version of the Spikeweed, this is a great plant for damaging zombies that are tearing down your Wall-Nuts.
  • Plant Food Boost: A good choice. By default, players initially have three slots for Plant Food. Though more than enough especially to expert PVZ2 addicts, three is sometimes insufficient for some later levels.
  • Sun Boost: So-so. Starting with 25 more sun doesn’t exactly give you much of a head start than starting without them. Nevertheless, this is a good boost, though unlock it only after the previous three.
  • Shovel Boost: So-so. It doesn’t take a landscape architect or a green thumb to effectively position plants in the game. If you keep on scooping up plants to free up ground plots, then there’s something wrong with your strategy. A one-fourth refund of sun per shoveled plant isn’t also that significant.
  • Cherry Bomb: So-so. A Cherry Bomb indubitably does incredible damage to zombies, although you can imitate such devastation towards zombies by simply consuming a Plant Food on an appropriate plant.
  • Grave Buster: Least priority. While it gets rid of gravestones in an instant, this plant takes quite a while to recharge. Gravestones don’t also appear in every level, which means unlocking the Grave Buster is relatively not worth the effort.

Do you have more tips and tricks that aren’t mentioned here? Feel free to fire away at the comments below. Let your fellow Plants vs Zombies 2 players know your secrets to keys!