Plants vs. Zombies fans are worried. After releasing the beloved original to much acclaim back in 2009, developer PopCap Games made what seemed like a series of bad decisions. First came the release of a Facebook spin-off (which turned out to be pretty good), then came news of a bizarre, gritty third-person shooter subtitled Garden Warfare. Worst of all, the long-awaited sequel was going to be free-to-play, a payment structure that has nearly crippled games like Real Racing 3. It seemed destined to be yet another example of a beloved franchise ruined by new monetization strategies. Thankfully, Plants vs. Zombies 2, which launches tomorrow on iOS, is the rare example of a free game done right.

The game plays identically to the original: you place plants on the left side of the screen, while zombies stumble in from the right. Each plant has a different ability — from walnuts that serve as barriers to peashooters that act like automatic turrets — and the goal is to prevent the undead from getting through your defenses. It's the same casual take on strategy that made the first PvZ a breakaway hit, and the sequel doesn't mess with it too much. Instead, it builds on it with new enemies and unit types, and the additions are almost entirely welcome. The fire-breathing snapdragon is a particular standout, shooting flames at multiple zombies at once, while the undead ranks have been strengthened by sarcophagi-wearing zombies and a pirate captain and his plant-stealing parrot. Combined with some new level designs, the additional plants and zombies add plenty of interesting strategic opportunities to PvZ 2. There are also new mini-games and challenges to keep things fresh.