- For the similar game mode in Plants vs. Zombies, see Mini-games.
- For the Brain Busters in Plants vs. Zombies Online, see Brain Busters (PvZO).
Brain Busters are levels in Plants vs. Zombies 2 which are usually more challenging than regular levels and also add different mechanics, conditions, or objectives to gameplay. They are marked on the map as semi-spheres with striped icons, instead of solid colored semi-spheres like regular levels. In the Chinese version (before the 1.8 uptade) and before the 1.7 update in the International version, these were unlocked using world-specific keys. Some Brain Busters are remakes of Plants vs. Zombies mini-games, but most of them are new. Gameplay wise, they play out similarly to the mini-games and puzzles of the first game. Some Brain Busters are exclusive to specific worlds, some to multiple worlds and some appear in all worlds.
List of Brain Busters
In this Brain Buster, the player has to stop the zombies from eating/destroying the endangered plants on the yellow and black striped tiles. Each world usually has a certain plant, but some worlds have levels with various endangered plants. Some even contain 2-3 types of plants in the same level.
- Ancient Egypt - Days 15, 20 and 32
- Pirate Seas - Days 16, 24 and 32
- Wild West - Days 16 and 24
- Wild West (Chinese) - Days 16, 20 and 24
- Frostbite Caves - Days 15, 23 and 27
- Lost City - Day 15
- Far Future - Days 15, 20 and 29
- Far Future (Chinese) - Days 9 and 15
- Dark Ages - Nights 12 and 19
- Dark Ages (Chinese) - Nights 12 and 19
- Neon Mixtape Tour - Days 5, 15, and 26
- Neon Mixtape Tour (Chinese) - Day 14
- Jurassic Marsh - Day 15 and 36
- Big Wave Beach - Days 15, 23 and 30
- Modern Day - Days 15 and 39
- Selected Piñata Parties
The player has to use the plants pre-selected by Crazy Dave. Otherwise, the player "would have risked distorting reality," according to Penny.
- Ancient Egypt - Days 11, 21, 28 and 34
- Pirate Seas - Days 5, 18 and 29
- Wild West - Day 9 and 22
- Frostbite Caves - Days 14 and 29
- Lost City - Days 8, 14, 21 and 31
- Far Future - Days 6, 17 and 28
- Dark Ages - Nights 8 and 18
- Neon Mixtape Tour - Days 9, 11, 14 and 31
- Jurassic Marsh - Days 9, 14, 29, 31, 34 and 38
- Big Wave Beach - Days 14 and 31
- Modern Day - Days 9, 14 and 42
- Minority of Piñata Parties
This Brain Buster is similar to the original Last Stand from Plants vs. Zombies. The player has to plan a defense to survive the incoming onslaught using a limited amount of sun. No sun-producing plants or free plants can be used (except Ancient Egypt - Day 24 when you can use Iceberg Lettuce)
- Ancient Egypt - Days 18, 24 and 33
- Pirate Seas - Days 14, 22, 31 and 34
- Wild West - Days 6 and 18
- Frostbite Caves - Days 12 and 28
- Far Future - Days 11, 22 and 27
- Dark Ages - Nights 6 and 15
- Neon Mixtape Tour - Days 13 and 24
- Jurassic Marsh - Days 22, 27 and 41
- Big Wave Beach - Days 12 and 29
- Modern Day - Day 37
Keys needed (versions 1.6 and under): one
- Ancient Egypt - Days 4 and 29
- Pirate Seas - Days 27 and 32
- Frostbite Caves - Days 3, 5, 8, 10, 18, 21 and 25
- Lost City - Days 3, 5, 9, 13 and 18
- Far Future - Days 16 and 31
- Dark Ages - Nights 4 and 13
- Neon Mixtape Tour - Days 3, 6, 10, 19, 22 and 27
- Jurassic Marsh - Days 3, 7, 19, 35 and 39
- Big Wave Beach - Days 3, 5, 10, 18, 21 and 26
- Modern Day - Days 3, 19, and 25
- Majority of Piñata Parties
Keys needed (versions 1.6 and under): four
Keys needed (versions 1.6 and under): three
The player must blast away as many Seagull Zombies as possible using the 5 provided Coconut Cannons to beat the target score. As each level is completed, the score goal is increased by Penny. Combos can be made if more Seagull Zombies are killed with the same hit.
Keys needed (versions 1.6 and under): three
The player has to put the plants in the minecarts strategically to destroy the zombies coming out from the corrals. Corrals with electricity indicate that no zombies are to come from that corral for the wave.
The player must match orbs to attack zombies, but if you stall too long, the zombies will eat the endangered plants. There are various types of orbs, each powering a specific plant.
The player controls a Dodo Rider Zombie past danger to get to the end. This is the 2nd brain buster in which the player controls the zombie(s) instead of the plant(s). The dodo has 3 lives. If the dodo touches the Chomper, gets bit by the Guacodile or falls in the water, the dodo will lose a life. If all 3 lives are lost, the game is over.
Plant packets and hypnotized zombie packets fall from the sky, the player has to plant these in the right place in order to defeat the zombies. This Brain Buster is very similar to the mini-game It's Raining Seeds from the first game.
Dark Stormy Night
In this Brain Buster, a storm is taking place in the lawn, and the screen will remain dark until lightning flashes, giving the player a brief moment to see what's happening. It is similar to Level 4-10 of Plants vs. Zombies.
The player must break vases to reveal plants seed packets, sun, zombies, or Plant Food. The player has to use the plants he/she gets from the vases to kill the zombies broken from vases.
Played on Lost City - Day 16
In this Brain Buster, there are only three lanes that can be planted on.
Played on Lost City - Day 21
All sun-producing plants except for Gold Bloom, Sun Bean and Toadstool cannot be used in this level. Sun falling from the sky is purple before reaching the ground, turning into their regular yellow shade. Purple sun will explode, taking out plants and zombies only if the player touches them before they reach the ground. However, sun falls from the sky twice as often compared to a normal level.I, Zombie from Plants vs. Zombies, there are plants on the lawn which need to be destroyed in order to beat the level. The player must spawn zombies to eat the plants. Every eaten plant is worth 150 sun.
The plants do ten times their normal damage, and have a faster shooting rate in this Brain Buster. However, there is only one plant available for use. The plant gets XP when killing zombies, and if the plant has enough XP, it will upgrade into a stronger plant. Players need to move the plant on a cart and dodge bombs. This Brain Buster is very similar to the Plants vs. Zombies console mini-game Heavy Weapon.
In this Brain Buster, hands which come from the ground leave "evil" potions on the lawn that can give zombies helpful effects. Visually, the zombies will look bigger when they touch certain potions. They will also flash different colors.
The orange potions make zombies walk faster while the pink potions give them a 25% health increase, according to their maximum health.
In this Brain Buster, the player must defend The Little Pigs from zombies in wolf costumes. All zombies move along a predetermined path. Any plants planted at the left side of the path will be eaten. The zombies have much higher health in this Brain Buster. This is the only Brain Buster to have a completely unique lawn design.
Played on Dark Ages - Night 6
In this Brain Buster, the player must fight zombies only with Hypno-shrooms while "evil" potions appear.
In this Brain Buster, the player must operate Oak Archer to shoot incoming zombies.
In this Brain Buster, the player must use the four types of bulbs from the Bowling Bulb given from a conveyor belt to kill the zombies. Different types of bulbs deal different amounts of damage. The bulbs given are the basic trio of bulbs, along with a Plant Food-powered one. This is similar to Wall-nut Bowling from the first game.
The player controls a Guacodile line which slowly gets longer and longer. The player must try to defeat all the zombies without touching any of their other Guacodiles. The lawn is much larger, and the zombies are smaller. This is the only Brain Buster to have small zombies. This Brain Buster resembles a classic video game called Snake.
In this Brain Buster, the player must break vases to reveal plant seed packets, zombies, or Plant Food. The player has to use the plants he/she gets from the vases to kill the zombies from the vases.
In this Brain Buster, the lawn is filled with plants and the player must swap them either horizontally or vertically to make a match of 3 or more plants which will make them disappear and give sun. Make a match of 4 or more plants will activate their Plant Food effect. Matching three armored defensive plants gives the player significantly more sun than usual. The player can use the sun to upgrade the plants into other different plants. The player must make the specified number of matches to beat the level.
The player must use the plants given to them via conveyor-belt. There are a certain number of petrified Gargantuar Bronzes that will attempt to free themselves from petrification given by the timer. These petrified warriors can be destroyed by plants. If the player fails, the Gargantuar Bronze is free from petrification and is ready to smash the Player's line of defenses. The more petrified Gargantuar Bronzes are there, the harder the battle becomes. The player wins when all zombies are killed.
The player must use a turret to destroy waves of zombies.
The player chooses one from three plant teams and controls a flying plant to defeat incoming zombies.
Similar to the Fright Theater, the player must defend the house from the zombies before destroying it.
- In the dialogue of pre-1.8 versions, Crazy Dave's speech is similar to one in Indiana Jones.
- None of the Last Stand levels, except Ancient Egypt - Day 24, let the player use free plants.
- Stallia could be used anywhere when it was first released, but this was fixed shortly.
- Before the 1.7 update, Brain Busters required all lawn mowers to be un-triggered at the end of the level in order to earn a star.
- Vasebreaker in the international version is not a Brain Buster according to PopCap Games. Instead, it is a separate mini-game.
- Frostbite Caves, Neon Mixtape Tour, Lost City, and Jurassic Marsh are the only worlds to not have their own exclusive Brain Buster.
- However, the Chinese version of Frostbite Caves does have its own Brain Busters.
- Lost City is the only world to have its exclusive Brain Buster on Part 2 only. It is also the only world where its boss battle is a Brain Buster.
- †: Strategy page
*: Unconfirmed name