Imitater is a plant in Plants vs. Zombies, Plants vs. Zombies 2, Plants vs. Zombies: Journey to the West and Plants vs. Zombies: Great Wall Edition. Its special ability is that it can copy any plant and its abilities, except upgrade plants and itself. It can be used to effectively cut the recharge time of plants in half, although it takes up another seed slot.
Imitater's name is a portmanteau of the words "imitator," referring to the fact that it can copy any plant and "tater," a slang word for potato, the real-life plant this plant is based on.
Plants vs. Zombies
After purchasing the Imitater, it appears on the lower right part of the plant selection screen in a new added box on the side when choosing your seeds. Selecting it brings up an overlay, asking which plant it shall imitate for the round. After selecting, it will take up a slot as the imitated plant in a melancholy gray or shaded green (depending on version).
Plants vs. Zombies 2
The Imitater is a premium plant that can be purchased for $2.99, USD. Selecting the Imitater's seed packet causes it to imitate the last seed selected, making it impossible to bring an Imitater plant without the regular version. After selecting, it will take up a slot as the imitated plant in a melancholy gray. The Imitater transforms notably faster in this game. However, the copied version will have the original color.
On August 13, 2015, PopCap wanted the players to vote Imitater or Squash, which one should cost gems for a limited time. On August 18, 2015, Imitater won the competition; and the day after that, it became available in the shop for 159 gems until August 25, 2015. This offer came about again around August 9th, 2016 to August 17th, 2016. The price is the same.
Plants vs. Zombies
Imitaters let you use two of the same plant during a level!
"I remember the Zombie Wars back in '76," says Imitater in a raspy, old-man's voice. "Back then, we didn't have all these fancy peashooters and jalapenos. All we had was guts. Guts and a spoon."
Plants vs. Zombies 2
Imitaters let you use two of the same plant during a level!
Special: can imitate any other plant
Having studied French Theater at Julienne, the Imitater went to the streets with his art, and has perfected his technique he calls "Potato stuck in a box".
The Imitater, when planted, will appear as itself, but after three seconds (1.5 seconds in the DS version) it will transform into its copied form, and also it has the disadvantage of being defeated while transforming. The copied form costs as much and behaves just like the original plant. On most versions of the original Plants vs. Zombies, the plant will appear monochrome (silver) colored. On the iOS and Android versions, as well as in Plants vs. Zombies 2, the Imitater version is the same color as the regular plant. Imitated explosives will explode, and an Imitater Tall-nut has the same health as a regular one (but can be jumped over before turning into the imitated Tall-nut, and can be eaten by the zombies at the same rate as eating regular plants).
Note: The Imitater cannot copy upgrade plants such as the Gloom-shroom or the Cob Cannon without hacking. It also cannot imitate more than one plant at once or itself. But since Twin Sunflower, Spikerock and Winter Melon are no longer upgrades in Plants vs. Zombies 2, Imitater can imitate them without hacking in that game.
In Plants vs. Zombies, it is necessary to choose the original seed packet as well or to use the original version of the plant before using the Imitater version. There is no clear benefit to having only the Imitater, as it requires time to transform but is otherwise identical to the original plant. Therefore, an Imitater can be eaten, crushed, or smashed by a zombie while transforming, ruining the player's advantage to copy the plant. So planting imitated plants like a Cherry Bomb should be planted further than a normal one from zombies. In Plants vs. Zombies 2, the Imitater, when planted, takes less time to transform, and is invincible while doing so, but now clones the seed packet above it and cannot be selected first without exploiting a glitch.
Plants vs. Zombies
The Imitater can be used to effectively halve the recharge time for the selected plant, assuming the copied plant was also selected. At the starting of a Survival: Endless level, use the Imitater to imitate a Sunflower to make your sun production faster.
Good candidates for Imitation:
- Cherry Bomb
- Potato Mine
- Marigold (if gold farming)
- Puff-shroom (delaying zombies)
- Tangle Kelp
- Starfruit (if playing Seeing Stars or trying to get Shooting Star)
- Hypno-shroom (if level has many tough zombies like Football Zombie that can eat but not with non-eating ones)
- Any other plant with a slow or very slow recharge.
The only disadvantages to the Imitater are that it can only imitate one plant in a level, the time it takes to transform, and that the Imitaters consume one seed packet if one wishes to use it effectively. When placed right in front of zombies, they may eat it before it finishes transforming. This is mainly a problem when using it to imitate explosives and Hypno-shroom which are placed right into the middle of the group of zombies they are intended to destroy and it also creates a problem when trying to use it as a last minute defensive plant, as it takes a regular amount of chomps to eat while it is transforming. It isn't impossible to use effectively, but there is a risk that it will be eaten before it explodes. This is also a risk if you are using an Imitater Tall-nut, as it could get eaten before it imitates the plant. Fortunately, Imitaters regenerate health to the amount of the imitated plant upon finishing transforming.
Plants vs. Zombies 2
The Imitater in this game is now a premium plant and must be purchased with a real-life currency. Imitater can now mimic plants in this game much faster than the previous one, estimating the time for approximately one second. Also, Imitater is more useful in Endless Zones, especially in higher levels. Alongside, they cannot be bitten/eaten in this game.
Good candidates for imitation:
- Sunflower (faster sun development, alternative for Twin Sunflower)
- Twin Sunflower (for faster production)
- Potato Mine and Primal Potato Mine (easily kills more zombies that appear in the lawn)
- Lightning Reed (for a much faster defense establishment against Zombie Chickens)
- Tall-nut (to provide an immediate stop from Zombie Bull Riders hurled by Zombie Bulls if ever one managed to appear in a very early state)
- Jalapeno (hastens zombie bombardment in rows. You may use this on two column planks only in Dead Man's Booty)
- Cherry Bomb and Grapeshot (massive damage to zombies in three different rows, and if Grapeshot, allows more grapes to bounce)
- Power Lily (creates two Plant Food)
- Spring Bean (bounces two zombies at once)
- Squash (squashes zombies much faster)
- Chili Bean (kills and stuns zombies quicker)
- E.M.Peach (stops machines quicker)
- Grave Buster (removes two tombstones, use this on Pyramid of Doom and Arthur's Challenge in levels with large number of tombstones)
- Hypno-shroom (hastens zombie hypnotism)
- Sun Bean (hastens sun farming from zombies)
- Iceberg Lettuce (freezes zombies faster)
- Sun-shroom (for faster production)
- Homing Thistle (for faster defense establishment)
- Hot Potato (for melting two frozen blocks in Frostbite Caves)
- Tangle Kelp (for drowning two zombies instead of one in Big Wave Beach)
- Pepper-pult (puts them out quicker, as Pepper-pults have a slower recharge than other lobbed-shot plants. Good for Frostbite Caves)
- Stunion (easily stuns two zombie groups in close times)
- Lava Guava (for delivering a more crippling blow for zombie hordes)
- Stallia (for slowing down more zombie groups)
- Gold Leaf (for creating two Gold Tiles at a time in Lost City)
- Ghost Pepper (because of the slow recharge and short lifespan, mimicking this will make the player have a better chance of putting down more Ghost Peppers)
- Toadstool (for gulping down more zombies)
- Thyme Warp (helps send more zombies back, additionally with its very slow recharge)
- Electric Blueberry (creates two instant kill clouds)
- Intensive Carrot (for reviving two defeated plants instead of one)
- Jack O' Lantern (burns more zombies)
- Perfume-shroom (enchants two rows of dinosaurs)
- Primal Sunflower (faster sun production)
- Shrinking Violet (shrinks more zombies to half health)
- Moonflower (faster sun production and more space to shadow plants)
- Shadow-shroom (poisons more zombies)
- Grimrose (allows more zombies to be sucked in)
- Gold Bloom (produces 750 sun total)
- Explode-O-Nut (allows more zombies to be stalled and destroyed)
- Aloe (allows more plants to be healed at a quicker rate)
- Witch Hazel (allows more zombies to be transformed)
- Any other slow recharging plants
As with its previous game, it can only copy one plant but this time, it will mimic what is above the Imitater. For example, if you have chosen Pea Pod first then underneath is an Imitater, it will mimic the Pea Pod. Generally, you can never ever select the Imitater first this time. You have to chose the original seed first before the Imitater itself. This does not apply, however, if the original plant is deselected while the Imitater is moving to the seed tray. If a plant is boosted and one imitates it, the Imitater will also be boosted, making it useful, since the player can activate the boosted plant's Plant Food ability more quickly.
Plants vs. Zombies Wiki has a gallery for Imitater.
- It may be a representation of a mime, as it is black and white and wears a beret.
- This is further suggested in Plants vs. Zombies 2, where it wears a black and white face mask, and its almanac says that it studied at a French Theater and then took its art to the streets, like how professional mimes study and then perform on the streets.
- It also mentions its technique "Potato Stuck in a Box", a reference to the famous mime act where a mime pretends that he is stuck in an invisible box.
- It is the plant equivalent for Presto, a character in Insaniquarium, a game also made by PopCap. Just like Imitater, Presto can turn into any pet.
- It is the only plant without any statistics in the Suburban Almanac such as sun and damage. This is because the Imitater will have exactly the same stats as the imitated plant.
Specific to Plants vs. Zombies
- In its Suburban Almanac entry, it says that it remembers the Zombie Wars of '76 (1976, to be exact), obviously meaning there was more than one battle that zombies kept losing, since there are still humans.
- It is the one of the only four gray plants in the game, along with Spikerock, Grave Buster, and Doom-shroom.
- Its statistics can be shown on the top left hand corner of the Suburban Almanac, where there is a small picture of itself that is only found when it is bought. This can be hard for players to find on their own, so the Tree of Wisdom will tell them it is there.
- In iOS and Android versions, it will have a regular seed packet icon in the Almanac, probably because there is no Tree of Wisdom.
- It, when flattened, will turn into the flat version of the copied plant with its original color, even before transforming.
- In iOS and Android versions, it turns into an exact replica without the black and white color, although on the seed packet appears greenish.
- It cannot copy upgrade plants (most likely for balancing reasons) although the imitated plant can be upgraded.
- If an imitated plant is upgraded, it returns to the "normal" color of the upgrade.
- Imitated plants are gray, yet the projectiles they fire are exactly the same color as the original projectile.
- Since the copied plants of the Imitater are not monochrome in the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad versions, the seed packets for the copied plants are different from the PC and Mac version. In the iPod Touch and iPhone version, the seed packets are shaded by a green square. In the iPad, the seed packet is shaded by a yellow square.
- It is the only non-upgrade plant that is bought from Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies, excluding the Zen Garden plants.
- Besides Flower Pot, it is the only non-upgrade plant that cannot be obtained for the Zen Garden.
- Its transforming animation is not shown on the DS version. Instead, it stands for a while, then spins quickly once and turn into the imitated plant with soil under it and a planting sound.
- It is one of two potatoes in the game, the other being the Potato Mine.
- When it copies a plant, the copied plant is in full health, even if the it has been damaged.
- Its forms are not completely grayscale, instead they just become whiter so a little color can still be seen.
- In the Xbox Live Arcade version of Plants vs. Zombies, in Co-op Mode, the game will not let the player pick it when there are already three seeds or more selected.
- It seed packets says "Bloom and Doom" instead of the full "Bloom and Doom Seed Co.."
- It is the only plant that can be planted on any environment. (directly on the roof, in a Flower Pot, directly in the pool, on a grave, on a Lily Pad, on the ground and on another plant Pumpkin and Coffee Bean).
- Its eyes look exactly like a zombie's eyes.
- If an imitated plant gets squashed by a Zomboni, Catapult Zombie, or a Gargantuar, squashed imitated plant will be in color.
- When an imitated Chomper eats a zombie, the zombie's arm turns black and white.
- In the iPad version, if you choose the original plant first, then open the Imitater overlay, the seed packet will darken as if it were not recommended for the level.
- When it is spinning, you can see eyebrows on its face. However, in the iPad version, it always has eyebrows.
- While spinning, it looks like he has a lot of arms on its back.
- When the it is spawning smoke and gets finished eaten, the smoke will not disappear when it has been eaten but disappears at the same rate as the smoke of a non-eaten Imitater.
- It is the only known plant that battled Zombies before the events of the game.
- In an update to the Android version of the game, the its seed packet changed color when in the seed selection screen to gray, but in-game, it is still green and imitated plants are still full-colored.
- It is one of three plants in the game that make a reference to another plant in their Suburban Almanac description with the others being Tall-nut and Fume-shroom.
- It is the most expensive plant in Crazy Dave's Twiddydinkies.
- In Nintendo DS version of Plants vs. Zombies, it does not have eyebrows; it spins so quickly, the player cannot see them without hacking the game.
- If the player uses the Android-Imitating Upgrade plants glitch, and imitates Imitater, it will keep imitating itself over and over again.
Specific to Plants vs. Zombies 2
- It does not have the plant-choosing screen. Instead, it becomes the previous plant that the player chooses when they tap on it.
- In levels where the player must use pre-selected plants, it's only possible to imitate the last pre-selected plant, as it only imitates the plant that got selected before it.
- Imitated plants keep the same color, not gray, similar to its version in the iOS and Android versions of the original game.
- It spins and transforms faster in this game, and cannot be eaten nor destroyed while doing so.
- From the 1.4.0/1.4.1 update of the Chinese version, the spinning animation was removed and it plants now like normal plants.
- However, in 1.9.1 update the animation returns.
- In the Almanac and the seed selection (before choosing a plant to imitate), it will say that it costs 0 sun.
- It is one of only plants without a costume obtainable during normal gameplay, the other is Marigold (although its costumes are found in the game files).
- It is also the only plant with no alternative costumes found in the game files.
- Its appearance is more likely a mime.
- When it copies a boosted plant, the Imitated version of the plant will also be boosted.
- Unlike in the first game, its color is now brown, giving it a more potato-like appearance.
- It and Tile Turnip are the only plants that do not have a constant sun cost.
- Tile Turnip gradually doubles the sun cost whenever one is planted in the lawn, while its sun cost depends on the plant it is imitating.
- It, Tile Turnip, Intensive Carrot, Bloomerang, and Red Stinger are the only plants that spin while performing their actions.
- If an Imitated Pea Pod is planted on an already existent Pea Pod, the imitating animation will show only for the first one planted.
- It, Squash, Torchwood, and Starfruit are the only premium plants that were available for gems for a limited time.
- This is the first plant which can turn into another plant, with the second one being Intensive Carrot and the third being Escape Root.