Survival Mode is a game mode in Plants vs. Zombies where the player is tasked to survive continuous waves of zombies. It is also present in Plants vs. Zombies: Journey to the West and Plants vs. Zombies: Great Wall Edition. It is unlocked when Adventure Mode is completed for the first time (beating Dr. Zomboss in the final level and earning the Silver Sunflower Trophy).
Unlike regular levels, the player is allowed to freely choose different seed packets to defend against the zombies every one or two flags (for normal and hard versions respectively) to continue building up their defenses. For each wave of zombies passed, their plants and their sun bank remain unchanged, but any lost Lawn Mowers, Pool Cleaners, or Roof Cleaners will not be restored. After each wave, the player is allowed to replace their chosen seed packets with others if they wish to do so. At the end of the first completion of each Survival level, a trophy is received with a diamond, along with gold coins for any remaining Lawn Mowers, Pool Cleaners, or Roof Cleaners. Subsequent completions will yield a money bag. Survival Mode does not appear in the iPod, iPhone, Nook, and DSiWare versions. Additionally, the iPad and Kindle versions do not include any of the Hard levels. The normal modes last five waves, Hard modes last ten flags (two flags per wave), and Survival: Endless keeps on going indefinitely until either the zombies reach the player's house or the level is restarted.
Normal modes: Day through Roof
In each of these modes, the player must survive five waves of zombies. The zombie concentration is effectively the same as in Adventure Mode levels, so these levels should be pretty easy. Zombies from other areas may show up in some cases. The toughest zombie the player can encounter here is the Football Zombie.
- Flag Zombie
- Conehead Zombie
- Pole Vaulting Zombie
- Buckethead Zombie
- Newspaper Zombie
- Screen Door Zombie
- Football Zombie
- Dancing Zombie (except Roof)
- Backup Dancer (except Roof)
- Ducky Tube Zombie (Pool and Fog)
- Snorkel Zombie (Pool and Fog)
- Zomboni (Fog and Roof)
- Dolphin Rider Zombie (Fog only)
- Jack-in-the-Box Zombie (Fog and Roof)
- Balloon Zombie (Fog and Roof)
- Digger Zombie (Fog only)
- Pogo Zombie (Fog and Roof)
- Zombie Yeti (if previously encountered)
- Bungee Zombie (Roof only)
- Ladder Zombie (Fog and Roof)
- Catapult Zombie (Fog and Roof)
- Trash Can Zombie (console only)
Hard modes: Day (Hard) through Roof (Hard)
These levels, as the name states, are quite hard. This time, the player must survive ten flags (two flags per wave), with the zombies changing every two flags. To win this, plants like upgrade plants and Pumpkin are often essential. As the groups are different every time the player plays a level, it is not possible to create a strategy based on exactly what was encountered. The player will probably want to have his or their Sunflowers inside Pumpkins in the back with a row of Split Peas, Spikerocks or a pair of Gloom-shrooms (one on the second row from the bottom, and one on the second row from the top) if Digger Zombies come, or a row of Cacti if there are Balloon Zombies, although Cattails and Blovers work much better for this purpose but Cattail can only be used in Survival: Fog, Survival: Pool and Survival: Fog (Hard).
Blovers can also work, but the player has to pay extreme attention in order to avoid letting a stray Balloon Zombie slip through. Survival: Day (Hard) and Survival: Pool (Hard) should be the easiest, with Survival: Night (Hard) slightly more difficult, Survival: Roof (Hard) still more difficult, and the hardest being Survival: Fog (Hard), though this is based on opinion. Cob Cannons come in handy on these levels, it's almost a must-use, as there will probably be Gargantuars at some point (usually after flags five and six), but they aren't necessary; instant kills such as Cherry Bombs, Jalapenos and Squash should be sufficient, However, they make Survival: Roof (Hard) much less strenuous, and are very useful on Survival: Fog (Hard).
The iPad has Survival Mode but does not have Survival: Hard. It does have Survival: Endless however.
This time, the player plays in the Pool and attempts to survive as many waves of zombies as he or she can, choosing new seeds every two flags. At first, the zombie density is the same as in the Hard modes, but it quickly starts increasing until it exceeds that of Column Like You See 'Em. In addition, upgrades for plants get progressively more expensive; for every upgrade plant that is on the screen, additional upgrade plants of the same type cost an additional 50 sun. Winter Melons and Pumpkins are essential here, and both Cob Cannon and Gloom-shrooms are a must in almost all builds. Instant kills are very good here, although not completely necessary with the Cob Cannons, and zombies come in such droves that playing a half-hour of this will earn the player maybe $20,000 or $30,000 if he or she only clicks half or a third of the coins, given that the player is at least fifteen waves in. The high number of zombies also has the effect of generating many diamonds in a short time; at its best a diamond may appear every four to five seconds.
Alternatively, (depending on preference) the player could use Potato Mines and Imitater Potato Mines combined with Cattails to hold the zombies back while he or she saves up to go straight to Winter Melons, Cob Cannons or other powerful plants.
This mode also introduces the Giga-gargantuar, a red-eyed version of the normal Gargantuar that has 300 health; enough to take four instant kills worth of damage before finally going down, which means it has double the health compared to the Gargantuar. The Giga-gargantuar has infinite health in Plants vs. Zombies FREE, and can only be killed by lawn mowers.
Note: There can be more than one Survival: Endless by playing a Survival: Hard game and modifying the save file name, it is possible to create Survival: Day (Endless), Survival: Night (Endless) and others. However, these without modifying files are only seen in the online version. Players can also play other Survival: Endless levels through the Limbo Page, but only on the PC version of the game.
In the online version, there is only one form of Survival Mode. It takes place at Night and it is an endless mode. The player can only choose four plants. This is the only version of Survival Mode that features the Giga-Football Zombie, the strongest zombie from this version.
- For more, see Survival: Night (Endless).
- Survival: Day
- Survival: Night
- Survival: Pool
- Survival: Fog
- Survival: Roof
- Survival: Day (Hard)
- Survival: Night (Hard)
- Survival: Pool (Hard)
- Survival: Fog (Hard)
- Survival: Roof (Hard)
- Survival: Endless
Some Survival levels are hidden in Limbo Page; there are:
By hacking, the player can also play Survival normal, hard and endless "Night Roof".
- See Survival Mode/Gallery for strategies.
- In Survival: Endless in the Nintendo DS version of Plants vs. Zombies, there is an error where it instead says Survival: Day (Endless); it should say Survival: Pool (Endless) or Survival: Endless.
- In all Survival Modes, a Trash Can Zombie occasionally appears, but only in versions which include the Trash Can Zombie.
- After completing nine of the ten survival levels, the music tune that is played after beating a level changes.
- When the player loses, the losing message says, "You survived (number of flags completed) flag(s), before dying a gruesome zombie death!" instead of the regular "Game Over".
- Zombie Bobsled Teams do not appear in Survival Mode, even though Zombonis still leave ice trails.
- Zombonis and Gargantuars (along with Imps) do not appear before the player beats the fourth and fifth flag, respectively. Because of this, Gargantuars never appear in normal Survival levels. Giga-gargantuars only appear in Survival: Endless after beating at least ten flags.
- Survival Mode, Quick Play, and the Zen Garden are the only game modes that are not unlocked from a present.
- Although this mode cannot be accessed until after Adventure Mode is finished, it is possible to use the Limbo Page hack and select Page 0, which is essentially the Survival Mode menu.
- On the Limbo Page, there exist four different endless variations for each of the four locations; Survival: Day (Endless), Survival: Night (Endless), Survival: Fog (Endless), and Survival: Roof (Endless). None of these are accessible without the Limbo Page, and it is unknown why these were cut from the final game.
- ^: Strategy page