Instead of gardening on land to fight zombies, in Shark Attack 2 (out now, $1.99), you’ll pit an arsenal of sea creatures against other animals from the deep. And instead of harvesting suns from sunflowers and mushrooms, you’ll pluck pearls from mollusks. Of course, these pearls are your main in-game currency, which you’ll use to purchase the services of friendly sea life, such as red corals to trap enemy fish in, dynamite fish, purple octopuses, etc.

screen480x480Shark Attack 2 feels very similar to Plants vs. Zombies, from the gameplay to the controls. What makes the former title stand out from the latter well-known defense game, apart from the graphics and watery setting, are the powers at your disposal.

When too many enemies are threatening your defenses, you can summon any of five powers: Sweep away all your foes with a tidal wave, or shake the ocean with a massive thunderstorm. Alternatively, you can opt for a giant killer whale to gulp down your enemies, or let loose a hermit crab to bombard the sea with a storm of bubbles. With one godly hand, you can also snatch each enemy out of the water.

These powers are indeed terrific to help you in a bind. However, they pretty much do the same thing: clear your enemies in one fell sweep; all that’s different is the graphics and animation. It would be better if the powers had more unique effects. For instance, for the “snatching hand” power, it would be more fun for us to manually tap and toss the enemy fishes. Secondly, and most disappointingly, powers are expensive to use. Very expensive. Apparently, pearls aren’t precious enough to invoke divine powers. You need diamonds. When you first run the game, you’ll be given 150 diamonds. But once you use that up, you’ll have to either purchase diamonds with real cash or watch ads to earn a measly two diamonds each video. In contrast, the cheapest power costs 30 diamonds to use.

screen480x480The game would feel more rewarding if we could earn diamonds through winning levels or defeating certain enemy fishes. However, the way it currently is, Shark Attack 2 feels like a freemium game heavily geared toward IAP, despite costing two dollars at the onset.

Shark Attack 2 offers 50 levels spread across five worlds. However, once you get past the initial levels, the game gets a lot more challenging, and perhaps impossible to beat if you’re unable to use powers, because the pearls form slowly. I definitely do not recommend spending any real money to buy virtual diamonds. It costs $1.99 for 100 diamonds, up to $7.99 for 10,000 diamonds. This means using the cheapest power could cost you up to $0.60 each! Sure, buying 10,000 diamonds at a go is a lot cheaper, but that will mean forking out close to $10 for this game.

iFanzine Verdict: Shark Attack 2 is a decent defense game, but the powers are not varied enough in their effects, and worse, the game is structured to encourage costly IAPs. If you’re not willing to pay for virtual diamonds, I do not recommend purchasing this game because it will be hard if not less fun to play without resorting to using powers.