It’s been four years since the original Plants vs. Zombies launched, and at last we have a proper sequel. After delays and a number of dull offshoots, PopCap has released a successor to its popular tower defense-style game with all new characters, locations and gameplay elements. It’s been a long and storied wait, but it was well worth it. If you were a fan of the first game, you’ll find that the second retains that same charm as the first, while expanding on Plants vs. Zombies universe.

Aptly dubbed Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time, PopCap’s new game essentially plays identical to the first. But it’s that very formula that made the original so successful. This time around, however, the company introduces a number of new plants and locations to keep the universe fresh; rather than stripping any of its elements away, PopCap’s sequel builds on the experience. Want a plant that literally punches zombies? Sure. And Crazy Dave is as crazy as ever.

The sequel’s name doesn’t just infer the game’s long development cycle; Plants vs. Zombies 2 is actually about traveling through time, where you’ll visit ancient Egypt, hang with pirates and visit the Wild West. Visiting different locations obviously keeps the locale fresh, and gives the game more flexibility to introduce different enemy types and gameplay elements. Plus, it wouldn’t have been all that fun to keep protecting your same backyard for another entire game.

This time around, the game is being offered free-to-play, though you could essentially ignore any in-game purchases and breeze right through. Seeing as the game only came out today, I haven’t gotten very far, but I’ve survived without the urge to thrown down any money, and I imagine many other players will have the same experience. Freemium models are becoming the norm these days, so we might as well accept it.

The game so far has proven there’s still plenty of life in the Plants vs. Zombies universe, and the decision to introduce new locations and plants makes the game seem fresh and new. The fact that it’s free certainly doesn’t hurt. You can download the game today if you have an iOS device—I imagine the game will come to other platforms in the future.