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. His special ability is that he can copy any plant and its abilities, except upgrade plants and itself. He can be used to effectively cut the recharge time of plants in half, although he takes up another seed slot.
Imitater's name is a portmanteau of the words "imitator," referring to the fact that it can copy, or "imitate" any plant and "tater," a slang word for potato, the real-life plant on which this plant is based.
He 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 he wears a black and white face mask, and his Almanac says that he studied at a French Theater and then took his art to the streets, like how professional mimes study and then perform on the streets. It also mentions his 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.
After purchasing the Imitater, he 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, he will take up a slot as the imitated plant in a melancholy gray or shaded green (depending on version).
The Imitater is a premium plant that can be purchased for $4.99, USD ($2.99, USD prior to the 5.9.1 update). Selecting the Imitater's seed packet causes it to imitate the previous seed selected, making it impossible to bring an Imitater plant without the regular version. After selecting, he 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, he 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.
On April 19, 2017, Imitater was featured as the "Plant of the Week" in the store, claiming to be a "Limited Time Offer". However, in keeping with recent "Plant of the Week" offers, no price reduction has been offered, nor is the plant available for gems.
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."
SUN COST: ???
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 himself, but after three seconds (1.5 seconds in the DS version) he will transform into his copied form, and also 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. He is also unable to imitate more than one plant at once or himself. 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 recommended 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 selected right before him and cannot be selected first without exploiting a glitch.
The Imitater can be used to effectively half 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 he can only imitate one plant in a level, the time he takes to transform, and that the Imitaters consume one seed packet if one wishes to use him effectively. When placed right in front of zombies, they may eat him before he finishes transforming. This is mainly a problem when using him to imitate explosives which are placed right into the middle of the group of zombies they are intended to destroy. He also creates a problem when trying to use him as a last minute defensive plant, as he takes a regular amount of bites to eat him while he is transforming.
Imitater in this game is now a premium plant that must be purchased with a real-life currency. Imitater can now mimic plants in this game much more quickly than the previous one, saving approximately one second in transformation time. Additionally, he cannot be eaten in this game until he has finished transforming.
Imitater is extremely useful in Endless Zones, especially in higher levels, due to the fact that he allows the player to have two of a seed slot, which can be very powerful with the right set of plants.
Good candidates for imitation:
- Sunflower or other sun producing plants (faster sun development)
- Potato Mine and Primal Potato Mine (easily kills more zombies that appear on the lawn)
- Grave Buster (removes two tombstones, use this on Pyramid of Doom and Arthur's Challenge in levels with large number of tombstones)
- Cherry Bomb, Grapeshot and Bombegranate (massive damage to zombies in three different rows, and if Grapeshot, allows more grapes to bounce, not to mention an abundance in exploding seed traps if Bombegranate is chosen)
- Hot Potato (for melting two frozen blocks in Frostbite Caves)
- E.M.Peach (can permanently stun almost all zombies in Far Future)
- Thyme Warp (helps send more zombies back, additionally with its very slow recharge)
- Perfume-shroom (enchants two rows of dinosaurs)
- Moonflower (ramp up sun adjacency bonus quickly and synergize defense against early zombie rush)
- Power Lily (creates two Plant Food)
- Gold Bloom (produces 750 sun total)
- Shrinking Violet (can shrink all zombies on screen every fifteen seconds. This is especially useful in endless mode where many gargantuars can spawn at once.)
- Any other slow recharging plants
- Any plant boosted by the Zen Garden (the Imitater will also be boosted, maximizing the use of said boost)
As with the previous game, he can only copy one plant but this time, but in this game Imitater will mimic the seed slot directly above Imitater's. 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 himself.
Plants vs. Zombies Wiki has a gallery for Imitater.
- He is the plant equivalent for Presto, a pet in Insaniquarium, a game also made by PopCap Games. Just like Imitater, Presto can turn into any pet.
Specific to Plants vs. Zombies
- In his Suburban Almanac entry, it says that he 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.
- His 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.
- When flattened, he will turn into the flat version of the copied plant with its original color, even before transforming.
- In iOS and Android versions, he turns into an exact replica without the black and white color, although the seed packet appears greenish.
- He cannot copy upgrade plants, 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.
- His transforming animation is not shown on the DS version. Instead, he stands for a while, then spins quickly once and turn into the imitated plant with soil under it and a planting sound.
- When he copies a plant, the copied plant is in full health, even if he was damaged before it transforms.
- In the Xbox Live Arcade version of Plants vs. Zombies, in Co-op Mode, the game will never let the player pick him when there are already three seeds or more selected.
- His seed packet says "Bloom and Doom" instead of the full "Bloom and Doom Seed Co.."
- He is the only plant that can be planted on any environment.
- When an imitated Chomper eats a zombie, the zombie's arm turns black and white, because the zombie arm is considered as the Chomper's sprite.
- 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.
- In an update to the Android version of the game, his 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.
- If the player uses the Android-Imitating Upgrade plants glitch, and imitates Imitater, he will keep imitating himself over and over again.
- It is the only plant in the entire game who does not have a specific sun cost.
Specific to Plants vs. Zombies 2
- In levels where the player must use pre-selected plants, it's only possible to imitate the last pre-selected plant, as he only imitates the plant that's selected before him.
- Imitated plants keep their same colors, not gray, similar to its version in the iOS and Android versions of the original game.
- 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 the 1.9.1 update the animation returns.
- When he copies a boosted plant, the Imitated version of the plant will also be boosted.
- Despite being unable to be upgraded, his seed packets can be obtained via Piñata Parties.
- If an Imitated Pea Pod is planted on an already existent Pea Pod, the imitation animation will cover the Pea Pod.
- In earlier versions it could be destroyed by zombies like Explorer Zombie. This was fixed in later updates.
- When it is imitating a defensive plant and the player uses Wall-nut First Aid it will not play it's animation.