If you didn’t download Plants vs. Zombies because it costs money, now there is no reason you shouldn’t pick it up because developer PopCap has for the first time slashed the popular casual strategy game to $0 on the App Store. From the people who also brought you Bejeweled, Peggle, Zuma and Bookworm, Plants vs. Zombies since its June 2010 iPhone debut has won more than 30 Game of the Year awards.

The game challenges you to soil your plants while battling zombies who are about to invade your home. Retina devices and iPhone 5 are supported and both iPad and iPhone builds are free now. A few screenies and additional description right after the break…

You have a total of 49 zombie-zapping plants at your disposal to fight against 26 different types of zombies.

Plants vs. Zombies is the latest in what seems to be a string of paid games that have gone free now. Even the likes of Electronic Arts are taking notice as the super publisher has recently released free to play Real Racing 3 in New Zealand and Australia (it’s due February 28 on the US App Store).

Exhibit #2: Rovio, arguably the most profitable mobile games publisher, earlier this month slashed its Amazing Alex physics-based puzzler to $0 and discounted all iPad titles to 99-cents. The move follows a dive Rovio’s Angry Birds games took in App Store charts after a long period of domination.

Of course, this free-to-play model comes with a catch as Plants vs. Zombies – like lots of other iOS games lately – tempts you to buy additional content and upgrades via in-app purchases.

Plants vs. Zombies for iOS (iPad screenshot 003)

Here are some of the more important Plants vs. Zombies features:

50 fun-dead levels
Conquer all 50 levels of Adventure mode — through day, night, fog, in a swimming pool, on the rooftop and more! Replay levels in the all-new Quick Play arena.

Not your garden-variety ghouls
Battle zombie pole-vaulters, snorkelers, bucketheads and more. Each has its own special skills, so you’ll need to think fast and plant faster to combat them all.

Smashing fun
Try to survive all 9 unique levels as you battle zombies hiding in vases. It’s smashing fun!

Smarter than your average zombie
Be careful how you use your limited supply of greens and seeds. Zombies love brains so much they’ll jump, run, dance, swim and even eat plants to get into your house.

Fight longer, get stronger
Earn 49 powerful perennials and collect coins to buy a pet snail, power-ups and more.

Grow with your game
Earn 44 awesome achievements and show off your zombie-zapping prowess.

Coin packs
Need coins for great new stuff? Buy up to 600,000 coins right from the Main Menu.

According to AppShopper, the free deal expires February 28 so download a free copy to your iPhone or iPad now to save nearly ten bucks compared to the game’s regular price points. Interestingly, PopCap hasn’t extended this free Plants vs. Zombies promo to Google’s Play Store.

Plants vs. Zombies for iOS (iPad screenshot 002)

Plants vs. Zombies for iOS (iPad screenshot 001)

I must admit I’m not a fan of the genre.

Anyway, did you play Plants vs. Zombies and what did you think of it?