Developed By: PopCap Games Published By: Electronic Arts Categories: Shooter Release Date: 03.19.21
Plants versus Zombies…who will win. Or rather, who do you want to win? With Battle for Neighborville, instead of the series’ tower defense roots (heh), we have more of a hero shooter with two teams to chose from. Though, Battle for Neighborville really never does stray too far from what the series is known for.
There is a LOT of content in this game. Perhaps an overwhelming number of content. Over twenty classes to play as between the plant of zombie teams. You can customize every class in look, abilities, gestures. This is indeed an online shooter. The game is a bit of a grind, with levels, ranks, a lot of currency. There’s gold, tacos, sheriff stars, etc. It’s all a fun grind though, it’s a competent shooter. Shooting can feel weak, but the sound it makes when you do a critical vanquish, which is another term of headshot makes everything oh so satisfying.
Lets discuss single player a tad as I spent the majority of my playtime with it. The main hub area, Neighborville, which holds the bases for both Plants and Zombies as well as Giddy Park, which is a place near both for them to fight. Spend coins to level up, to buy customization items, spend other rewards on reward trees. Or even target practice. In addition to this, Neighborville is where you can access the free roam areas, of which there are three with one exclusive to each side.
Each free roam area is big and there’s plenty to do. Town Center, which has an endearingly stereotypical American town and city. The neighborhood, the sewers and beach. The mountainside with the cable network. A bustling downtown with city hall. Steep Hill, the west. Go from the wild west to the cheese mines. And lastly, the Weirding Woods, holding the campgrounds, a swamp, and factory.
Each free roam area is huge with lots to explore. Side quests, story quests. Hidden chests and garden gnomes. Ops matches, which are the base/tower defense modes that fans of Plants vs Zombies should be more familiar with. Takeover matches, which are capture the flag or bomb placement games. And just plain team Vanquish fights, each with their own unique challenge. You’re going to do a lot of shooting, be it from a pea-pod or a not-Rambo zombie shooting a crossbow. Maybe even an acorn spitting out at the zombies or a zombie with a TV on it’s head.
Story mode, like in most online shooters is more of a much extended tutorial. Thankfully, it’s not as if you play a short 1 hour story and call it a day. You are definitely going to be kept busy, either from the grind or from the overwhelming number of collectables or unlockables. You do move a tad slow for my taste with how big the maps are, and I couldn’t really find a fast travel initially?
With online play, you’re going to get those competitive matches I mentioned before. Now just with real people instead of bots. If you finished singleplayer and want more and can find people to play with, you’re going to probably play it more often. Not to mention, faster rewards.
The best way to describe the feel and mood that Plants vs Zombies : Battle For Neighborville has, is a kid friendly, super cutesy shooter that’d be a perfect fit for children. It’s full of jokes, cat and taco references. The game is bright and full of positive reinforcement. It’s plenty chaotic, but not necessarily violent and I’d argue it has nothing that could be considered offensive in the least. In my opinion however, I’m not sure how I feel about children playing third person shooters regardless of content. And for adults playing, I feel the constant “YOU’RE TOTALLY EPIC AND AWESOME” comes off as condescending. All that aside, I’d be a liar if I said the game wasn’t overflowing with character, with it’s colorful cast to creative weapons and abilities.
Battle for Neighborville launches on Switch nearly two years after the stronger consoles and PC and with this I have some mixed feelings on the port. By all standings, it’s a competent port on playability. The load times can seem a bit long at times and the framerate does dip constantly, but it’s never unplayable. My bigger issues come with how stable the game actually is. In multiple occasions I had crashes that booted me out of the game. Even worse, in story missions I *needed* to do. The game autosaves thankfully, but getting close to beating a story mission only for the game just to crash is very frustrating.
I put plenty of time into Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville, but I personally feel a few performance patches and maybe one to speed up the grind would definitely have me playing more. It’s a game I had fun playing, but then would occasionally have a brickwall that I’d run into.
Buy Now: $39.99
*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes