- Developer: PopCap Games
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release Date: 19/03/2021
- Price: £34.99 / $39.99
- Review code provided by Electronic Arts
Introducing: Plants vs. Zombies Switch Review
Starting my review of Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville made me reflect. I used to frequent PopCap’s website to play their addictive games. I would whittle away the hours playing Alchemy and Bookworm. When Plants vs. Zombies debuted, it was a welcome addition to the robust lineup PopCap already had. A tower defense game where you arrange plants to stop hordes of zombies? It was a bizarre concept and I loved it.
In 2013, when Garden Warfare was announced, I was ecstatic. In anticipation, I quickly pre-ordered the game and waited. My kids were even more excited than I was. I took the day off work so we could try out this new PvZ shooter together, only to be let down by the lack of couch co-op. Only one player for what seemed to be a family game was frustrating. Fast forward to today. Couch co-op is a rare sight so I had my expectations prepared when diving into Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville Complete Edition.
It’s true that this new Plants vs. Zombies does not support couch co-op, but knowing where the bar was set made it easier to stomach. The advantage the Switch has over its bulkier counterparts means there’s a chance there’s more than one per household. Such is the case for my family. This time around, my son and I rooted ourselves to our seats and booted up our individual consoles and jumped into a game together.
You Are My Sunshine
When I planted myself in front of the television and got into my first match, I was surprised to find a rather entertaining story. There’s much more than brain starved zombies munching on stalks of unfortunate veggies. There’s not a story in the traditional sense, but each level with an objective closes with a rather humorous finale. In one match, you’re tasked with protecting an evil zombie scientist’s batteries. Failure to do so results in his experiment lacking power to take off. Following the match, if team Plant wins, the rocket will spiral out of control and crash to the ground. Another level where the zombies win will mean the successful invasion through a new invention. The evil scientist beams zombies through the telley. The undead crawl forth from the TVs a la The Ring and devour unsuspecting humans.
Battle for Neighborville doesn’t boast a dialogue rich story. There are some hints of what’s happening but this isn’t really a game you play for its narrative. The ending cutscenes are fun and provide a little treat for the winners and the defeated as the game loads the next match.
Two Peas in a Pod
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is a third person shooter. It’s a great family game as the violence is very tongue in cheek. When doing my review of Plants vs Zombies, I primarily played with my fourteen year old son and nine year old daughter. It was a blast to play and didn’t take too long to get brought up to speed. If you watched my first Let’s Play video, you’ll see that I had a rough beginning. There are a lot of characters to pick from and each have different attacks. Once you start learning all the possibilities, it makes the game even more fun. Not only does it help to know what you’re capable of, but knowing your enemy makes a big difference.
There are a few major detractors going against this exciting multiplayer game. The first was mentioned above as it lacks couch co-op. Meaning you’ll need to own several copies of the game and Nintendo Switch consoles to play with your family. The second is it’s not cross-play compatible. The first thing I did when I got my Plants vs. Zombies review code was to download the free version included with Xbox Game Pass. Sadly, it would not work with the Nintendo Switch.
Despite the drawbacks, Battle for Neighborville was a blast to play and has several improvements over Garden Warfare. The Nintendo Switch version does not have any microtransactions. Everything can be earned by playing the game. Offline mode is also worth looking at as the enemy AI is intelligent and does a great job emulating an online experience.
It’s always fun being able to review a game like Plants vs Zombies where my kids can join in the fun. The colorful world is the perfect setting for the bizarre concept PopCap came up with years ago. The campy characters are well designed with eccentric actions and abilities. There’s a fair amount of customization as you can alter appearances. The graphics are vibrant and it was easy to tell enemies from friends, though you’ll likely be hiding behind bulkier compatriots, praying you’re not seen. Or is that just me?
My son and I alternated playing docked on the big screen and handheld. Either mode worked well but we both ran into technical issues. The game did lag every so often. Not too severely during matches (to my dismay, as I needed an excuse for poor performance). We also encountered connection issues where our party would be dissolved. Though, this never occurred during a match.
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is a fantastic addition to the Nintendo Switch. Since it’s easier to own multiple consoles and having the ability to play on the go, the Switch is perfect for this cartoony shooter. The gameplay takes a few rounds to get your bearings, but it’s not overly complicated. No microtransactions is a nice touch but you also won’t be playing split screen on the same system. Cross-play is also missing at the time of this writing. There were a few connection issues and lag reared its ugly head, but none of these problems posed a threat to the fun time we had.
- Great Multiplayer Action
- Customization Galore
- Engaging Cutscenes and Fun Characters
- No Cross-play
- No Couch co-op