The original Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle For Neighborville came out all the way back in 2019, and since then, there’s been a hefty amount of content added. PopCap Studios has managed to release it all in one big package on the Nintendo Switch, and whilst there are some performance issues, there’s a lot of value for money. I’m a bit gutted there’s no two-player split-screen because having two kids who enjoy playing with their dad, it would mean I’d have to grab another copy. Still, I love the silliness of PvZ, and experimenting with the variety of characters in Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle For Neighborville Complete Edition was still a pleasant departure from the seriousness of other online shooters.
The campaign is alright, acting more like a prelude to the multiplayer, where you’ll take part in generic fetch quests whilst blasting zombies. The humour is more aimed at kids, or at least it feels like it, and the limited storyline takes more of a backseat to the combat. What it does do well is introduce you to the core gameplay of PvZ, and it plays pretty well on Switch. What’s impressive is that this is the first game on Switch to feature the DICE engine, and you can see the quality.
Most of the game runs at 30fps, but there are occasions where that dips substantially, especially when there’s a lot going on. It’s by no means a deal breaker, and there are much worse titles out there where bad framerate makes games unplayable, but it’s still noticeable. The visuals look crisp in docked and handheld, with the latter being my favourite way to play. It looks sharper in your hands, however, yet it’s still pleasant on the eyeballs when you’re playing on a TV screen.
For the most part, Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle For Neighborville Complete Edition is a pretty decent hero shooter. There are characters on both sides of the war that are great from range, such as my favourite Kernal Corn, whilst support, tank, and stealth classes also factor into how you play. There’s someone for everyone, and seeing how they all work is part of the fun. I think the zombies have to be my favourite, just because of the way they’re dressed, offering up wizards, superheroes, robots, and pirates.
The Nintendo Switch version offers gyro controls for aiming, and I actually preferred to use these when in battle. You can also skip through the menus in touchscreen if you so wish. Another cool feature is the ability to explore Giddy Park whilst offline, as well as playing with friends locally in PvE modes set in the three free-roam regions. There’re no microtransactions either, instead opting for an in-game currency to purchase cosmetic items and perks in the Rux Store, unlocked by completing missions and earning XP. These changes help to enrich the gameplay and make it feel different to the versions seen elsewhere.
The multiplayer modes don’t do anything differently from other online hero shooters, but they’re worth diving into, mainly because you can experiment with the different classes and characters on both sides. Turf Takeover acts as a capture the flag mode, Team Vanquish is your deathmatch counterpart, and Garden and Graveyard Ops is a familiar approach to the horde mode.
Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle For Neighborville Complete Edition is one of the better shooters on Nintendo Switch, with tons of content and modes to play around in. Whilst the technical side of things can let it down, there are still plenty of reasons to play it, thanks to the range of characters, maps (including the Prize Maps added gradually after launch), and offline options. I was disappointed there’s no split-screen mode, and the campaign is pretty dull, but I still had a blast jumping into the online modes.
Plenty of modes for online and offline
Wide range of characters and customisation
Maps are fun
Framerate dips below 30fps
No two-player split-screen
Campaign is dull