A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Team-based play encourages cooperation among players. Splits-screen play can make for a positive social gaming experience among friends in the same room. But frenetic cartoonish combat is glorified.
Positive Role Models
The plants and zombies are very single-minded, focused solely on attacking and defeating foes. Many non-player characters are helpful and jokey, but perhaps treat combat a little too lightly.
Ease of Play
Straightforward third-person shooter controls and a good series of opening tutorials should ensure most players won't have much trouble finding their footing. Team-based play lets rookies rely on and learn from more experienced players.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoonish plants and zombies fight each other using a vast array of weapons -- including guns, turrets, lasers, snapping jaws, mines, fists, and explosives, among others -- in frenetic third-person combat. Enemies fall and fade away when defeated.
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Products & Purchases
This is the latest chapter in the popular Plants Vs. Zombies franchise. Players can purchase premium currency (for buying virtual game items and perks) using real money for the PC, PlayStation, and Xbox editions. The Switch edition is free of micotransactions.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville Complete Edition is a third-person shooter for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs with constant cartoon combat. This is the latest chapter in the popular Plants vs. Zombies franchise, which has covered games, apps, toys, and more. The range of attacks is broad -- the plants shoot seeds from gun-like mouths and chomp with giant jawed bulbs, while the zombies shoot lasers and detonate bundles of dynamite -- but the fighting, though fast-paced and frenetic, never involves blood or gore. Defeated enemies simply fall to the ground and disappear. Players' plant and zombie avatars have intense visual style and animations, but betray no thoughts or emotions beyond an eagerness to fight and destroy each other. Players who work together and cooperate as part of a team are bound to experience more success, and local split-screen multiplayer offers an opportunity for kids in the same room to have a positive social gaming experience. Parents should also be aware that a virtual store (in the PC, PlayStation, and Xbox editions, but not the Switch version) allows players to spend real-world money within the game. The Switch version includes all previoulsy included downloadable content.
Is It Any Good?
If you're looking to take a break from Fortnite and Splatoon 2, but still want to satisfy your appetite for cartoonish third-person shooting, this game might be the answer. Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville Complete Edition doesn't offer a battle royale mode or any paint sloshing antics, but it's bursting with personality. From its colorful characters -- like the new disco roller skating Electric Slide zombies and the flame-spewing Snapdragon plants -- to its carefully constructed multiplayer maps and free-to-roam environments, which are full of text quips and goofy details sure to cause a giggle or two, there's little doubt that the pun-loving people at Popcap had fun putting this one together -- or that most players will enjoy searching out all of its little secrets and Easter eggs. Players that have the Switch version will also love the ability to take the game with them on the go, making progress offline as well, with gameplay that's just as solid as the other systems.
What will keep people playing for the long haul, though, is the action, which remains both accessible and habit-forming. Even rookies to the genre shouldn't have too much trouble working out how to play, thanks to tight, intuitive controls and a helpful heads-up display that shows exactly what your current character's abilities are, when they're ready, and how to use them. Plus, the huge roster of characters is surprisingly well balanced despite their vastly differing abilities, from the Night Cap's stealth tactics to the Space Cadet's lasers and flying saucer. There's always an effective counter to an enemy's advantage, it's just a matter of finding it. Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville hasn't altered its predecessors' formula enough to win over many new converts, but it's the most polished and fine-tuned entry in the series, which ought to please franchise fans plenty.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.