Plants vs Zombies Battle for Neighborville doesn’t use the conventional menu system to let you select your gameplay options, customize your characters, or unlock new cosmetics. Instead, you roam around the beautifully crafted Neighborville and interact with the various carnival attractions. This felt slightly disorienting when I started playing and for the first while I frequently found myself frustratingly searching for the right option. Once you get to know the place, this is a very charming way of interacting with the game. Hopefully, this guide will help you navigate Neighborville much quicker.
The easiest way to navigate Neighborville is to use the giant question mark. You’ll find this on the floor, close to your spawning point. All you need to do is stand on it and it will highlight all the “attractions” and their corresponding menu items. Unfortunately, the help text disappears as soon as you step off this platform.
As this game is aimed at a younger crowd, it makes sense to have a rather simple tutorial included, although I didn’t immediately notice this when I first started playing. You just need to be a little more patient than I was and you should notice the military Sunflower with the eye patch right in front of you when you enter Neighborville. Interact with this character, called Major Sweetie, and you’ll get your first set of instructions.
TOWN CENTER SINGLEPLAYER MAP
Town Center is one of the singleplayer maps you can explore. Here you’ll find a multitude of quests and collectible items, a perfect way to keep playing if you’re not in the mood for a multiplayer brawl. To visit the Town Center find the R.V. with the red and orange flames and the lifesaver on the door. Speak to the Night Cap with the rock ‘n roll hair and he’ll take you right to it.
MOUNT STEEP SINGLEPLAYER MAP
The second singleplayer map currently available is Mount Steep. Here you also need to find numerous treasure chests and golden gnomes, and perform several quests which are also of a similar nature but the aesthetics of the maps are vastly different. The entrance to Mount Steep is right next to the entrance for the Town Center. Just look for the wooden minecart with the “To Mount Steep” sign above it and talk to Sir Victor-Ian, the Acorn with the fancy hat, he’ll take you where you need to go.
As multiplayer is arguably the most important feature in this game, they’ve made it difficult to miss. The multiplayer portal is just that, a giant mad-scientist-esque portal located to the right of your spawning location. To play a multiplayer game, first walk up to the console and select the type of match you’d like to join. Once a selection is made, run to the portal and jump right in. The loading screen will indicate that it’s looking for the best match and you’ll be thrown into a new or existing match as soon as one is found. Just note that since the game is still fairly new, I found the servers rather empty very early in the morning.
You’ll be rewarded with gold coins while playing both single and multiplayer which most will use to purchase cosmetic items. If you’re more interested in getting ahead in the game you can spend 15,000 coins at the XP Boost to increase the experience level of your currently selected character. This will make your character jump a few levels if you’re just starting out but will become increasingly expensive when you reach higher levels. This feature is hidden under a wooden dome but the flashing lights should draw your attention.
When playing multiplayer matches, the game automatically selects which team you’ll be fighting for so it doesn’t really matter which one you selected before entering the match. However, Battle for Neighborville is the first Plants vs Zombies game to include a full-length campaign for both factions. If you’re ready to try out the Zombie campaign, you can either switch teams from the game’s main menu before entering Neighborville, or you can walk up to the tiny tent with the Zombie poster propped up outside. Neighborville looks pretty much the same for the Zombies so you’ll still be able to use this navigation guide.
CHANGING BOOTH – CHARACTER SELECT
Your current selected character doesn’t make any difference when entering a multiplayer battle as you’ll be asked to choose again before you start the match. However, when going to any of the singleplayer maps like Town Center or Mount Steep, you’ll play as whichever character you currently have selected. When you feel like a change, just find one of the tiny Changing Booths with the curtains and crazy green neon lighting to view the character select menu. You can also use this menu to customize the appearance of your characters and change out their upgrade options.
When you’re ready to try out a new character, you don’t have to be thrown to the wolves in a savage multiplayer match where you’ll be torn to pieces. Instead, head over to the practice arena and try out your new abilities. The practice arena can be found by walking through the giant brick arches with the “Lawn of Doom” sign hanging off it (Although this might just be part of the temporary Halloween decorations). Move onto one of the platforms and you’ll be launched straight into the arena. Dying in the arena will send you back to Neighborville so you can navigate further.
HOTSHOT HOTHOUSE – TARGET PRACTICE
The second option of getting to know a new character, the Hotshot Hothouse is a stress-free shooting range. When you just need to unwind by breaking some brightly colored targets, walk up to this glass warehouse with the giant “Hotshot Hothouse” sign and let loose. This is especially fun with the Zombie All-Star.
Once a character reaches level 10, you can promote it to unlock new upgrade cards. This will reset your character back to level 0, but the cards can be shared across all characters. This option is slightly hidden away and may require some searching as it’s located on a raised platform, around a corner, and won’t be immediately visible when viewed from outside. From your starting location, you’ll turn left towards the large marble pillars. Walk past these pillars and round the corner and you’ll see the flashy, green “Promotions Await!” banner.
MR. REWARDS-O-TRON 9000 – COSMETIC ITEM DISPENSER
While it’s exciting to spend your hard-earned coins to get a mystery cosmetic item, I would have preferred to be able to unlock my preferred options for each character. Regardless, Battle for Neighborville went the opposite direction by introducing the Mr. Rewards-O-Tron 9000 which looks like a giant gumball machine and is located just behind your spawning location. It’ll cost you 30,000 coins to unlock a random cosmetic upgrade for any character on either team. The cost seems like a lot, but you can earn that rather quickly, especially in singleplayer.
To my delight, not all cosmetic unlocks are random. There’s a second currency in the game in the form of blue gems. These can be used at the tiny blue booth with the shiny “Prizes” sign above it. Here you can spend varying amounts of gems to unlock specific cosmetic items. This booth is located behind your spawning location, just left of the Mr. Reward-O-Tron 9000.
RUX’S EMPORIUM – RARE ITEMS
While going through the tutorial, I received one item from Rux’s Emporium but he never had anything new for me. I only later figured out that this is where you’ll receive rewards from the game developers. I’m unclear how often you’ll receive items here, just check in every so often and see if Rux has anything for you. He shouldn’t be difficult to find, just look for the massive amount of shiny stuff and the purple neon lights right past the Mr. Reward-O-Tron 9000.
CUSTOMIZE VICTORY SLABS
Victory Slabs are just another cosmetic item you can customize as you unlock new ones. When you are vanquished while playing a multiplayer game, you’ll see the victory slab of the person responsible for your demise. Initially, you’ll only have a tombstone victory slab, but there are various exciting ones to unlock like the giant block of cheese or the festive Tiki Hut. To change your victory slab find Chip, the garden gnome, close to the Hotshot Hothouse Shooting Range, he’ll hook you up.
I nearly missed this option entirely and only stumbled upon it by mistake while taking the screenshots for our Neighborville navigation guide. This option is not important for gameplay and doesn’t even come up when you stand on the all-revealing Question Mark, but if you’re interested in seeing who’s responsible for making this fantastic game, you can view the credits by selecting the recognition slab at the wishing well.