Unlike most movie tie-in games, Over the Hedge picks up near the end of the movie, with the animals helping RJ raid Gladys' house so he can pay off his debt to Vincent the Bear. After the animals all get captured by Dwayne the Verminator, RJ has a change of heart and rides the wagonload of food down the hill to rescue Verne and the others. This results in a showdown between the animals, Dwayne, Gladys, and an enraged Vincent that ultimately results in the animals emerging victorious thanks to some quick thinking by Verne and giving Hammy a caffeinated energy drink, allowing to travel fast enough to put Verne's shell on RJ and sic off the De-Pelter Turbo on Gladys and Vincent.
The game then jumps forward in time to one year later. At this point, stealing food from humans has become routine for the animals. After coming home from yet another successful heist, however, they find their home in shambles. Not only has their TV been broken, but all the food's been stolen as well.
As it turns out, Dwayne has returned to the suburbs, bringing with him an army of brainwashed animals controlled by mind-control caps and even more traps placed throughout the entire neighborhood. So in addition to dodging the Verminator's traps, the animals must now fend off the brainwashed animals using their weapons.
Over the course of the game, the animals' heists take them not only to different houses in the suburbs, but also an amusement park to steal both a popcorn machine and cotton candy machine among other things.
In the game's final stages, however, the story shifts as the animals find that Dwayne has kidnapped Heather, and this leads to a showdown with Dwayne himself in the heart of VermTech headquarters. This final battle ends with the animals destroying the capping controller, freeing all the brainwashed animals from Dwayne's control.
Come the game's end, Verne, RJ, and the rest of the animals all prepare to hibernate for the winter with all the food they've claimed in that year.
Over the Hedge is a 3D platformer with several beat-em-up elements.
In the game, players have the option of choosing to play as one of four different characters, each of which carries a different weapon: RJ the raccoon, who's armed with a golf club, Verne the turtle with his hockey stick,, Stella the skunk with a toilet plunger, and Hammy the squirrel with a stick. All four characters essentially play the same, but with different animations. Each character also has both a ranged attack and a special attack that they can use to fight off enemies. Special attacks can only be used when the energy meter on the top of the screen is filled. Players can also stack the two characters on top of each other for both increased attack power.
The characters' heatlh and energy meters can have their capacity increased if the player collects 20 Spuddies cans and 20 boxes of cookies, respectively.
Each character has a different dialogues that will change depending on which position they fill on the two-character teams featured in each level.
In addition to platforming and beating up enemies, players can also take part in brief puzzle segments where they control Hammy as he works to disarm the Verminator's traps at a control console.
The game also features three mini-games:
Bumper Carts - A mini-game where the animals as well as Gladys and Dwayne drive around in golf carts and attempt to smash each other's carts. The one who survives the longest wins.
R.C. Rally - Players control one of four remote-controlled cars and race around a track against three others to win.
Driving Range - Players control the animals as they hone their ranged attack power to destroy targets