We have all had that one creepy neighbor that is shrouded in secrecy. He never invites you over and rarely talks the fellow neighbors, and seems like the typical shut in. That’s just bizarre, isn’t it? He must be hiding something, there is no reason for someone to be that secretive. I even heard that you can hear screams coming from his basement. You want to go in? Are you crazy? Why do we need to check it out? We could just call the police! Whatever, just don’t let him catch you and make sure you say hello to our neighbor for me.
Hello Neighbor is a first-person, stealth-oriented horror title that presents the story of an unnamed protagonist losing his soccer ball on the front lawn of his oddball neighbor. Upon retrieving his ball, he hears a loud scream followed by the neighbor locking up a door in a state of panic. This drove our unnamed hero to do what any sane person would do and break into this house to save the day. Wait, he broke into someone’s house because he heard a scream? I mean I know that’s shady but are we sure he should be the protagonist? Ah well, I guess every good hero needs a little adventure in his life.
The gameplay mechanics presented in Hello Neighbor require the player to traverse the ever-growing labyrinth of a house in search of the dreaded screams that were etched in his brain. You must solve puzzles, avoid the scowling madman, and stack a plethora of boxes to reach the next stage and pray that you can find that woman once and for all. This title contains a myriad of levels that revolve around the expansion of the neighbor’s house. What starts out as a simple two-story house with a creepy basement quickly evolves into a mansion of monstrous proportions, even introducing a walled-in perimeter at one point.
The puzzles scattered throughout this game are not overly difficult but can become infuriating due to the bizarre movement patterns of the antagonist. While he follows a set pattern around the house, knocking over objects can deviate his path and can put you in a world of hurt. The pain is eased a bit due to the soft reset that is presented if you get caught. While you do not hold on to any keys or items, everything stays were you left it. This can be great for the player if you were about to open the door and he caught you. Unfortunately, this can also hinder your performance as well. You may have to wait longer for the neighbor to move to collect the item again or you may even have to complete the maze again. This game is forgiving, but too many mistakes can be detrimental.
The visuals and soundtrack available in Hello Neighbor were very intriguing, to say the least. The cell-shaded aesthetic was nice and pleasing to the eyes. I honestly felt that it was how the game needed to be as I could not imagine a photorealistic perception of this title. The sounds, on the other hand, were precise and sharp. This may seem weird hearing this in terms of the audio of a video game, but with this being a stealth title, the sounds are everything. From your footsteps to the noise of objects falling to the sound cues of being detected, having noises that can be easily recognized needed to be at their very best. This was something that I felt the development team put a great amount of time into and I can say it was worth it.
Now for the fun part, my thoughts on this peculiar game. As most people, I have noticed Hello Neighbor for quite a while now. I mean, all of the big YouTubers have been playing this game since it was in an alpha state and I will say the game has come a long way. The title that I played was fun and very interesting, plus it was different from what I watched leading up to the release. However, I feel that this game struggled with one of the worst issues in the video game industry. This game was overhyped from the day that it was welcomed onto the internet. Now, do not get me wrong, I went into it with an open mind and was still extremely excited to get my hands on it. I had a lot of fun escaping the grasps of the dreaded neighbor and the puzzles were pretty cool too, but in the end of the day, I felt that I had already seen so much of this game and I got bored. It honestly felt that Hello Neighbor came out months prior to the actual release date with all the content floating around the internet. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this unique title. It plays well, I didn’t run into any crashing, and, most importantly, I had fun during my playthrough. However, similar to the ill-fated issue that plagued games like Watch Dogs, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.
The game is priced at $30 USD, which I feel is a bit high and would recommend waiting for a sale. Nevertheless, I would recommend this game to anyone that is thinking about checking it out. It provides a lot of content and I believe that most of you will enjoy the game albeit a bit frustrating.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 7.5/10
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