Hello Neighbor review
July 7, 2020
"Hello Neighbor" is a stealth-horror game that offers a peculiar twist on the genre with its off-kilter setting—a brightly colored suburban house. Developed by Dynamic Pixels and published by tinyBuild, the game challenges players to unravel the mystery behind their secretive neighbor by breaking into his home and discovering what he hides in his basement. The game’s unique premise cultivates an atmosphere of unnerving curiosity that keeps players engaged despite its mixed execution.
"Hello Neighbor" introduces a fresh take on the stealth gameplay experience. The primary objective of skulking around the neighbor's house, avoiding detection while solving intricate puzzles, is enticing. The game's AI, which learns from the player's movements and sets traps accordingly, creates an experience tailored to individual playstyles. The puzzles themselves are complex and require creative thinking, which greatly rewards players with a taste for brain-teasers and problem-solving.
Visually, "Hello Neighbor" delights with its cartoonish, almost dream-like aesthetics that juxtapose the unsettling themes at its core. The character design is whimsically exaggerated, with the neighbor himself presenting a formidable cartoon villain. The environments are bright and inviting, which makes the darker elements of the game stand out. The graphical appeal is a breath of fresh air in the horror genre, typically dominated by darker palettes and more realistic styles.
Despite the innovative idea of learning AI, it often comes with a flip side—unpredictability that can lead to frustration. The physics engine of the game also adds a layer of unpredictability, which can sometimes manifest as clunky or unresponsive controls when interacting with the game world. This can detract from gameplay, as players have to fight against the game's mechanics to proceed.
The narrative of "Hello Neighbor" is both a significant draw and a missed opportunity. The core mystery of what the neighbor is hiding propels the game forward, compelling players to dive deeper into the house’s secrets. However, the story delivery can be non-linear and oblique, potentially leaving players confused or dissatisfied with the lack of clear resolution or context provided for the game's events.
"Hello Neighbor" stands out as an ambitious game that challenges conventions and offers an experience replete with ingenuity and charm. While not without its issues—such as sometimes clunky gameplay and a narrative that can feel too enigmatic — the game is a worthwhile endeavor for those seeking a unique stealth experience within a vibrant yet sinister setting. With every attempt to penetrate the neighbor’s labyrinth of secrets, the game reaffirms its commitment to delivering a genuinely distinct encounter.