Hello Neighbor is a stealth game about invading your neighbors house, because….. well just because, the guy looks a bit suspicious, so naturally you’re going to want to break into his house, steal his radio then put it in his garden so you can distract him and waltz into his house again.
At the moment, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’ve gone completely mad, or Hello Neighbor is a bit of a bizarre game. Thankfully I’m still relatively sane, and Hello Neighbor is still pretty wacky…
Spending the first hour with Hello Neighbor wasn’t particularly enjoyable, sneaking in and out of the house across the street, I’d pretty much emptied all of his belongings onto the street and evaded capture numerous times, thankfully you can always outrun your neighbor and running into the middle of the road (don’t try this at home) is a sure fire way at avoiding your neighbors grasp as he inexplicably stops at the curb every time.
Soon enough I started to try and work out that the key to his basement wasn’t hidden in plain view, so I started to strategize a little, noticing I’d not seen any stairs inside, but there’s certainly a second floor, I eventually found my way past this introductory chapter before eventually managing to work my way downstairs.
At this point it’s already pretty bizarre, with very little direction I’d somehow managed to pas the first section, but the small house seemed to house a myriad of rooms and passages beneath it, which just made things feel even more unrealistic and hard to stomach.
Still intrigued as to what the hell is going on, I continued for many hours, but sadly kept thinking back to those first exploratory stages, while I didn’t know what was going on, It was still pretty fun trying to figure it out.
Wether you can keep up with the mish-mash story or not, there’s certainly a level of enjoyment as you pilfer around your neighbors belongings, but it all feels as though there’s little reward as even when you’re in the basement, you’re never quite sure what’s going on and the whole concept of avoiding your neighbor only get’s more difficult and monotonous as any attempt at a story fails to explain anything more.
It’s safe to say that there’s limited appeal and many of the puzzles feel so devilishly difficult I’d expect far more people would spend time checking internet forums or let’s play videos rather than having the patience of trial and error to work things out.
The most enjoyment seemed to come for my twin boys, (aged 10) who would quite happily take it in turns at throwing boxes of our friendly neighbors belongings at him as he gave chase for putting his phone in the fridge.
The self-made fun seems to eclipse that of the actual storyline and sadly you’re probably more likely to solve a puzzle this way than good old grey matter.
Graphically, Hello Neighbour isn’t terrible, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. Items (and characters) have a friendly cartoon look to them, and most are well drawn, but some objects seem rushed, such as the box of ‘bits’ which can be thrown, smashed through windows and stood on, and yet nothing falls out or looks any different to when you first pick up the box.
Audio is equally hit and miss, as there’s a degree of tension built up by the simple sound effects or dynamic music as the neighbor spots you, but a little narration or conversation could have changed things for the better considerably.
It’s safe to say that there’s enjoyment to be had, but for me, after hours it was all down to those early sessions, while my kids could happily return to the front door just to see what other items they can throw around, but it feels like we’re missing the point of the game.
AS much as I enjoyed some sections, and want to love Hello Neighbor, it’s not a game I want to return to, I can also completely understand why some people would walk away after just a few minutes, whereas others might spend hours meticulously trying to figure out every last piece of the puzzle without assistance.