Where can you go wrong with a stealth survival horror game? Russian developers Dynamic Pixels decided to explore this question with their first full game Hello Neighbor.
Hello Neighbor a single player horror puzzle game set in a dilapidated neighbourhood where a young boy Nicky Roth becomes suspicious of his neighbours secretive behavior.
Nicky's curiosity gets the better of him & he decides to find out what his odd neighbour is hiding in his basement. Will curiosity kill the cat? Or will Nicky be successful in his endeavour to find out the truth? Play through 4 acts in the game, this will enable you to find out.
The 4 Acts are split as follows:
Through out all the acts you must try to solve problems and puzzles whilst evading the watchful eye of your suspicious neighbour. Once spotted you must evade your neighbours attentions otherwise he will catch you, & this will make the level progressively more difficult. Eluding capture can be done in a number of ways. Throw items at him, use super powers which you will unlock in a number of the games extremely challenging puzzles, or set the neighbour to friendly mode. My advice is just run, run for your life & hope.
This game has a non linear storyline with the only task to enter the basement. There is no guidance or clue to solve the increasingly difficult puzzles. Frustrations increase when you manage to work out what is going on & you either fall to your death due to the poor control system, or you are caught as the prementioned escape techniques either aren't unlocked or just fail miserably.
Act 1,2 & 3 are effectively a repeat of the same task, but with larger & a more difficult fun house to investigate. You progress through the game with no clues of how the game is progressing, even the cinematic give very few hints of how the story is unraveling.
For any achievement hunters this game will massively disappoint you, you won't unlock any achievements until Act 3, by this time you will be desperate for the game to be finished. Hours of trial & error, mainly error will leave you begging for Act 4 the finale to rear it's ugly head. I managed to achieve 1000G in 1 run through which consisted of approximately 8 hours game play, though this was only achievable through the aid of a walk through. All achievements unlocked immediately and none glitched.
This games only saving grace is the suspense created when the neighbour is in close vicinity to the player. This small positive is soon eliminated when all your hard work is undone & you have to work out how you progressed to the area where you were captured.
Controls are terrible, and you will need to check the controller mapping regularly. Due to how awkward the controls are, it is likely you make mistakes and throw key items in error. This may seem an annoyance, but due to graphical glitches that I will discuss in a moment - that item can forever be lost which results in even more frustration.
As a presentation the colours are attractive enough, & the cartoon style isn't horrible by any stretch of the imagination. The graphics and the constant graphical glitches are game breaking. Items thrown to complete a quest, for example placing a simple box to jump through a window, will either absorb into the world never to be seen again, or will rubber band 50 metres away. Never throw a key item as if you lose it, you will need to restart the game.
Dynamic Pixels have since released 2 games in the series Hello Neighbor Hide & Seek, & Secret Neighbor. I only hope for the player base that Dynamic Pixels has learnt from the mistakes in this games.
To conclude would I recommend anyone play this mess of a survival horror stealth game? Absolutely not.
The lack of guidance, poor controls & glitch graphics add to the frustrations of an already difficult game.
If you plan to play it, I advise having a walk through at the ready, as this will be your only means of success.
I score this game 2/5 this review came after approximately 8 hours of soul destroying hours playing, during this time I did manage to achieve the 1000 gamerscore.