Hello Neighbor – Xbox One Review
Everybody likes a good scare. The thrilling feeling emotion of a jump scare without having your life actually at risk gets the blood flowing and causes the unique feeling for players. Dynamic Pixels has attempted to do just that with Hello Neighbor inviting players to be a small child being hunted down by a creepy neighbour that you’ve decided to break in the house of. However, with the look of a childrens cartoon and no real suspense build up, Hello Neighbor falls short of what it ultimately wants to achieve.
Being a small nameless child, you witness a neighbour up to some suspicious acts as he stashes things in his basement. This sets up the suspicion that you want to investigate. Of course, since you’re entering a strangers home they are not going to be very welcoming. This causes you to use stealth to navigate the core doors without being caught.
Although there is a backstory that gives you an idea of your neighbour and his past, there is no real interest in that story. Told through lackluster cutscenes it never really engaged me enough to care why I was doing, what I was doing and who he was.
You analyze each act with learning locations in the house as well as key items. Items are scattered in the most infuriating areas. Why would a key card be in a refrigerator or a wrench be in a cookie jar? You will be forced to investigate every nook and cranny of each room which in theory would be great however the roving neighbor makes it extremely difficult. Dynamic Pixels raved about the intelligent AI used in Hello Neighbor wherein your assailant will learn your habits. This is a big hit or miss theory. At some point it was easier to just glitch the game on his paths instead of trying to outwit him. Sometimes you could walk right past him without being noticed and other times he could pick you out from the other side of the map. It is extremely difficult to keep away from him and when caught there is no real punishment mechanic put in place.
Any items that you did find you do get to keep but he will put up additional traps in the areas that you still need to investigate. This makes an already difficult situation even more difficult and makes you feel hopeless. As much as I appreciate difficulty in games, there’s a little overboard here without any real guidance for new players.
Speaking of glitches mentioned earlier, there a good bit here. It was easy to get the neighbour stuck in a door or in a wall. Thrown items even caused the items to bounce uncontrollably from the floor to the ceiling. This and the AI just sometimes deciding to ignore me or hunt me like a professional was irritating. It causes players to not be able to make a set plan of attack since the AI is inconsistent, no matter how ‘intelligent’ he may be.
Visually, the game is amazing. I really enjoy the animated style of Hello Neighbor but it is also a drawback from the game. This is supposed to be a scare horror game. The bright colors and model design makes it look more like a childrens cartoon and offers no real fear.
Hello Neighbor is available now in the Xbox Store, priced at £23.99.