Hello Neighbor won’t be the very last diversion we examination this year. we can only urge that it will be the worst. As of now, the first-person stealth puzzler is the misfortune diversion we can remember covering in a prolonged time.
That’s a shame, given the grounds is earnest enough. It’s like a suburban take on Rear Window set in the universe of Psychonauts’ Milkman Conspiracy. Empty, disfigured cookie-cutter houses consolidate a cartoonish paranoia. The player character, a immature child presumably local to the spacious street where the diversion takes place, sees something he shouldn’t. His suggested neighbor has shoved a sorrow somebody (or something) into his basement. It’s your pursuit to learn who or what.
All of this is pragmatic by imagery. It has to be, given there isn’t really any discourse in Hello Neighbor. There’s also no educational or anything like a simple relapse of the controls, either. That fast becomes a problem as you comprehend 0 works as it should, from avoiding your pursuer to stacking crates to censor in by windows.
The box and the breaking point
Hello Neighbor is nominally a stealth game. You need to evasion the clutches of the mustachioed neighbor or face being teleported back to the commencement of a given level. But it’s really a nonplus game—one where you poke around for the right objects to open the right doors or flip the right switches at the right times.
It all feels terribly uncertain. There’s no option to dump objects you collect up, for instance, only varying degrees of hurling them. That becomes an issue almost immediately in the game’s very first puzzle, which calls for clever bin stacking. Maybe you’ll huck a box as kindly as probable into a wall or the belligerent only to have it proviso by plain matter interjection to the game’s vicious writing issues. Or maybe it’ll rebound so tough it flies 30 feet in the air. Or maybe it’ll hit you so tough that your impression does the flying! The production are so world-class wonky, on top of the close intent control, it’s tough to know what to expect.
Around these obstacles is the complicated neighbor. The chastisement for being held by him isn’t too rough; you just restart a turn with some or all of your swell intact. But it’s not always transparent how much swell is lost. Sometimes broken windows and built crates stay that way. Other times, they don’t.
Likewise, and even some-more frustrating, it’s next to unfit to map the neighbor’s behavior. Sometimes he can hear you tiptoeing around him by walls or 50 paces over his shoulder. Other times we could scurry up behind him and not be heard. Whatever the case, it’s impossibly formidable to tract an shun if and when his pointy warning music does sound off. You can hurl waste into his face to delayed him down or try to censor in cabinets, but differently your means of shun feel insignificant compared to your frustratingly unstoppable assailant.
You can’t look around corners. If a doorway opens inward, it’ll time your character’s face unless you proceed it from just the right stretch and angle (which is just the many masterfully frustrating thing when you need to kick a reckless retreat). You can’t actually move objects out of the way but picking them up, either, so you need to transparent out register space just to change some waste that’s restraint a story-critical door. Oh, and backing up your reticule to correlate with objects in the first place is fiddly as all get out.
A series of hapless problems
If this examination seems like an unconstrained list of grievances so far, that’s contemplative of how Hello Neighbor feels moment to moment. The diversion is all about reaching some puzzle—a doorway that needs opening, or window that needs breaking-—and remembering every vivid technical problem in sequence. Then it’s starting all over again if the production mangle in just the wrong way to reset your swell to 0 or if the neighbor boxes you into a corner.
You can’t even save trash or simply restart levels if things go totally sideways. As with getting held by the neighbor, “restarting” a territory doesn’t actually reset anything. It just teleports you back to the commencement of the level; your register and swell sojourn unchanged. So when we incidentally chucked a vicious flashlight in a representation black basement, we figured it would be easier to just start over rather than trying in vain to collect it. Nope, the flashlight remained lost, forcing me to fail around for the required symbol in the dim for a half hour. Restarting was only really useful when we reached an differently game-breaking bug that trapped me between two fences.
Incomprehensible, unsatisfying, forgettable
Even but the technical problems, you’d still have to nonplus out Hello Neighbor’s utterly unintuitive puzzles. The tutorial-free first turn does at slightest indicate you need to get into the basement. But the tangible first step in the goal is to strech the attic, collect a captivating doohickey, and use it to obstacle an harmless piece of angled steel that turns out to be a lockpick. Things only get some-more inferior from there as the game’s lax tract turns some-more surreal.
That surrealism is enticing, but it’s just not adequate to make up for the game’s duds of issues. Even good after its open release, Hello Neighbor still looks and feels unfinished. A few bug fixes and additions (like an easy environment for your opponent’s AI) haven’t shored up the core gameplay issues, much reduction the ubiquitous miss of polish. The neighbor still shivers and skids opposite the ground. The audio still pops when the warning music abruptly cuts out as you escape…
While there’s a earnest grounds here, Hello Neighbor is an increasingly surreal mess. Its visible storytelling, which strangely mostly plays out in scenes after you get caught, can’t mount up in a torrent of bad design. Here’s anticipating we won’t have to play another diversion like it before 2018.
- A surreal grounds consistent Rear Window and Psychonauts
- Infuriating, ham-fisted controls
- Buggy, capricious physics
- Nonsensical puzzles
- Inscrutable rivalry AI
- Game-breaking bugs
- Pushing a story-critical intent by a wall and having to figure out where it wound up
Verdict: Hello Neighbor is the misfortune diversion I’ve reviewed all year. Skip it with prejudice.