Games Review: Hello Neighbor (Xbox One, 2017): Goodbye player

Dynamic Pixels Stealth Survival Horror is a pretty hefty banner to place on their title of Hello Neighbor, especially after recently trying to drift through games such as Outlast 2 and even the beautifully well made Little Nightmares. Hello Neighbor comes about as close to horror as your nanna’s dirty unwashed knickers: it’s creepy, cringe worthy, and leaves a smell you just want to stay clear of.

Am I being too harsh for a game that seems to have a massive fan base (usually 5-12 Year olds) and is only a small indie title? Let’s back track a little, what does one do in Hello Neighbor?

The game is a first-person survival thriller. You’re given nothing but your wits and a simple concept, walk over to your neighbor’s house and sneak in and search through absolutely everything to find a key to a locked door and many a locked door after that, all the while trying to stay quiet and stay hidden from the occupant inside the house. The only thing you have to go in is the Neighbor hiding something in his own house, I mean, it could be his kids Christmas presents, but when there is no set-up and no context to go on, who would know?

I originally downloaded the Alpha back in 2015 and played it with my then 7-Year-Old because of his obsession with watching the YouTube videos, why not give it a download and have a go with him? After downloading it we threw it on and was instantly thrown into a first person perspective looking out a window towards a house across the street, with absolutely no instructions on what we should be doing or even an objective, I was lucky that we had watched a few YouTube videos on the game to give us a decent head start, walk over to your neighbor’s house and sneak in and try and find a key to his basement. Why you ask? I have no idea, the idea of sneaking into a creepy fat and retired looking Inspector Clouseau’s (The Pink Panther) house and being jump scared every damn time, just seemed to be the play of the day along with the now overtired formula that is the Five Nights At Freddy’s franchise.

Sadly, there seems to be a major trend at the moment for unfinished Alpha and Beta titles (Early Access) and it’s not up my alley, after trying a few such titles such as We Happy Few and Subnautica, I expect these early titles to change in the few years they have had for development and from what I have come to witness, they don’t much. Hello Neighbor is no exception here, a seemingly fully developed game that still feels like a tech demo, with no instructions or any resemblance to an even mediocre story. A great concept and a fantastic (if annoying) A.I. marred in it’s weak and lazy execution, maybe it doesn’t matter when your fanbase thinks Roblox is a fine example of gaming?

This early access is becoming an old and stale excuse to take people’s money while still trying to make their game a playable one, it festers on the verge of Microtransactions, I thought Hello Neighbor might have been different, I was wrong.

Score: 4.0 out of 10
Highlights:  A.I. evolves tactics every-time you are caught, The Visual Design is Big and Cute, Encounters and escapes never stop being tense
Lowlights:  Puzzle solutions are so convoluted that YouTube walkthroughs are a must, No clear directions, tutorial or decent story, Your own house seems like wasted potential.
Developer: Dynamic Pixels
Publisher: tinyBuild
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC
Available: Now

Reviewed on Xbox One X with a code provided by the publisher.