When I was a kid, I had a pair of creepy, reclusive neighbors who lived next door and greeted everyone with a sneer. My imagination spent a lot of time constructing what kind of weird stuff might actually be going on in their shuttered, suburban home - so the premise of Hello Neighbor was enticing because it was practically out of my autobiography. As the plucky, unnamed child protagonist, you hear and see some disturbing things through your strange middle-aged neighbor’s window and take it upon yourself to investigate. Unfortunately, the most disturbing thing you find within ends up being the puzzle design.
Hello Neighbor is essentially a stealth game in which the ultimate goal of each of its three acts is to find a way into the neighbor’s basement and uncover what he’s hiding while he roams around trying to catch you and kick you out. However, because the house’s floor plan gets larger and more elaborate across each of the acts, it creates some pacing issues and a strange inverse difficulty curve where stealth is much harder to maintain in the beginning. Act 1’s modest cottage, for instance, was a pain to infiltrate due to the sheer lack of space between me and the neighbor. He was always practically on top of me, and getting caught was very common, even with cabinets to hide in and the ability to slow him down by throwing objects in his path. This served to really dull the tension - a good horror game makes you afraid of getting caught but avoids having it happen too commonly, lest you lose the fear of failure.
This is a syndicated post. Read the original at IGN Game Reviews 2017-12-11.