A lot of us should in one way or another be familiar with the movie “Rear Window”. This is a movie about a wheelchair-bound man who spies on his neighbors from his apartment. If not the movie you would have seen premise since it has been the homage to countless popular TV shoes and was also the premise behind the 2007 horror movie, Disturbia, starring Shia LeBeouf.
Platform Reviewed: PC
Platforms Available: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: tinyBuild Games
Developer: Dynamic Pixels
Release Date: December 8, 2017
This review is based on a review copy provided by tinyBuild Games.
This is the concept for Hello Neighbor, minus the wheel-chair of course. You move to a new house and almost immediately, you notice that the neighbor living across from you is, at the very least, shady. The biggest clue to this is the big-ass door that screams “DO NOT ENTER”. Armed with Binoculars and whatever you can find, you try and investigate what is really happening with this neighbor of yours.
This is a such an interesting set up for a stealth game that I bought into the Early Access. Yes, this was in early access. It was actually fun seeing the game grow. There were multiple iterations of the neighbor’s house and the new one more intricate than the last. But like a lot of the Early Access Games out there, the magic dies with the promise.
The game is built like a stealth game but plays more like a puzzle game. I know, I know. Stealth games are essentially puzzle games but the stealth in this game might as not well be here because of how linear the house is and how crazy the AI reacts. There is little sense to how the Neighbor responds. At times he is blind, at times he can see you through the walls. You can sometimes run without him even noticing and sometimes you can sneak around and he runs at you for apparent reason. There is no consequence to getting caught as well. You just end up back at your house. The neighbor does up his security by adding cameras or traps or both but this is more like a hindrance than a consequence. It is sometimes beneficial to get caught because you can keep the item you just picked up.
The art style is great though. A cartoonish rendition of suburbia but animated in a way that makes it feel off. Houses are not symmetrical, everything in weird angles. It shows you a reality that is just not right. This is exemplified when you get to the basement areas. The Basement is where the game truly shines but even that is not enough to make up for the game’s shortcomings
Now that the game is out, I honestly have to say that I am a little bit underwhelmed. The concepts in the early access beta was not expanded upon. While it was refined to some extent, the game is still without its bugs and problems. The game showed so much promise but it released in practically the same state. Nothing significant was added, just more of the same. I probably would have had a different opinion if I jumped into this game after it was released but since I saw it grow, the new release holds very little for me.