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Hello Neighbor

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Hello Neighbor
Helloneighbor.png
"This game's a nuisance to my plans! Get out of my house!"
Protagonist(s): Nicky Roth
Genre(s): Stealth
Survival "Horror"
Platformer
Puzzle
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Xbox One
Android
iOS
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
Stadia
Release: Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
December 8, 2017
Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
July 26, 2018
Stadia
September 1, 2020
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Developer(s): Dynamic Pixels
Publisher(s): tinyBuild
Country: Russia
Series: Hello Neighbor
Predecessor: Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek (chronologically)
Successor: Hello Neighbor: Hide and Seek (by release date)
Hello Neighbor 2 (canonically)


"There's a lot more stuff, but I can't honestly say that the stuff is better. And that's the one thing that I'll say about it because I'm expecting as the game develops, it's going to get like more logical and sensible and, you know, it just seems even more nonsensical than it was before. So there's a lot more, but it's less refined. "
Markiplier

Hello Neighbor is a stealth survival horror game developed by Dynamic Pixels and published by tinyBuild. The goal of the game is to successfully sneak into the basement of the neighbor's house to uncover a secret. The game's artificial intelligence modifies Peterson's behavior based on the player's past actions, such as setting traps along paths the player "Nicky Roth" followed in a previous attempt.

Plot

Nicky Roth is playing with a ball in the street when he hears screams coming from his neighbor's house. He sees his neighbor Theodore Peterson lock something behind the basement door. When Peterson gets wind of this, he breaks out through the window, grabs Nicky back, and moves him back to his own front lawn. Nicky then decides to break into Mr. Peterson's basement to find out what he's hiding. Unfortunately, Peterson tracks him down and apprehends him after he breaks into the basement. Nicky manages to flee with the assistance of a child trapped in the basement two months later but suffers from PTSD as a result of the ordeal.

Nicky is evicted for non-payment 19 years later but returns to his Raven Brooks house. He realized that his neighbor's house has been demolished and walks over to it, recalling all that has transpired there. He develops paranoia and begins to hallucinate things due to his wild imagination. On the sofa, he falls asleep and learns to overcome his childhood fear.

Why It Should Say Goodbye Instead

  1. The game was rushed for the holidays, making various aspects of this game unpolished and riddled to the brim with questionable design choices in regards to the gameplay.
  2. One of the biggest issues is how easy it is to exploit and cheese through the game. Act 2 is the best example as you can climb the ladder in the front of the house, take 5 boxes, jump and stack them on top of each other, and then run and jump to the trampoline. If you do this correctly you can beat the level in a minute.[1]
  3. There is a chance that items may potentially fall across the map due to poor collision detection and therefore soft-locking your progress completely, sometimes these that are essential to proceed in puzzles. The only method to get those stuff back is to reload the game from a previous save.
  4. One of the game's biggest selling points was that it would have an adaptive AI so the Neighbor would learn from all of your previous attempts to get into his basement (similar to the Xenomorph's AI from Alien Isolation), such as setting up traps, taking interconnected shortcuts within the house, and frequently camping at territories you'll constantly go through. The AI however got progressively worse through every alpha, leading up to the betas, resulting in the final version of AI being severely watered down to the point it's considered to be embarrassingly broken in terms of functionalities and bafflingly inconsistent. Not to mention, the neighbor may get stuck on certain parts of the environment itself and can't even reach the player when they're standing on higher ground. This, in turn, makes the Neighbor feel like a poorly executed obstacle. The Neighbor would've been an excellent antagonist if he was simply placed in a bog-standards labyrinth, where everything was built to accommodate his mechanics, but they didn't program his pathfinding functions to really be able to navigate his own house, so most of the time he's only a threat if you're on the first floor. By the time you reached Act 3, the house is a glorified mansion where he can't even access most of the rooms.
    • It feels as if the developers had all these ideas and threw them all in at once rather than extending and refining the fundamental gameplay elements they originally started with. Combine that with the idea that the devs seemed more focused on making the game seem like it has intriguing lore like FNAF, and you have a game that tries to be too many things at once. It’s a stealth game where you avoid the neighbor, and has horror elements, platforming, puzzles, and deep, convoluted lore. What initially drew people to the game was the AI of the neighbor learning from your previous failures (boarding up windows, checking closets, etc.). They should’ve focused on that and stealth elements rather than try to make it a weird amalgamation of different genres.
  5. There's no punishment for avoiding the neighbor. Similar to being nabbed by the neighbor, "restarting" a section somehow doesn't effectively reset anything. It just teleports you back to the beginning of the level; your inventory and progress are unchanged. Since being caught by the Neighbor just results in the player respawning in the backyard as if nothing had occurred, it does not deplete your inventory or impede your progress, implying that it only discourages the player from engaging in such behavior.
  6. The game is advertised as horror/stealth but there are almost no scary moments whatsoever aside from a few moments here and there and even then it's not genuinely that spooky in the slightest. Aside from the creepy music, most of the game is about as scary as a child playing keep-away with a toy from an adult. While the neighbor chasing you might freak you out at first glance, it gets annoying quickly. The only reason it's categorized as "horror" is that when the Neighbor approaches you within a certain distance, there's an obvious thumping noise in the background and screen distortion (it was supposed to build tension but even then, they somehow bafflingly failed at that), and when you do get caught, being stared at by a guy staring right at your soul is more laughable than creepy, killing off all tension from the experience.
    • One may argue that since Hello Neighbor was marketed to children as a profitable target demographic judging from the popularity amongst the YouTube community of 9 to 13-year-olds, it follows a formula that generally involves amputating anything "terrifying" from the game so that youngsters aren't discouraged and the devs remarkably kneecapped all of the initially darker and mature elements of the story/aesthetics into something much more child-friendly.
  7. The game has no tutorial and doesn't have a list of objectives that the player can look at to know what they have to do. After the first Act, the game doesn't tell what you're intended to accomplish, therefore you'll have to search every nook and cranny to supposedly figure out where or what your goal is.
  8. Subpar and downgraded graphics. While the art style is fairly interesting for a horror game since it's supposedly inspired by Tim Burton’s works and to make the aesthetics feel authentic, everything is unfortunately ruined by low-quality textures, poor optimization, shoddy lighting, and overall bland visuals that make the game look like a late PS3 and Xbox 360 title despite being made on Unreal Engine 4. It's even more disappointing when the announcement trailer and the earlier alphas seemingly look better than the final product in terms of presentation, likely because of having a far more realistic and grounded art direction. Apparently, the developers decidedly went for a more over-exaggerated, cartoonish, and polygonal approach to their art direction, yet it happens to look very unappealing since everything looks way too bright, plastic-looking, and superficial.
    • The Switch edition is even worse due to both hardware limitations and the fact that it’s identical to the mobile version.
  9. The game also has a good number of invisible walls, low draw distance, and backgrounds that are poorly put together. You can see this clearly in Act 3 on the roof of the house since you can see where the world ends, as well as see that the buildings in the distance are 2D and the factory is half-attached to the ground.
  10. The in-game language is mostly gibberish and looks like it was written by a dyslexic; for example, posters with missing children say "simming". There is no justification for this, and it makes everything seem impossible to read and/or comprehend anything.
  11. It can be needlessly hard to avoid/escape the Neighbor due to his inconsistent AI being an annoyance to your progress, not helped by the fact that he throws tomatoes (which obscure your view) and glue bottles (which slow you down) at you. When the Neighbor throws tomatoes at you, there's a low-resolution tomato splatter effect that was obviously taken from Google and photoshopped onto the screen for whatever reason.
    • This is especially annoying in Act 2 since you don't a safe spot where the Neighbor can't catch you, so when you get spotted you just have to keep running and hope for the best, and if you get caught you have to watch the same animation of Nicky climbing out of the basement every time.
  12. The puzzles are near-incomprehensible, paradoxical, and obtuse for a game that is intended for ages 10 and up. They are largely illogical most of the time and don't provide any necessary explanation or information on how to solve them or what you'd specifically need for them, forcing you to explore every inch of the house and experiment with the items you find to see what works and what doesn't. The components of the solution presented, and the answers make logical sense in retrospect, although in unusual or difficult-to-notice ways. You may believe that no one could possibly solve these puzzle on their own because of how badly designed or executed it is. They weren't a mystery that you could solve, they were a bunch of arbitrary and esoteric factors that you fiddled around with till you got them right, which is NOT something fun.
    • Such as in the alphas, platforming was avoidable because there was other ways to progress the game. But in the full game, there's NO CHOICE. You HAVE to platform while combating the game's terrible physics to progress. One of the fear rooms is an example of this.
    • For example, at one point you must freeze a pool of water in a room that the Neighbor has flooded so you may walk over it to reach a shelf and acquire a key, which you do by removing a globe of the Earth, placing it in the neighbor's freezer, and then setting it on a pedestal (while normally, the ice on the frozen globe would just melt). Other times, the hints that would lead to the solution are so bizarre that the player wonders, "How was I supposed to know that?" It feels like some of the inspiration for the puzzles in this game came from Hidden Object Games and Point-and-Click Adventure games. Doesn't matter if you have a sledgehammer in your inventory; what you REALLY need to break open this here wooden box is a penknife to pry open the lid. Additionally, there's also a puzzle where you're supposed to put a wrench into a contraption located on the rooftops that are being spun together by gears which presumably stopped it, and the fact that wrenches could idiosyncratically stop physical machinery from operating entirely was never brought up in the game.
    • There are even moments where parts you need to solve the puzzles end up not spawning in-game, making them impossible to beat.
  13. Hello Neighbor is utterly lacking in internal consistency and self-contradicts itself when it comes to establishing its own rules to its whim, almost as if the devs improvised everything as they went along. For example, there's no fall damage in Act 1, but in the next subsequent Acts, there is, as well as introducing a day-and-night cycle that comes out of nowhere.
  14. The length is pretty short and shallow, as there are only four chapters in the entire game. The game tries to artificially extend the length via the sheer amount of platforming and the obtuse puzzles. Realistically, the game is maybe an hour long. Will it take you longer than that to solve? Probably, but it will be flipping the same switches, stacking the same boxes, and interacting with the same objects in a relatively tiny and empty world until you solve whatever abstract method is needed to unlock your next door. Once you know what to do, you can beat it in 35 minutes (with glitches and not counting cutscenes), as seen in speedruns.
  15. Act 3 is without a doubt the worst level in the entire game, and it is rather irritating due to the bizarre, topsy-turvy structure of the Neighbor's labyrinthine and geometry-defying amalgamation of a dilapidated house. Just because it's bigger and fundamentally more complicated in terms of gaming mechanics doesn't mean it's better, because the incomprehensible level design and architecture make it exhausting for the player to fulfill certain objectives. Due to the lack of directions, the puzzles are exceedingly obscure and rely on an artificial sequence that never leads anywhere. Almost every room in this sprawling mansion is absurdly enormous, with many of them being entirely empty and leading to nowhere only to entice you in. Many rooms are segregated from one another and require extra entryways, regardless of the fact that the Neighbor couldn't get into half of the property and, even if he could, he'd be someplace else. Accessing rooms would not be such an off-putting task if it weren't for the platforming.
    • Normally, given the revamped architecture with different pathways, as well as the increasingly difficult challenges, you'd think you'll be able to devise several techniques and shortcuts to overcome various scenarios, but the game frequently railroads you into proceeding into a sequence of one particular direction after another. For example, there are two different record players, one that makes plants flourish spontaneously and the other that makes them wither away, with the latter being hidden from you by the game.
      • Some of the places are near a fully-operational roller-coaster supported by nothing, curving halls, and other physics-defying hazards, requiring you to rely largely on the incongruous and sloppily-designed platforming. Because there was so much area to go around in, fleeing the neighbor became as simple as running around him, leaving him ineffective as a challenge to the player and traps (particularly floor-based traps) entirely meaningless. There are also some remarkable segments where you must strike a painting of a golden apple in order to disclose a secret passageway from a neighboring artwork in an uncomfortable manner. It's not required but nonetheless makes fast traveling more efficient. Many secrets are frequently concealed throughout the game, some of which are significantly more difficult to collect than any item necessary to progress.
  16. While navigating different portions of the home, you'll need to seek for hidden keys to enter other rooms, which are only located in very particular areas and are predominantly limited to that location since you'll need power-ups to get through the barriers in your way. In RPGs and Metroidvanias, they might have certain areas restricted from the beginning until you finally discovered a certain skill or item, allowing you to traverse obstacles and "unlock" new places while also functioning as more than simply a "key." As the player explores, they will encounter several impenetrable hurdles to which they must return after discovering the necessary item/ability. It's normally quite apparent what you need and progression is typically streamlined and simple, but the game is terrible at communicating and expressing what you need to finish the game, to the point you may completely forget that you've already unlocked those abilities.
    • To get these abilities, you must complete playable mini-games known as the Fear Rooms, which are similar to the aforementioned dream sequences but somehow felt a lot more difficult and aggravating. They serve absolutely no purpose beyond dragging out the game's pacing to an unbearable degree and as an attempt for the developer to shoehorn mysterious "lore" with no substance whatsoever.
      • Fear School: This level is set in a foreboding, gloomy school where you are followed and trying to hide from the mannequins who are most likely other students. When defeated, the ability to shove the Neighbor away from you becomes available. To progress, you must wait for each succeeding bell to strike before moving on. The first bell sends the mannequin students aimlessly rolling about the level, and the second returns them to their desks, unable to catch you. The primary issue is that the hall-monitor mannequins are unpredictable and catch you off guard in the darkness; it also doesn't help that there are a disproportionately high number of them spread about in random spawn regions, making it easy for them to corner you.
      • Fear Darkness: This level takes place in an oversized pantry where you must use the shelves to work your way to the top as the eyes peer out of the darkness at you. It unlocks the ability to double jump after you've defeated it. It is without a doubt the most exasperating of all the Fear Rooms accessible, as it focuses heavily on parkour and more platforming, where the majority of it entails hopping between from lower shelves to higher ones. If you mess you will likely fall back at the beginning. The level abruptly gets proportional and smaller as you reach the summit, which doesn't help either.
      • Fear Supermarket: This level takes place in a surrealistic, dimly-lit grocery store, where you are pursued by mannequins who are most likely representing other consumers. When defeated, the ability to turn invisible by crouching (indicated by the fuzzy screen) is unlocked. You must purchase various products (such as a bag of potato chips, a small jar of strawberries, as well as a bigger jar of strawberries, orange juice, and pickles), place them in the shopping cart, then drive your cart all the way to the end of the store. The mannequin shoppers, meanwhile, will try to murder you, and if they succeed, the level will once again restart from the beginning. This part is repetitive since putting all of the products in your shopping cart is very awkward owing to the janky, unresponsive physics, and you can't waste time because there is a time restriction. Once an alarm blares in the background, the level will be reset, resetting your progress back from the beginning. When you go to the checkout, a mannequin will check to see whether you have the right quantity of products you've purchased from this supermarket and the right types. If you have at least one red light for every missing or incorrect item in your shopping list, then the mannequin will push a button, dropping you into a bottomless pit.
  17. Admittedly, the narrative is fascinating and well-written if you look hard enough. Unfortunately, because how the lore is so unfavorably complicated and loosely connected story fragments cobbled together by a jumbled thread, it is not fully accountable and/or extremely vague. All that happens in the game is that Nicky Roth was an annoying brat who decided to break into his neighbor's house but got kidnapped and locked in said basement, from which he escapes. A couple of years later he's forced to leave his apartment and move into his childhood home where the first two acts of the game took place. For some reason, the neighbor's house is now demolished, and when Nicky investigates it, he witnessed a shadow demon. The Neighbor is nowhere to be seen, but living across the street again is probably enough to reawaken "the trauma" of being caught during a home invasion and now Nicky resolves all his life's problems during a single nap on his couch. After confronting his inner demons and childhood trauma, the game ends with little to no explanation whatsoever. The fact that the burnt-up ruin of the Neighbor's house doesn't even have a basement implies that probably nothing that Nicky ever saw in their neighbor's house was real, to begin with.
    • While it is never disclosed what is truly in the basement, there are indications throughout the game since the developers chose to take inspiration from the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise where you go through a told in odd vignettes that play, for some reason, only if you are caught enough times in each Act. This will offer you hints to the Neighbor's background, most of which are told in obvious symbolism. Aside from some of the more apparent ones, the problem is how shallow most of these elements are told, rendering them very ambiguous, disjointed, and imprecise for the player's investment in the mystery.
      • The following is what happened: Before the events of the game, Theodore Peterson (the neighbor) lived happily with Diane Peterson (his wife), Mya Peterson (his daughter), and Aaron Peterson (his son). Eventually, Mr. Peterson, a theme park designer, built a theme park called "The Golden Apple Theme Park" in which he built the Rotten Core Roller Coaster. It was unsafe, causing a first-grade girl's death. The town of Raven Brooks was devastated and burnt down the theme park. A few years later, Nicky Roth and his family moved into the neighborhood. Aaron and Nicky became best friends and start hanging out. One day, Diane dies in a car accident. A while later, Aaron gets upset to the point where he brings Mya's doll up to the roof and hides it, when Mya reaches to grab it, he throws the doll off, and then accidentally pushes her off the roof to her death. Theodore digs a grave in the backyard for his daughter, and then the beginning of Act 1 takes place as Theodore locks his son in the basement.[2]
      • A mysterious shadowy figure begins to appear in Act 3 as some kind of Lovecraftian deity for dramatic purposes despite never appearing in any other Act. This is eventually explained in the books that it’s supposed to be a representation of Nicky's trauma, even though you might already knew this from the start.
    • Keep in mind, this explanation is not really told in the game itself, but instead via other Hello Neighbor games and books.
    • It's possible the devs saw the rise of “horror games for kids” and decided to hop on the trend. This resulted in them gutting the AI to make it more “casual,” and focused more on movement. It also resulted in them changing the art style to make it more wacky and cartoony to appeal to younger audiences. The constant changing story might also be related to this, since it feels like the devs purposely changed ideas to keep people guessing, much like the FNAF mysteries.
  18. The story has a message where you must conquer your childhood trauma or do something to move on, while complex and somewhat meaningful, is insultingly pretentious since it constantly force-feeds the player with obvious symbolism down their throat and never does anything with it, all while attempting to make everything seem "deep" and "meaningful" without any real effort.
  19. The background of the Neighbor himself is also another grossly underutilized and wasted opportunity. While it could've been a meaningful part of the storyline, it basically boils down to just unpleasant memories with very psychedelic and nonsensical content that doesn't add up to anything. It didn't have to be spectacular, but it might have been potentially respectable. There are plenty of other horror games that spring to mind where the main antagonist's backstory is brilliant or at least admirable, and it adds so much to the immersive experience, generally by adding a whole new layer and fleshing out their motivations. Unfortunately, like with too many games, it's simply too superficial, and there's absolutely no payoff in delving further to understand the neighbor's intentions or personality, which merely makes him a dull and uninteresting character, despite being the game's major draw, which is ironic at worst.
  20. The Switch version cost almost full retail price ($39.99) while the mobile version cost less ($14.99) even though both versions are identical, which is unusually expensive for an indie game (although this is probably the result of Nintendo Switch cartridges being expensive to produce and Nintendo wanting physical and digital games to be the same price).
  21. Absolutely no replay value since there are no unlockables or collectibles.
  22. The achievements are the longest section of the game, not because they are difficult, but because they are ridiculously long. There are seven in a row where you simply stroll across a massive empty zone and earn an accomplishment for being near a building while accomplishing nothing of relevance. Another approach is to watch a tree grow. You physically plant the seed and sit there and watch it grow for 3 hours in real-time. You will not receive the achievement if you continue without waiting.
  23. Horrendous platforming due to how wonky the movement is. You only move in one particular direction when jumping, which can make platforming sections very frustrating. Sometimes you simply can't get it to leap the way you want it to, or you get easily snagged on smooth terrain, or you glitch into an item and get trapped, etc.
    • It's quite odd how the game took a focus on platforming in its gameplay when in truth, the way the house itself is modeled doesn't properly facilitate the necessity of platforming. Like, there are parts of the house that require nonsensical moves you need to perform in order to reach certain places, which only leads to moments of unfettered frustration. What makes the platforming even worse is the abundance of convoluted puzzles. You come across a certain section of the Neighbor's house you need to enter, but you can't do that unless you have a certain item, and you can't get that certain item unless you do this set of platforming moves. That gameplay cycle repeats over and over until you just become annoyed and fed up with the confusion.
      • Simply put, the design of the house actively works against the implemented platforming system, which is further exacerbated by the mishmash of confusing puzzles. It's because of this that getting to where you need to go becomes a downright unenjoyable practice in trial and error, and when you're making a game, the very last thing you want for it is to be unenjoyable.
  24. The physics are unpredictable, while the box-stacking gameplay is possibly some of the jankiest execution of these concepts. Due to how floaty everything is, the objects you throw fly kilometers away to the point it makes stacking them very unreliable. When you walk over a trash bag, it will either bounce you up into the air and reset your progress, or it will send you flying across the street, or it will cause you to walk over it correctly because it was only supposed to be a small bump in front of you. And stacking boxes (which is required for numerous puzzles) is less about figuring out what to do and more about keeping them from toppling over or floating at an unusual angle rather than at resting level.
  25. Interacting with items is not always taken into account. When flicking switches, you should press E, and when picking up stuff, you should hold E. However, either can fail and leave you wondering if the thing you were dealing with was static or if you could actually move or pick it up. Since this is your primary interaction with the environment, most problem solving may become a monotonous endeavor and, at times, a waste of time when you circle around to something you've already done and realize that it works this time but not the last. There is no option to dump anything that you pick up, simply varying degrees of throwing. You can't move items without picking them up, thus you'll need to take up inventory space only to move some rubble that's obstructing a story-critical door. Oh, and getting your crosshair to interact with items in the first place is a hassle.
  26. Unbelievably large amounts of bugs and glitches everywhere. This includes the Neighbor getting stuck in random sections of his house, the roller coaster cart clipping through the player instead of killing them, and various objects and other furniture glitching out of existence.
  27. Regardless of the fact that the game was being called, you know, Hello Neighbor, it eventually stopped being ABOUT the neighbor and more about the player instead. Everything in Act 3 turned out to be a convoluted dream sequence about Nicky seemingly conquering his PTSD from that traumatic childhood experience, and bringing his furniture into his old house at the end. This effectively renders the struggle that the player character went through seem insignificant and meaningless since there are no consequences whatsoever and practically invalidates the whole experience with such an unsatisfying conclusion. The final release was meant to answer everyone's questions, yet it just raised more. As a result, the final product appears to be a massive middle finger to all of the game's (now primarily former) fans and alienates the playerbase in general. You were promised to see what was in the basement, but this does not occur, which is another example of misleading advertising.
    • If developers had no idea what they were doing when they created this game, it's only natural that they would fail to tie everything together in the end. They'd probably say something silly like "the neighbor's secret isn't the point" to sound "deep" and "serious", but the truth is that they never really wrote a compelling narrative of the main character's fears and insecurities being the real conflict; they clearly jumped on that train halfway through writing the game's final script. They couldn't think of anything cool to put in the basement, so they did the worst thing imaginable: they didn't put anything in there.
      • However, it's been stated that the final revelation is supposed to be that the Neighbor was keeping his son locked up down there (since the "push a cardboard cutout into the infinite abyss" nightmare sequence was supposed to symbolize that he knocked his sister off the roof and killed her), but that's so unclear in the final game that it ultimately ends up being inconsequential. There's just generally a lot of interesting story ideas that could come from the premise of trying to sneak into the basement of somebody who's clearly up to no good, but then they just made it about a misunderstood father who lost his family completely and imprisoned his son, while most of the game is about you dealing with childhood trauma.
  28. Even the developers are aware of how confusing the lore of the game is. On tinyBuild's now-deleted series of tweets[3], they have stooped to the franchise's biggest low point by repeatedly tweeting at MatPat, begging him to analyze it frame by frame, answer their DMs, etc. These tweets have gone viral online and are typically exemplified whenever a developer submissively tries to court favor desperately or publicly communicate with a more prominent content creator to acquire more recognition. Nonetheless, it perfectly validates the fact that the direction for the development of this game was eventually refocused around how mysterious lore is and making the game seemingly deeper than it is, and if that fails, they have no alternatives left.
    • It's hardly debatable that Hello Neighbor is a case study to look back on people trying to ride the coattails of FNAF in the most desperate ways possible. The moment they dropped those alpha keys, it was likely the publisher that saw dollar signs in their eyes; and almost immediately shifted the project to bank completely on Youtubers for any success of the game. Throughout the alphas, they dumbed down or neutered any actually decent gameplay elements in favor of goofy physics and quick tension for a stream commentator to yell at and in the process expose Hello Neighbor to hundreds of thousands of people, mainly kids. They made the lore as cryptic and mysterious as possible (bonus points for having the characters speak a made-up language or be completely silent) so all the theory channels ate it up, exposing the game to even more people.
      • Eventually, it was revealed that apparently the tinyBuild employee who is responsible for those tweets and kept bothering MatPat for a theory video in question, was (allegedly) a MatPat fanboy. They were reprimanded according to a public statement and got kicked out of the company headquarters after this incident. Or, you know, that's what they want us to believe.
    • Funnily enough, Matpat later made a video discussing how a lot of his theories singlehandedly changed the direction of several indie horror games and straying too far from what they originally are. It's almost as if these developers were prioritizing his theories (even if most of them are way too far-fetched) to make up the bulk of their stories, rewritting their original script to subvert public expectations regardless of how the final product turned out to be, and as a marketing strategy to determine their quick popularity for a short while.
  29. The "boss battles" with the giant Neighbor and Shadow are anticlimactically boring in their own right and not actual fights since both of them aren't really that challenging.
    • When he's finally confronted at the end, out of nowhere, the Neighbor becomes a giant standing in a featureless white void full of equally giant furniture and objects, and you have to solve puzzles and platforming challenges throughout the room to beat him. However, he doesn't actually ever move or attack; all he does is stand in a single spot, flinching and making the noises he normally makes when he sees you. This leaves you to do nothing except solve the somewhat counterintuitive puzzles and rely on the buggy physics engine to stay on top of the elaborate floating platform sequences. Oh, and your movement is slowed to a crawl the whole time.
    • The Shadow, after being teased throughout the previous builds as a greater evil the Neighbor might have made a deal with the devil, is ultimately evaded in an escort mission-type sequence with a heavy focus on trial-and-error where the player has to stand in front of Nicky's child self until they grow the same size as the Shadow and then the "fight" is over. The Shadow itself is little more than a scripted boss that repeatedly slams the house. The fact that bugs and stilted animation plague the sequence doesn't help matters.
  30. Overall, Hello Neighbor wonderfully encapsulates a running trend of indie horror games relying upon a dysfunctional Youtuber hype-driven marketing for children that went horribly wrong. A terrible example of what occurs when someone has anything to inherently make it potentially work but is determined to produce a product based on taking advantage of the supposedly large mainstream audience attracted to the intrigue and mystery of other indie games out there like the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise, Undertale, Doki Doki Literature Club, and even Friday Night Funkin'. And an even worse illustration of what occurs when someone is overambitious at something beyond their capabilities and desperate for clout ignores what the ultimate result should have always been, leaving it a wandering corpse that contradicts its own existence. It's basically the horror game equivalent of Yandere Simulator and Mighty No. 9, as the development process took exceedingly longer than it should have, incrementally getting worse and worse with each following updates instead of improving itself, doesn't recognize its own strengths or shortcomings, and purposefully rides on the buzz of a continuously changing, always evolving subgenre of media while attempting to stretch it out as long as possible. This overhyped, yet underdelivered game only wanted its fifteen seconds of fame and had absolutely no clue what to do with it, and now we're stuck with the upcoming sequel Hello Neighbor 2, which was given such a shamelessly messed-up end product to work around with that they opted to (ironically) pretend it was all a dream anyway.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Decent soundtrack that sounds depressing and scary, especially the main menu theme, which is particularly well done.
  2. The character designs are generally passable for the most part since there are only about three in this game (not counting the side characters such as the Neighbor's family from the spin-offs and novels).
  3. As said, while the narrative is relatively good (albeit very superficial, pretentious, and cryptic in execution) but one shouldn’t rely on external media to know what is going on.
  4. Despite the rage-inducing platforming and numerous glitches that bog down the performance, Act 1 is nonetheless regarded by many as the best of all three Acts, considering the fact that it takes place in a smaller, tighter environment and faithfully adheres more to the original "breaking and enterint" concept in the previous alphas than the later subsequent acts.
  5. The neighbor's basement is genuinely spooky in terms of atmosphere, filled with darker lighting and an ominous soundtrack. It's arguably one of the few instances where the game actually tries to be scary.
  6. Unlike a lot of modern games, this one actually supports mods.
  7. It's not uncommon for people to frequently claim that the first game's alpha builds were unanimously way more superior and excellent in comparison to the final product, as they have a creepier soundtrack, atmospheric setting, and presentation that look beautiful, the AI is a lot more intelligent, and the art style is far more grounded in reality. The house was very claustrophobic, and every room had a different puzzle to be solved and sprinkled with some vague message that was up for interpretation. Everything was tightly packed, corridors were narrow, clutter everywhere, giving that feeling of uneasiness and the idea that if you were caught in the wrong room, you'd have nowhere to run, not to mention how being caught meant the places you've been to or want to go would be even more guarded. The old puzzles were actually very intuitive and you could tell what you were supposed to do via little hints around the world. Hello Neighbor would've been remembered as a decent tech demo if it never got a single additional alpha.
    • As such, the general consensus is that the alpha showed promise with a simple but legitimately effective concept, whereas subsequent iterations complicate it to the point of scarcely matching the game that was promised. This group believes that instead of trying to add more to a game that may have worked better without it, they should have perfected what they had. It's possible the developers simply got too ambitious and bit off more than they could chew, unfortunately. The original scope was perfect for what the game should have been, and the stylistic changes and crazy, off-the-rails upgrades to the house ultimately made Hello Neighbor much less fun and interesting to play. It went from a unique and fairly atmospheric little horror game to a mindless pile of unfinished and poorly thought-out ideas.
  8. Although the execution was disappointing, for the most part, the whole premise about a creepy neighbor hiding a dark secret that is related to the basement is an otherwise original concept, especially for a horror game. It's like a suburban take on Don't Breathe set in the realm of the Psychonauts' Milkman Conspiracy.

Reception

Early versions of Hello Neighbor were lauded for its suspenseful atmosphere, emphasis on stealth, and the Neighbor's AI reacting effectively to various entrance attempts, pushing the player to shift tactics or keep an eye out for traps. Later iterations of the game received a more polarizing reaction due to a noticeable decline in quality, unstable optimization, significant downgrades in the Neighbor's AI, and a wackier, cartoonish tone with the crazy-lookinh houses and emphasis on platforming and unnecessarily confusing puzzles, diminishing all the horror and tension that Hello Neighbor was previously known for.

Upon its release, Hello Neighbor received mostly negative reviews. It was criticized for the frustratingly bizarre and oftentimes nonsensical puzzles, annoying parkour, various performance issues, a ridiculously high number of glitches, lore that felt way too complicated and mysterious for its own good, and an underwhelming cliche ending in which the whole third act is assumed to be a dream of the protagonist's imagination and virtually little is presumably answered, turning off many players. On aggregating review website Metacritic, Hello Neighbor received 38/100 for the PC version[4], 39/100 for the Nintendo Switch version [5], and 42/100 for Xbox One version.[6] The game's critical and commercial failure also severely tarnished tinyBuild's reputation, with many blaming them for forcing the developers to hastily finish the game in time for Christmas.

It doesn't help that following the success of both Doki Doki Literature Club (published a few months earlier to critical acclaim) and Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator (released only four days previously), Hello Neighbor swiftly fell from the indie gaming limelight and faded into irrelevance. Although a lot of Youtubers quit the game entirely instead of doing a full playthrough after expressing their disappointment, the child demographic latched on to the franchise, netting the publisher a cash cow to milk through spinoffs (such as Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek, Secret Neighbor and Hello Engineer) and other media, expanding into several books, board games, and even an animated series adaptation.

Trivia

  • Most people think Hello Neighbor originally started on YouTube, but before that, the developers actually had a Kickstarter for the project. They laid out their plans for the game, the neighbor's complex AI, and asked backers for supporting the game. Looking at the direction the game went in, one could honestly make the argument that Hello Neighbor's massive shift in gameplay has as much to do with lack of sufficient funds as it does with the changing landscape of horror games.
  • In Halloween 2017, there's an official Bendy-themed crossover mod for Hello Neighbor through a collaboration with TheMeatly, while the Neighbor showed up in Bendy And The Ink Machine, replacing two of the most dangerous characters.

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